Amongst new stock this week is this small Regency mahogany side board. Pieces like this are so hard to find: dating from about 1820, it has elegant proportions, and lovely quality timber with ebony insets – but also has so much useful cupboard space inside!
Early sideboards had very little storage space. The term was first used in the 18th century for a piece of furniture that held plate, wine and accessories. Previous to this the dresser was used for these purposes.
During the 18th century sideboards that were little more than grand serving tables became popular – often even without a drawer. They were flanked, in the largest houses, by pairs of sideboard cabinets, often containing plate-warming or cellaret linings. A wine cooler on casters would often be placed below the table.
By the end of the century these had become amalgamated into one piece of furniture, with deep drawers on either side to house the wine and plate. The classic six leg Sheraton sideboard is from this period, and what lovely pieces they are – but they still have very little storage space!
The Victorians went mad size–wise with their sideboards, and some were beautifully made – but they tend to be too over-bearing in a modern dining room. This piece, with its clean simple lines and useful cupboards and drawers, is a perfect compromise.