This thick, carved oak monastery table was produced in France, circa 1890. Originally built using large pieces of French oak, and given a darker, more traditional stain. At some point in its history, the table was stripped and bleached, allowing it to be used with a variety of interiors.
Note that the table was carved en balustre, meaning that the legs are baluster shaped. This was a key component of early Louis XIV tables, before console legs became popular. Both thick, bulbous legs have molded plinths on top of large bracket feet. The H-shaped stretcher is indicative of an early Louis XIV table, as by the end of the period, X-shaped stretchers were more common. The 2 ½ inch thick stretcher has a slighty rounded top edge that runs through a mortise in the feet. The stretcher terminals slot into shaped caps that are held in place by a large dowel on each end.
The monastery table is a cousin of the refectory table (usually narrower and very long). Larger monasteries would have several refectory tables set up for the monks to eat their meals, usually while a member of the monastery read passages from a pulpit. Toward the end of the Middle Ages, the refectory table could also be found in castles and other noble residences. Today, the term monastery table is used to describe these larger, more primitive and robust antique tables that are carved en massif (from whole wood), rather than with veneers and inlays.
Our lovely French monastery table has a 2 ½ inch thick top formed by four rectangular planks with bridle joinery, adding stability to the 11 ½ foot long table. Its thick beams, wide stance, and warm color allow the table to work with a variety of décor styles.
CONDITION: Wear commensurate to age and use with minor losses and separations. Old repairs are visible. The table has been bleached at some point, revealing some exceptional graining.