18th Century, Craft, Decorative Arts, Museums/Exhibits

The Thanksgiving (Playing) Table

After the turkey has been carved, served, and eaten with thanks and all of the sides, after the pies have been admired and devoured, Thanksgiving Day calls for an extended time of post-meal relaxation – a recuperative period after the culinary undertaking and to support the digestive efforts.  There is usually a contingent among Thanksgiving guests that is entirely satisfied by a comfortable sofa and a television tuned to the evening’s football game.  But for the guests who don’t number themselves among the avid sports fans in any crowd, other diversions come in handy.  The niece and nephew, for example, siblings whose rivalry includes fierce matches of checkers; the cousin who will challenge anyone to a game of chess; the great-aunt who loves nothing more than a cozy spot to read; and you yourself, a great fan of backgammon… it is for these guests that an ingenious table, designed by the father and son cabinetmaking team of Abraham and David Roentgen, would powerfully come in handy.  Here is a link to an animation demonstrating all that this astounding 18th century table is capable of.  The table is one of the pieces currently on display in The Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition Extravagant Inventions: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens, which the New York Times recently called a “blockbuster.”  The show is truly astonishing, but if you’re unable to make it to the exhibition itself, the Museum has published a handsome exhibition catalogue, edited by William Koeppe. 


Happy Thanksgiving!

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