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|The Tables are come!
Written by JulieW
(11/30/2006 10:08 a.m.)
I love the palpable joy the family has in the arrival of their new furniture: I remember feeling just the same the firt time I felt affluent enough and grown up enough to order a new lamp table from Peter Jones!LOL
The tables are come and give general contentment. I had not expected they would so perfectly suit the fancy of us all three, or that we shold so well agree in the disposition of them; but nothing except their surface can have been smoother.....The Pembroke has got it's destination by the sideboard & my mother has great delight in keeping her money and papers locked up
I wonder if this is why in Emma
There was no time for farther remark or explanation. The dream must be borne with, and Mr. Knightley must take his seat with the rest round the large modern circular table which Emma had introduced at Hartfield, and which none but Emma could have had power to place there and persuade her father to use, instead of the small-sized Pembroke, on which two of his daily meals had, for forty years, been crowded. Tea passed pleasantly, and nobody seemed in a hurry to move.
Here is an illustration from George Hepplewhite's The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Guide 3rd edition(1794) of his designs for Pembroke tables.
As he writes:
The reason these tables were so useful is that they have extending tops: the flaps on either side are supported on hinged wooden brackets. They often had a small lockable drawer,which is why Mrs Austen liked hers so much, practical woman.
They are also very portable and could be placed against a wall,as was the habit in this era. Not for these sensible people was there the clutter of horrid Victorian rooms! They liekd space.
The tables got the name " Pembroke" as folows.:
According to Sheraton they derive their name from that "lady who first gave orders for one of them, and who probably gave the first idea of such a table to the workman..." Possibly the Countess of Pembroke (1737-1831). They began to figure in accounts circa 1750.
page 570 The Shorter Dictionary of English Furniture by Ralph Edwards.
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