Fit for a Queen

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Petite and shapely, prim and proper, the beauty of this scaled-down Queen Anne table is in its built-in curves, not added-on details. Perfect as a display table, it adds subtle grace to any room. 

My romance with Queen Anne furniture probably got its official start back in the early ’80s with the appearance of an article by Carlyle Lynch in Fine Woodworking No. 42, in which he described the construction of a three-quarter-sized Queen Anne highboy. I had always liked Queen Anne furniture, but the Lynch piece was the first one I actually set out to build. I didn’t get around to it until 1985, using cherry harvested from a tree taken from our own southern Ohio woods.

Since then, I’ve returned periodically to the Queen Anne genre for customers requesting pieces in that style; other times, I’ve steered customers in that direction to give myself the privilege of revisiting one of my favorite styles.

What draws me to Queen Anne furniture is the same thing that draws me to Shaker furniture: Both rely on purity of form for their appeal, making minimal use of surface detail achieved through moldings and carving. The beauty of this little table is in the shapes of the legs, the apron and the top rather than in any applied detail.

Although I made this particular table for my wife to use as a stand for her jewelry box, it would be used more typically as a display table, perhaps for a vase of flowers or maybe a tall piece of pottery.

This is clearly a Queen Anne table – the cabriole legs terminating in spoon feet, as well as the scalloped top, place it in that genre – but it’s not a reproduction of any period original. Instead, it’s an expression of the Queen Anne aesthetic inspired by two different sources: a photograph of a Queen Anne spice cabinet I saw many years ago, and a serving table in Norm Vandal’s book “Queen Anne Furniture: History, Design and Construction.” From the spice cabinet, I borrowed an emphatic verticality; from the table, I borrowed the general conformation of the cabriole leg and the knee block.

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