Rare Victorian - Just Call Me Stubby

Just Call Me Stubby

ad28 11 Just Call Me Stubby

ad28 11 Just Call Me Stubby

I love how the seller of this cut-down Rococo parlor table puts it in the listing:

This WAS once a magnificent Victorian rosewood center table with turtle marble top. Somewhere down the line a long time ago, some rocket scientist decided to make a coffee table out of it and cut the legs off of it. So there you have it, it is what it is and I have to sell it due to room constraints.

The end result of the cut job is a bit scary looking, though It’s not as bad a travesty as the cut-down Pottier & Stymus table that I’ve seen nor the cut-down ebony/ivory Belter table from the 1853 Crystal Palace Exhibition.

I think this table walks around the house at night …

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  • amadara - September 15, 2008

    Probably not only selling due to room constraints, but also because it is way ugly with the legs cut off. Someone should cut the legs closer to the top apron and build an entire new base, maybe pedestal in order to redeem.

  • Tom Webster - September 15, 2008

    What a shame, and what a terrible job in cutting it down. There is a good side, however to those idiots that cut down parlor tables into coffee tables . . . I wanted a coffee table to go with some of my victorian furniture, and I did not have the heart to cut one down. I found one that had been cut down, and cut down very well that looks very nice, and was very inexpensive.
    Stll, it was a shame, but, at least, I wasn’t the one that had to do it.

  • Andrew - September 15, 2008

    Our choice is to live life without coffee tables. We do have a rather high, “lazy susan” rotating, actually dated 1878, with Modern Gothic elements, that we have set on the floor and use as if a coffee table. No purist collector would want a cut down piece, of course.

  • Bliss Cochran - September 15, 2008

    Congratulations! You have been selected for the 2008 Cochran’s Choice Antique Blog Award. This award plus $3 will buy you a cappuccino, but it’s our way of showing appreciation and encouragement for a very well-done blog. For information, visit Chez Bliss, http://www.cochrans.com

    If you’d like to add my blog to your blogroll, I’d be grateful. Yours is already on my list.

  • james conrad - September 15, 2008

    “Our choice is to live life without coffee tables.”
    There is another way, dower & blanket chests which make perfect coffee tables. For $1,000 or so, one can get a period 18th/19th century good quality/good condition chest.

  • Andrew - September 15, 2008

    As far as I know there are no Gothic Revival dower or blanket chests.

  • Steve Sika - September 15, 2008

    For those of us who live in the southern states of our USA, I have seen these beautiful tables become victims of floods or hurricanes (i.e., Gustav & Ike) where the legs would sit in standing water for days. Also contributory in the south are the termites which have invaded even the finest 19th century museum quality pieces. As gangrene is diagnosed in human beings who suffer from advanced diabetes, sometimes the best decision is to amputate and save what you can. Agreed, it is a shame to find these fantastic tables in this horrible matter, but we cannot always blame ourselves or a previous owner for a motive – sometimes it is just Mother Nature 🙂
    None-the-less, a piece of beauty is better than nothing at all. Steve Sika, Dunedin, Florida

  • Tom Webster - September 16, 2008

    Steve: Thanks for your comment. Perhaps the person who cut down my table was not an “idiot,” and was just salvaging my table for me to enjoy.

  • zeke - September 16, 2008

    If I had a nickel for every Victorian cut down table I have seen I could probably retire.

    An old timer I met at a show, Waterloo Village in NJ, told me that this was a trend started in the 1920s. According to him a magazine article in “Popular Mechanics” told you how to cut down that old, out of style parlor table into a modern functioning coffee table. Seems the idea took off and many were cut down expressly for this purpose. With all due respects, in the 1920s these were not antiques but just old furniture that was indeed out of style and could be revived into a useful object. Most of these are vaguely ‘eastlake’ cheap walnut tables that when done right, the skirt hides where it was sawed down. I have seen really nice, high style tables given this treatment and my heart bleeds for them.

    This particular one looks really bad though, but i suppose half a table is better than none?

    zeke, Clifton NJ

  • james conrad - September 17, 2008

    Andrew, heres one, although its not in the greatest condition.

    This website, igavel.com is a pretty good place to pick up bargains. It appears to be mostly auction house objects that were either passed at auction or didnt sell for one reason or another.

  • misslilybart - September 17, 2008

    james conrad, that 16th c. blanket chest is “gothic, ” not 19th c. “Gothic Revival,” which is a whole ‘nother thing. Andrew is correct, the blanket or dower chest is a furniture form that disappeared from the scene during most of the “Victorian” era, except perhaps in rural or folk iterations.

  • james conrad - September 18, 2008

    MLB,lol, ok, i’ll bite, how about this one?


    My point was to not get in a fuss over coffee tables. I was simply pointing out that one does not need to do without nor cut the legs off of parlor/center/libary tables to have a coffee table. We can discuss form VS function but the pic demostrates that for some victorian tables, function clearly won that argument.

  • charlesinbpt - October 4, 2008

    Just wanted to let you guys know that I bought Stubby (for under $100) and brought him home today. He looks a heck of a lot better ensconsed in front of my pierce carved Belter sofa than the 1959 fruitwood French provincial coffee table he replaces, and the marble just happens to be a perfect match for my unmutilated parlor table that adjoins. Thanks, Rare Victorian, for giving him a name that has stuck as well as a harmonious place to park my coaster set and Sunday Times!

  • james conrad - October 5, 2008

    LOL, good for STUBBY, he got a new home. I also have seen many victorian tables cut down over the years, its kinda sad but hey, it is what it is. Stubby is a bit shorter than he used to be and his form may not be quite what it once was but he survives. LONG LIVE STUBBY!

  • RareVictorian - October 5, 2008

    charlesinbpt, if you can nab a picture of Stubby in his new home, please send it – info@rarevictorian.com

    Thanks for updating us on Stubby!

  • charlesinbpt - October 5, 2008

    Be glad to but it’ll take a few days–after an evening spent fast in the bosom of his new sofa companion, Stubby was temporarily exiled to the garage for his first thorough cleaning and refinishing since the Buchanan administration (a pox upon you, Johann Heinrich and your proselytes, for all your tight-cornered arabesques, acanthii, and cabbage roses–good thing they still sell ten-packs of Chinese toothbrushes at the dollar store). Original finish be damned–since this thing has no resale value I’m going to enjoy the beauty of that rosewood grain and patina buffed to the max!!

  • james conrad - October 6, 2008

    “Original finish be damned–since this thing has no resale value I’m going to enjoy the beauty of that rosewood grain and patina buffed to the max!!”

    Absolutely, since its most likely a schellac finish which alcohol dissolves it should be relatively easy to remove. Odd how this original surface “fetish”, which was started inadvertently by an obscure art history professor(john kirk) in an attempt to stop people from stripping PAINTED furniture somehow got twisted into almost a cult.

    In any event, a new home, a new finish, ALL HAIL STUBBY!

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