Brief description

Oval oak gateleg table made from oak, elm and red deal, with two hinged leaves on a joined frame, and a drawer at one end, made in England c.1675-1700.

Object name

gateleg table

Object number



On Display

Production date

c.1685-1700 (manufactured)

Production place

England (manufactured)


Stuart (1603-1714)


red deal



Physical description

Gateleg table, made of oak, elm and red deal with an oval top with two hinged leaves, raised on a joined frame with a drawer to one end, on twist-turned uprights and inverted cup feet, connected above the feet by plain stretchers with bead-moulded top edges.

The top averages 22-24 mm in thickness and is constructed in three sections. The centre is made of two tapered boards, laid top-to-toe and butt-jointed. Along each side is a tongue which engages with a groove in the inner edge of each leaf when the leaf is raised. The centre is secured to the frame by six oak pegs, four driven into the tops of the corner uprights (probably replaced), and two approximately half-way along each side (possibly original).

The leaves are each of three butt-jointed boards of non-uniform width. The left hand leaf has at least two of its original boards (inner and middle); they are now joined by two metal straps let into the underside of the top towards each end, and secured by screws. The joints between the boards are probably also secured by dowels, but these are not visible. The third (outside) board is possibly original, and is probably fixed by dowels to the middle board. The right hand leaf has its original inner and middle boards, now joined by dowels and by a wooden strap glued and screwed across all three boards. The outside board is possibly original.

There are four iron dovetail hinges, two for each leaf, which originally hinged the leaves to the top. Each was fixed by four nails about a central rivet. The heads of the rivets remain in the table top and are covered by oak plugs. The present hinges are later iron hinges secured by nails and screws. The stretchers have a bead scribed along the top outer edge and are tenoned into the base blocks of the uprights. Each gate is formed of two twist-turned uprights and two horizontal rails; at the pivot end, the upright is dowelled into the stretcher at the bottom and the elm pivot cross-piece at the top.

The frame is joined by mortise-and-tenon joints all round, double-pegged in the upper frame and single-pegged at the stretcher. Inside the frame rails beneath the top are four wooden cross-pieces; two are modern plywood, glued and nailed across the joint between the two boards to prevent them opening; the other two are elm, one at each end of the frame. These cross-pieces are housed into the frame rails, one end cut flush with the frame, the other passing through to provide a housing for the pivot of the gate. One of these is entirely original, the other has been cut short and the end replaced with a new block screwed and glued to the underside of the top. One end of the frame has a full-depth rail with a moulded lower edge, the other a narrow 25mm rail under which the drawer is situated.

The drawer is of nailed construction, the front being rebated to accept the sides and bottom boards. The bottom boards are nailed up to the sides and the back; the back of the drawer is nailed to the sides. The drawer front is of red deal, with a bead worked around the outer edge. The right side and back are also of deal, and the bottom boards and the left side are of oak. The drawer runs on two elm slips nailed to the underside of the frame. Blocks of stained wood have subsequently been nailed to the inside faces of the rails to act as stops.

The top is a uniform greyish-brown on the upper surface, with a good match across all boards; the undersides of the leaves have been stained with a dark stain, presumably to disguise repair work. The underside of the centre top is clean and unpatinated where the drawer is placed, with heavier patination to each end. The frame is heavily patinated on all visible and touchable exterior surfaces. The inner surfaces of the rails and stretchers are much less patinated and in many areas apparently untouched. All the frame joints appear undisturbed with their original pins except the lower pivot of the left-hand gate, which has an old break repaired with a nailed iron plate. The back right vertical post is fractured at the neck between the spiral turning and the capital.

With the exception of the drawer, the table frame is in remarkably good original condition. The feet are not very worn, so the table probably has most of its original height. The the top has had major repairs, but the colour, grain pattern, saw kerfs and tooling to the underside suggest that the top is substantially original.


Height: 74.8cm
Width: 150.4cm
Depth: 126.3cm

Website keywords



Label text for 1695 Period Room (Room 2), Geffrye Museum, 2010:
Oval gate-leg table
Folding gate-leg tables replaced the heavy draw-leaf tables, which were cumbersome to open or move. Gate-leg tables were more convenient. They were lighter and folded away easily, taking up very little space.When not in use, they could be moved to the side of the room or onto the landing.
Oak with a pine drawer, c1685
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