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Antique English Victorian Bagatelle Flip Top Game Table on Stand

About the Item

A fun and unusual 19th century Victorian English mahogany Bagatelle game board table with nicely aged patina. Featuring a rectangular folding portable game board with warm, rich mahogany wood case exterior, and a patinated brass hinged lid lift top that flips open to extend and reveal the baize (green felt like billiards material) lined gaming surface with semi-circular bentwood bumper at one end adorned with nine numbered holes, arranged with one in the center of the bentwood gallery and the rest surrounding it evenly in a ring. Framing the board, twenty-four contrasting inlay panels set with five holes run along either side of the board, originally used to keep score. circa 1890 The game board rests partially inset in a fitted mahogany stand base, raised on four straight square legs joined by ‘H’ stretcher. A wonderful piece of game board history, originally designed to sit on top of a dining table or games table, this piece features a fitted stand, making it the ideal size and proportions for use as a one-of-a-kind coffee table, chair side table, cocktail table, low console, or simply displayed as a distinctive decorative folk art piece. Dimensions (approx): 18" High, 31.25" Wide, 15.75" Deep Open: 60" Wide Good condition overall, especially considering age. Dark rich patina over the whole, enhanced by heavy buildup lustrous sheen and antique mahogany glow. No game pieces or accessories included. Age appropriate wear including various imperfections, with expected signs of use, including losses, checking, wear to finish and baize liner, staining, minor splitting to bent wood, all wear consistent with age and indicative of use. All of which adds to the elegant warmth, sophisticated antique character, and overall authenticity. Please refer to photography for complete condition. Delivered lightly cleaned, hand waxed, polished French patina finish, ready for immediate use as furniture. History: The origins of Bagatelle (or its many iterations) are even less clear than most games of a similar history, although we do know it has ties to French Kings, American President Abraham Lincoln, and developed into bar billiards, eventually leading to the development of pachinko and pinball. Bagatelle was a game involving sticks and balls that evolved from efforts to bring outdoor games like ground billiards, croquet, and bowling inside for play during inclement weather. Dating all the way back to the 15th century, the most recent version came about in the 18th century. In France, during the long 1643–1715 reign of Louis XIV, billiard tables were narrowed, with wooden pins or skittles at one end of the table, and players would shoot balls with a stick or cue from the other end, in a game inspired as much by bowling as billiards. Pins took too long to reset when knocked down, so they were eventually fixed to the table, and holes in the bed of the table became the targets. Players could ricochet balls off the pins to achieve the harder scorable holes. Quite a number of variations on this theme were developed. In 1777 a party was thrown in honour of Louis XVI and the queen at the Château de Bagatelle, recently erected at great expense by the king's brother, the Count of Artois. Bagatelle from Italian bagattella, signifies 'a trifle', 'a decorative thing'. The highlight of the party was a new table game featuring a slender table and cue sticks, which players used to shoot ivory balls up an inclined playfield. The game was dubbed bagatelle by the count and shortly after swept through France. From 1770 to 1850 Bagatelle was just as popular as Billiards throughout England and Britain. Some French soldiers carried their favorite bagatelle tables with them to America while helping to fight the British in the American Revolutionary War. Bagatelle quickly spread and became so popular in America that a political cartoon from 1863 depicts US President Abraham Lincoln playing a small tabletop version of bagatelle against presidential rival George B. McClellan. This game board is an early forerunner of modern pinball and a cousin to the Japanese game of pachinko. Influenced by a variety of different versions, including French/Belgian game billard russe, English shovel-board or shuffleboard, French trou madame, Japanese Billard japonais, the latter an early form of the game that used cues later spring loaded shooter mechanisms, similar to those found in modern pinball machines.
  • Dimensions:
    Height: 18 in (45.72 cm)Width: 31.25 in (79.38 cm)Depth: 15.75 in (40.01 cm)
  • Style:
    Victorian (In the Style Of)
  • Materials and Techniques:
  • Period:
  • Date of Manufacture:
    circa 1890
  • Condition:
    Wear consistent with age and use. Minor losses. Minor fading.
  • Seller Location:
    Forney, TX
  • Reference Number:
    1stDibs: LU5977227653342
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