During the 18th century, the British took up tea drinking. Teapots, teacups, teaspoons and tea strainers were imported from the orient or manufactured locally, and by the mid of the 18th century, tea drinking had become an elaborate ceremony in which good manners, wit and equipage proved one's gentility and wealth. Tea tables were an important part of the ceremonial trappings and became more and more sophisticated and carefully manufactured as ceremonial demands were raised.
Tea tables could be found in most eighteen century homes and often tables with differing designs were positioned in the same room. At that period, when tea tables were located around the perimeter of the guest room and pulled out for use when needed, the Tilt-Top table (AKA Tip-Top table) was a great development which provided the ability to be tilted up when not in use.
במהלך המאה ה-18 אימצו בני המעמדות הגבוהים באנגליה את מנהג שתיית התה והפכו אותו לטכס בעל משמעויות תרבותיות נרחבות שאף היווה מוקד למאבקים חברתיים ומעמדיים בממלכה - ויכוחים עזים ניטשו אז סביב שאלת אישור או איסור שתיית תה על בני המעמד הנמוך ועל נשים. במרכז טכס התה האנגלי עמד שולחן ההגשה הייעודי, קטן יחסית, ששימש לחליטה ולמזיגה של התה. כשהמשקה הייה מוכן, הייתה המארחת מפנה את השולחן עם הכוסות אל האורחים המסבים בחדר.
בחדרים מרובי אורחים, כשמספר שולחנות התה היה לא מבוטל, התעוררה השאלה מה לעשות עם השולחנות לאחר שהטכס הסתיים וכך נולד שולחן התה המתקפל Tilt-Top Tea Table. לאחר ההגשה, קיפלו המשרתים את השולחנות והעבירו אותם לירכתי החדר עד הטכס הבא. בשולחן התה היחיד במינו המוצג לפניכם, הפך הנגר האמן את השולחן שבנה ליצירת אמנות - מלאכת מחשבת נדירה. אם ברצונכם במידע נוסף מה מייחד שולחן תה זה לעומת השולחנות שרווחו בתקופתו (סוף המאה ה-18 ותחילת המאה ה-19) כתבו לי ואשמח לספר - העוגה על חשבוני.
The Mandala shaped Tilt-Top tea table presented here is probably one of the most beautifully styled representatives of this type of furniture with high quality marquetry inlay made of curl veneer on its table top. The rhombus shaped wood tiles of the marquetry form a perfect pattern of 3D cubes as well as a 2D sequence of six-pointed stars - what a magnificent picture to look at when the table is placed in an upright position against a wall until needed.
High illumination photo - the rhombus shaped wood tiles of the marquetry inlay form a perfect pattern of 3D cubes pattern.
The talented craftsman who designed and built this 'one of a kind' piece of furniture has created a gem which is of higher quality and style than any standard Tilt-Top table of that period (the end of the 18th century). In order to fully understand the details which make this tea table an upper class item, let us examine its structure and design in comparison with the structure and design of a standard Queen Anne Tilt-Top tea table with short cubic bird cage mechanism depicted in the scheme below, which was common at the late 18th century and at the beginning of the 19th century in England, Europe and the United States.
In order to keep the price reasonable, the tabletops of the standard Queen Anne Tilt-Top tea tables were usually made of a simple round plate of wood. The tabletop was usually covered with lace or cloth table maps which enabled to limit the investment in carving and decoration to the legs and lower pillar areas that could still be seen below the fabric.
The folding mechanism of the tabletop of the standard Queen Anne Tilt-Top tea table was based on a Birdcage construction made of two square wood plates connected with four colonnettes: baluster shaped (as in the scheme above which is typical to American manufacturing) or straight columns (which is typical to the English manufacturing). The top plate of the birdcage carries the latch keeper which prevents the tabletop from folding back when tea is served :-). All in all - the standard Birdcage design although robust in performance, looks quite cumbersome. The craftsmen allow themselves to implement this type of functional yet not-so-elegant mechanism because they assumed that the tabletop will be covered with long cloth map which hides the birdcage.
The artist carpenter wanted to build a tea table which will be functional and yet breath taking. The tabletop was made as a stimulating geometric picture with 3D visual effects. The marquetry work is superb in quality and the rim of the tabletop is made of ornamented bronze. In order to intensify the impact, the shape of the tabletop was designed as a four leaf clover rounded shape influenced by the Mandala design principles.
Avoiding the cumbersome birdcage mechanism was the real challenge. The ingenuous craftsman of this table replaced the cubic colonnettes structure with a beautiful tree curved leg-like columns structure, creating an elongated open lotus shape which is gentle and light - the complete opposite of a cage.
Bronze - Brass ornament on the tripod legs
The tripod legs themselves - beautiful wood work - strike us with their high quality natural wood colors, combined with fine bronze leaves decorations. The three little genuine casters at the tips of the legs will help you delivering fine aromatic tea to your guests.
Height: 2' 4" - 71 cm -
Diameter of rounded mandala tabletop: 1' 10.8" - 58 cm - 22.8 in
Wooden frame legs and top: Mahogany and walnut wood
Age: more than 200 years old (circa 1800) - all wooden and bronze elements as well as the tilt-top brass latch are original and genuine.