Standing well short of the standard dining table height of 29-1/2″ (749mm), these diminutive gateleg tables were used by one or two persons for the purpose of taking tea or consuming informal meals in the privacy of a parlour or cabinet. At only 26″ (660mm) high, this Queen Anne elm gateleg table is at the lower end of the norm.
Fig. 1. Queen Anne elm gateleg table, circa 1710. (Robert Young)
I am intrigued by anomalies, eccentricities and idiosyncrasies encountered in British furniture: Tradition would dictate this table, like the thousands of other extant examples, should have been made of oak (fig. 2) – or occasionally fruitwood, walnut and yew – yet here is one beautifully made of elm.
The elm table is of standard form with an oval top comprising a narrow fixed (centre) leaf flanked by two drop leaves which are supported in the open position by gates that pivot within the frame. The turnings on these little tables can easily look overwrought (fig. 3), but the restrained gun-barrel-turned legs of this elm table are quite elegant and terminate in braganza feet.
Fig. 3. Oak gateleg table, circa 1705. (Christie’s)
There is much planing of elm to be done.
 Charles II (r. 1660 –1685) married Portuguese Catherine of Braganza, who is often credited with introducing the characteristic carved foot to England. However, the style of curlicue foot now commonly referred to as a Spanish foot, first appeared on English chairs during the first decade of the eighteenth-century.