Antiques Column: Pembroke table just for breakfast

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Once upon a time many years ago, in the reign of King George II, there lived a very beautiful and wealthy lady who was the Countess of Pembroke.

Now the Countess loved eating breakfast, in fact she loved eating breakfast so much that she decided it would be just perfect if somebody could make her a table just to eat her breakfast on.

To cut an exciting and rather long story down to an acceptable length, that is how the Pembroke table was born.

The use of a proper name in the description of a piece of furniture usually derives from an original commission and in this case the Countess of Pembroke required a “type of breakfast table with small drop leaves” and that is what she ordered.

Eating breakfast from her table must have done her a power of good, because born in 1737, she continued to eat breakfast until her death, in her nineties, in 1831.

The Pembroke table is exactly as the Countess described.

The drop leaves are usually about half the size of the top and four legs support the top, which usually boasts a drawer and a dummy drawer.

Later, in George III reign, some Pembroke tables had a centre pedestal instead of four legs.

The Pembroke table is a very useful and an often underrated item.

It can be used as a decorative side table, displaying ornaments and photographs, or as a small dining table seating four in comfort.

This table was made from the mid 18th century and continued through the Victorian and Edwardian periods.

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