A remarkable work of English ingenuity, the "concertina-action" games table was a creative solution for the wealthy clients of craftsmen who had a love for playing cards and a passion for proper aesthetics in a room. The table could rest quietly against the wall for much of the day, adding to the room with its delightful profile as a console table; but when company visited for the evening, the table could be brought out into the center of the room, opened into a nearly perfect square and games could be enjoyed with a firm surface. The more simple and standard table has a single swing leg that would allow the top to rest on it, but the present example uses a scissor-action that allows the side rails to fold out and the back legs to pull straight back to create an apron around all sides of the table. The result is not only significantly more attractive, but also allows card players to sit between the legs on all four sides.
This particular example is a triple-top table, another interesting evolution of the card table that allows the players to have several surfaces to choose from: a card playing surface with green gilt-tooled leather and scooped mahogany chip wells, or a smooth mahogany surface without wells. To allow the difference in height between one top and the next, little tabs flip up from the back leg to accommodate the first leaf.
The form is delightful - the generous turret top conforms with the large turret corners of the apron before the gentle waving form that conforms to the returns on either side of the turret. The woods selected are above reproach with a vivid grain throughout the apron and dense single planks of solid mahogany utilized for each leaf. The whole rests over cabriole legs terminating in padded feet.
A more pleasing card table would be difficult to describe, particularly as this has the fine restrained dimensions that allow it to tuck against any wall without overwhelming the space. Pure and remaining in nearly pristine original condition, this is a fine acquisition.
Measurements: 29 3/8" H x 31" W x 15" D [closed]; 28 1/2" H x 30 3/4" W x 30" D [opened]
Condition Report: Entirely pure structure with original hardware, a few screws replaced. Very minimal conservation: a few replaced screws, spots of early veneer patching, color refreshing throughout, three replaced returns, leather is likely replaced. Early surface with remnants of original surface visible in crevices and recesses; beautifully polished with a well preserved shellac, minor scuffs and abrasions as expected. Concertina-action operates beautifully.
English George II Mahogany Triple-Top Concertina-Action Card Games Table circa 1750