Mahogany Side Tables
Sweden, 19th century
A pair of substantial 19th century Swedish Gustavian side-tables.
The symmetry and simplicity of these painted mahogany side tables are hallmarks of the Gustavian style, a distinctly Swedish reinterpretation of French neo-classicism which developed during the 18th century.
When King Gustav III visited Paris during the 1770s, after staying at the royal palace in Versaille, he endeavoured to bring the neo-classical aesthetics of Paris back to Sweden. Gustav's fixation with the classical even extended to his own Museum of Antiquities at the royal palace in Stockholm, befitting trends of fellow 'Grand Tourists' who also began curating collections of classical wonders from central Europe.
What became known as the Gustavian style was epitomised in these palace projects. Rooms of whites and pale blues, symmetry and classical proportions, and overall greater restraint and simplicity than the French Rococo.
This pair of mahogany side tables share these essential features of the Gustavian style. In particular, their octagonal stems and tri-footed roundel bases, evocative of classical columns. It is possible these tables were originally unpainted. However, the addition of the pale blue is certainly not a new addition, and is characteristic of Gustavian furniture which was often painted in hues of pale grey, white, or blue, which would brighten rooms during darker winter months.
Over the life-span of this pair, the paint has worn slightly on the edges, allowing the dark mahogany to peek through. However, these signs of wear only enhance these tables, foregrounding their age and imbuing them with a rustic elegance.
Diameter of tabletop: 66cm
Diameter of base: 50cm