No? Neither had we. It would seem to qualify as a predecessor to the well-known harvest table. While doing some research for an article I plan to write, I came across a “tablebord.” The first known one in the United States dates back to 1642. However, the name itself dates back at least 100 years before that and is most likely English.
I wish I could provide a picture of a true tablebord but I have yet to find one. It is documented that one exists and was part of the Bolles collection, having been rescused from the attic of a deserted house. Much of the Bolles collection resides today in the Metropolitan Museum of Fine Arts. There are some similarities to the table pictured below and a real tablebord, but age isn’t one of them. This table is old but it is not from the 15th century.
A tablebord was usually between ten to twelve feet in length and rougly a little over 2 feet wide. The table top was separate from the trestles on which it sat, usually three of them. A long bench of some sort was used on one side. This is where everyone in the family sat. There was no bench on the opposing side. That side of the table was strictly used for the serving of food and the subsequent cleanup. When it was not in use, the top board was removed and the board was leaned against a wall, along with the trestles. This allowed families living in tight quarters back in the 1600s to eat in comfort.
Something that still doesn’t happen in my house at the end of 2011. So much for progress.
12/26/2011 by Anne Benedetto