A charming Swiss Alpine Folk Art “Box” or “Trunk” table. c.1800
The box or trunk table has a drawer below the detachable plank table top. Rustic and beautifully naively hand-painted in original polychrome featuring fruits, flowers and berries.
In the late Gothic and early modern periods, these type of tables were very popular in southern Germany and the Alpine countries. Hence the name "Gothic table " is often used for the box table.
A similar earlier 16th Century example can be found in the Museum Engiadinais, St. Moritz.
From c.1520 the production of “box” tables were made for wealthier households. Later came the more elaborately painted Folk Art pieces which date from the late 18th, early 19th century. During this time, the use of the table genre shifted from daily use, to being used in ceremony.
The box table played a central role within households: For example, the marriage contract was traditionally signed upon it, and the drawer was used to store important items, such as the house book and the family cash register (often being known as the “rent” table).
This fine example epitomises this genre of ceremonial table, but is also a practical and beautiful piece of Alpine furniture.