Oval table with falling leaves, 1715–40
Maple, eastern white pine
28 1/2 x 57 1/2 x 48 1/4 in. (72.4 x 146.1 x 122.6 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Russell Sage, 1909 (10.125.133)
By 1690, oval tables with falling leaves replaced square and rectangular tables for dining and entertaining. On the turned legs and stretchers, the contrast between thick and thin components is visually exciting and structurally daring. The hinged leaves "fall" down at the sides and when raised up are supported by a pivoting assembly, popularly known as "gate-legs," which allow the table to be closed and placed against the wall when not in use, freeing up the room for other activities.