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Come Dine With Me - In Style

Much of our entertaining is done around food and a table - thus making the dining room an important space in our homes.

During the pre-revolutionary era most houses were very small in comparison to today’s standards. The typical first floor plan of an individual’s home consisted of two principal rooms – the parlour and the hall, divided by only an entrance or a stair hall. In a Colonial home, the parlour was the finest room of them all. This is where you received your guests and entertained them. These rooms were furnished with the very best and would have typically included large sets of chairs, card and tea tables, gilt mirrors and a clock – which was the single most valuable piece in those times. The question on your lips might be – then where did the family and their guests dine in such houses? Literally in any room – it would depend on various factors such as the weather, amount of guests, the occasion, importance of the guest, the sex etc.. 

The earliest surviving type of dining table is the trestle table used in the Middle Ages. Since the top was made from long wooden planks resting on trestles, such antique dining tables could be dismantled and moved to the side of the hall when space was needed for other activities.

By the mid-16th century, however, it had become more common for the master and his family to eat in a separate room, and more permanent tables evolved. The term refectory table has been applied to these early “solid” tables since the 19th century. Styles varied, but such tables were popular all over Europe. 

In the mid-17th century antique gate-leg dining tables, which had flaps that could be folded down when the table was not in use became popular for dining. Initially, these tables were often quite large - up to 8 feet in diameter - but as time went by and it became fashionable to use several small tables rather than one large one, they became smaller.




japaneseantiqueFamily find £6.3 million Japanese antique at home

Courtesy: Radhika Sanghani and Agencies Source: &

A family have been turned into millionaires after their ‘TV stand’ proved to be worth £6.3 million. The wooden chest, which was being used as a TV stand and drinks cabinet, was a Japanese antique worth millions.

When a French engineer passed away, his family decided to put his items on auction. It turned out that a 5-feet wooden chest the engineer bought for only 130 dollars in 1970 at a private sale and used as a TV stand, was actually worth millions. At the auction, the Japanese antique chest was bought by the Rijksmuseum of Amsterdam for around 8 million dollars.

The French engineer’s acquisition of the chest began when a Polish doctor, who was oblivious of the wooden chest’s real value, sold the antique to the engineer for only 130 dollars in London in 1970. The chest, crafted from cedar wood and intricately designed with gold lacquer, was made by Kaomi Nagashige, a master artisan from Kyoto in 1640. “The French engineer, thinking the chest to be of little value, used it as a TV stand.” said Menno Fitski, curator of the Rijksmuseum. “He also kept his drinks collection inside it,” he added. The container, made of cedar wood and gold lacquer, was identified as a lost Japanese chest dating back to 1640.

Fitski says this has to be one of the bargains of the century. Even the Victoria and Albert Museum in London has been searching for the 300-year old chest, believed to be one of only ten existing in the world, since 1941. “The thing to note about this chest is that it is the best of the best. It was the best when it was made and the same still applies today.” said Fitski. The wooden chest is said to have been made on commission for the Dutch East India Company.


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