Nicholas Wells Antiques Ltd stocks and has access to the very best private collections of antique dining furniture in England from the zenith of the Georgian and Regency eras.
Our collection of 18th and 19th-century antique dining tables offers versatility and style for both town and country houses. Most of our antique dining room tables and chairs were crafted from the finest Honduran mahogany selected for its richness and supreme quality. In addition, we have examples in English oak and Elm.
The extraordinary timber that revolutionised 18th-century furniture was undoubtedly Mahogany. With its arrival, the entire language of furniture design and usage transformed with new possibilities. This was extremely apparent in the dining room where earlier oak gate-leg tables and country furnishings were replaced with resplendent planks of rich mahogany laid side by side to achieve extending dining tables of colossal proportions. Yet maintaining elegance with the strength of the mahogany timber allows intricate and previously impossible delicacy. Along with the new dining tables, other dining furniture made its appearance for the convenience of the diners. Exquisite mahogany dining chairs by Thomas Chippendale or inspired by his Director, Serving tables, sideboards, dumbwaiters. Not to forget the accoutrements of the table. Fine English and European porcelain as well as ceramics imported from China. English lead crystal cut glass, Silverware, and lighting of silver and gilt bronze, and chandeliers of cut crystal glass and glittering giltwood pier mirrors.
During the eighteenth century, dining was an important part of socialising. Initially, the main meal was held at about 12 pm, this gradually became later until about 7 pm. Dinner was a formal event that needed the flexibility Georgian Dining Tables offered. Guests were required to wear formal clothing, often meaning that a change of clothes was necessary beforehand. The theatre of dining provided people with the stage to exercise their wit and social skills.
Georgian dining involved a multitude of foods, sweetmeats, and drinks served, which often meant that dining took a considerable amount of time. The Duke de la Rochefoucauld commented that “Dinner is one of the most wearisome of English experiences lasting, as it does four or five hours.”
Serving food at the table.
Generally, the meal would consist of three courses: soup and fish, followed by cooked dishes, and completed by meats. After this, a dessert of jellies, sweetmeats, ices, and fruits would be served. The dominant style of Georgian dining during the eighteenth century was ‘service a la francaise’, which essentially dictated the entire meal to be laid out on the table – so that all components were within reach of each member of the dining party – and guests would either help themselves or be served by a footman. ‘Service a la Russe’ was introduced in Paris by the Russian Ambassador in c.1810. This was different as the table was largely empty of food dishes, and instead of serving courses individually one after the other. By the end of the nineteenth century, this was the most popular way of dining. Sociability was integral to Georgian dining, and the dining table is, therefore, one of the most important items of Georgian furniture.