Cabaret table in gaïac wood and mahogany.
La Rochelle, late 17th-early 18th century.
Rare table with finely turned baluster legs and H-shaped braces in guaiac wood, topped with a Saint-Domingue mahogany top and opening with a large drawer in the waist.
The refinement of this model can be seen in the quality of its manufacture and finish, its cabaret top (still very rare at that time), its rebated drawer bottoms (a sign of careful manufacture indicating that its author belongs to the cabinetmaker's guild), the use of a superb gaïac wood with an excellent distribution of the figures of the wood on the whole base. The quality of the original handle of the drawer, in faceted wrought iron called "goutte d'eau", is also noteworthy, as well as the effort that was taken to corrode the crosspieces and the drawer in guaiac wood (the sliding boards of the drawer are also in guaiac) and finally the use of mahogany as a second wood.
Indeed, guaiac is a very slow-growing tree with a small diameter and its wood is so dense that, although it lends itself well to the lathe, it is on the other hand extremely difficult to cut and work, and this is why we only exceptionally come across tables such as this one made almost exclusively of guaiac. Moreover, most of them have, in addition to their frame, an oak top, more rarely in mahogany.
The guaiac (gaïacum sanctum / guayacan, palosanto), often called life wood or holy wood, and still (wrongly) iron wood, is a tree growing in the tropical areas of South America, mainly in the Caribbean, whose exploitation is now strongly regulated by CITES because of its massive exploitation that leads gradually to its near extinction.
The guaiac is certainly the hardest wood in the world, and indeed its density of nearly 1.3 does not allow its buoyancy. If it has been used in cabinet making because of its spectacular veining and natural polish, it is mainly used for the manufacture of small parts requiring increased strength characteristics. Its main uses are for jewelry and industry, for carver's mallets, and in shipbuilding for pulleys and propeller parts (it is considered to last three times longer than steel or bronze, both because of its density and its natural self-lubricating properties).
The cabaret table, or cabaret table or cabaret table, is a refined piece of furniture born from the fashion of the new drinks of living rooms, tea, chocolate then coffee, table whose solid plate is hollowed out on all its surface to form a kind of bowl with slightly rounded edge intended to retain cups and glasses. These small precious tables were very popular in the great Atlantic ports which were the importers of these beverages from the Americas and the Orient, they were very fashionable in the castles of the nobility and the private mansions of the rich merchants, before becoming fashionable in Paris where the greatest cabinetmakers (Carlin - RVLC...) created extraordinary small cabarets in the most luxurious materials such as oriental and European lacquers or porcelain from Vincennes - Sèvres
Table in superb original condition, top, belts, base, spacer. A few small cracks, a few small restorations of use and a few very small scattered lacks to the rings of turning.
1 600 €