Georgian period Tripod Table with Birdcage Mechanism later painted

Georgian period Tripod Table with Birdcage Mechanism later painted

Code: FL025


H: 69cm (27.2")W: 78cm (30.7")D: 78cm (30.7")


Georgian period Tripod Table with Birdcage Mechanism

  • English Georgian Period
  • Elegant Tripod base
  • Wonderful form and function
  • Versatile and flexible compact storage
  • Vase turned column
  • Shaped cabriole legs with pad feet
  • Rotating top on Birdcage Mechanism
  • Later painted in grey distressed paint finish
  • W: 78cm (30.7")    H: 69cm (27.2")    D: 78cm (30.7")

This is a particularly lovely original Georgian period Tripod Table1 with Birdcage Mechanism2  or Tilt Top/Snap Top Table.  It is of good quality, the solid top sits over a rotating Birdcage Mechanism raised on an elegant tripod base comprising a vase turned column with shaped cabriole legs terminating in pad feet making it both strong and stable.

Tables such as this have a hinged table top and a mechanism which enables it to be placed into a vertical position when not used to maximise space in a room and also to display the table top. The tabletop can be rotated relative to the tripod base using a birdcage mechanism (as seen here) which is a box at the top of the pillar. This flexibility allows for more compact storage: the folded table can be either pushed against a wall with two legs, or oriented with one leg going into a corner.

These are just some of the clues that can be found regarding the age, condition and authenticity of a table such as this:

  • When viewing the undersurface of the table top signs can sometimes be seen of work having been carried out – usually these are declared of course
  • This may have been essential restoration work as these items have been in use for two centuries and some may have had a harder life than others
  • If there are no other screw holes on the undersurface and no signs of the bearers having been moved the top is original to the base in all likelihood 
  • When a birdcage is present indentations of the top of the columns are often evident
  • Marks from where the bearers have rubbed over time through the opening and closing action of the table

Tripod Tables1 became one of the most popular items for their form and function during the 18th Century; they provided well balanced proportions, versatility and added something extra to the interior décor of homes.  Dependent upon the function they were to serve, from breakfast table to ‘tea’ or occasional table, the table top varied in its shape from oval to circular as did their overall size.  The elegantly shaped legs terminated in a pad foot (as seen here) or a ball and claw or lion’s pad foot or other similar decorative design.  The column from which the legs were joined and upon which the top sat would very often be quite ornately turned or could have simplicity as its feature.  The most commonly used design was a vase shaped stem (as seen here).

The best examples from the early Georgian period featured the Birdcage Mechanism2 (as seen here).  This mechanism was made by forming a box made from two squares of  wood joined at the corners with turned columns to which the long bearers under the table top were hinged.  This allowed the top to revolve freely on the top of the stem which fitted into the birdcage, this was then secured with a wedge.   The tabletop could then be rotated relative to the tripod allowing for more compact and flexible storage.  The folded table could be either be pushed against a wall with two legs or oriented with one leg directed in towards a corner.