Far from being a 'mere bagatelle' or trifle, we are taking this rare antique metamorphic bagatelle table very seriously indeed. It is an appealing piece and is attracting a great deal of attention in store.
Bagatelle is a game in which small balls are hit and then allowed to roll down a sloping, oblong board on which there are holes, each numbered with the score achieved if a ball goes into it, with pins acting as obstructions.
Bagatelle was invented in France in the late eighteenth century, and then resembled miniature billiards. An Englishman, Montague Redgrave, in 1871 made changes patented in the US, including adding a coiled spring and a plunger, making the game smaller, replacing the large bagatelle balls with marbles and adding the inclined playfield; all of these are common features of the later game of pinball.
This early rosewood table game predates all that. A superior, country house model, possibly made to order, it dates from the period of William IV (1765–1837), the third son of George III and Queen Adelaide, and the uncle of Queen Victoria, who succeeded him. We suspect this is made by Padmore, but have not been able to confirm this.
The rectangular table base, with four substantial, round, tapering reeded column legs in the classic William IV/very early Victorian style, supports a larger baize-lined and game surface with a semi-circular end and a multi-position tilt (the steeper the board, the harder the game!). The fitted game elements include large brass rods and hoops (and even a bell), ebony end boxes and trim, round ivory numbers, and inlaid mother-of-pearl scoring boards along each long edge.
A country house bagatelle, this table is of quality craftsmanship with attractive proportions, solidly jointed and robust, and is particularly desirable as it is in rosewood (rather than the more usual mahogany); the wood has a rich patina and bears the expected signs of age with generations of use.
Usefully, there is a beautiful tabletop that can be added, to transform it into an extra-ordinary, and unusual shaped table of beautifully grained rosewood. Four small frieze drawers (including one with a false bottom!) are for hiding away all the bagatelle bits and pieces.
Sadly, the table lacks some of the associated paraphernalia for playing the game, like a cue, and some of the rods are loose, but does include two balls (one red and one white) and a mismatched pair of ivory score pegs (one of the latter slightly damaged). Please note there is also slight damage to one of the table's corners, as illustrated.
Dimensions: H:95cm (min), L:186cm(max), W:81cm
Note: As this is an antique item, we advise personal inspection of this item in store before a purchasing decision is made. Local delivery may be possible.