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Gypsy tables - the original ‘flat pack furniture’?

Updated: Aug 25, 2020

Craftsmen used ‘spool’ or ‘bobbin turning’ as a way to show case their wood turning skills from the 1830s. The technique appeared in all forms including table legs, bed frames, cots, mirrors and chairs. Gypsy tables originate from the 1850s to 1870s and are possibly one of the first examples of flat packed furniture due to their ease of assembly.

The original Gypsy tables were used for fortune telling and games of chance and usually had removable legs and an ornate cover so that they were portable and practical for the Gypsy caravans which became popular with travellers in the 1850s. Later examples are solid pieces of furniture and the black and gold japanned versions of the table fitted into the Aesthetic Movement of the 1860s & 1870s and the rise in popularity of the occasional table.

Much like a Martini Table, an authentic Gypsy or Bobbin table now makes a superb addition to any living room. With a compact footprint and stunning patina the Gypsy table is both practical and stylish.

Photo credit: @robinmyerscoughstudio

Photo credit: @theantiqueshound (sold item)

Photo credit: @theantiqueshound (sold item)

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