A rare miniature, mahogany campaign dining table with its box, used by a salesman as an easily portable sample of a full-sized table.
The inside of the box lid has an inscription written in ink which although difficult to read, states 'This table represents a table 5ft to 18ft by the scale of 5 to 1 and can be packed in a case 5 ft 2" (?) x #ft 7 1/2 # # 7 1/2 exceeding beyond all other class of tables its (?) Built(?) ## a #### ###ge.'
The box contains 6 legs, 6 frieze sections, 9 various sized leaves for the top and a brass winding handle. This allows you to set it up as either a 4 or 6 legged dining table. The legs and frieze sections are numbered to correspond to each other to aid in the build. Each frieze section has an engineered brass conical dovetail to its end united by a right-angled bar running its length. These are made of steel, coloured to look like brass. The end of the frieze also extends as a thin wooden rail which slots into a groove to the leg to guide the conical dovetail into its leg joint. It also helps to hide the joint, stop it twisting and gives extra strength. The table top leaves have bars fitted to their underside to hold them square on to the base frame. Some of the leaves have a tongue and groove joint to the bar, some are a simple batten dependent on their position. The leaves lock into each other by 7 pins to one edge of the leave and 7 holes to the other. The final, end leave is fitted with a winding screw which fits through the end frieze section and can be tightened with the winding handle. The short and long leaves for the opposite end have metal fittings to hold their position, with the longer leaf also having 2 sprung catches.
The attention to detail in the construction of this sample table is exceptional from the tiny screws used to the especially made, miniature metal joints. The legs are well turned and carved and have been unfinished to the end to take a cup caster. One end frieze section has a semi-circular recess to the top to take the maker's label, not present so that the salesman can protect himself. The other end is stamped No. 73, presumably to reference the design number. Even the box interior is lined in paper with 2 gilt, decorative diamond motifs.
The box has a brass swan neck carrying handle and the top slides off on a tongue and groove joint, with a lock to one end. The key has stayed with the box but shrinkage to the top means it is no longer a tight fit.
From its construction and the inscription to the underside of the lid, there is no doubt that this was made as a miniature campaign table as opposed to one for domestic use. It is likely that the salesman took this model, perhaps along with others, to the different army barracks in the area he worked, soliciting sale orders from the regiments or officers. Its is an unlikely survivor and we consider it to be an exceptional piece. Mid 19th Century.
Full Size Set Up is given.
Box Size H 5 1/4 W 8 1/2 D 16 1/2 inches