Loo Tables

English Queen Anne Game Table, 18th century, mahogany

p4A ItemID F7999210
American Federal Flame Birch Inlaid Mahogany Fold-Over Games Table, New England, early 19th century

p4A ItemID F7994331
George III Figured Satinwood Inlaid and Paint-Decorated Demilune Card Table, British, late 18th/early 19th century

p4A ItemID F7993775
Pennsylvania Sheraton-style mahogany card table

p4A ItemID F7979961

Loo Tables

Loo or lanterloo was a card game, probably brought to England in the mid-17th century from France or Holland. It became immensely popular in England in the 18th century, mostly as a rake’s game, until the Victorian era when it was adopted by the middle and upper classes. It was played both in private homes and as a tavern game. (In brief, the game was usually played by three to eight persons for tricks with a fifty-two card deck.)

Most of the loo tables in commerce today are English and date from the early and middle Victorian era, 1837 to 1875, when homes were filled with opulent furniture in more specialized forms than ever before. The tables are usually found with oval or circular tops (but can be square), often inlaid, and mounted on pedestal bases. The tables’ attractive woods and inlays have often made them candidates for transformation, providing a second life as contemporary coffee or cocktail tables. This versatility has lead to wide and often inaccurate use of the term, and it is frequently used to describe any circular or oval table with (and sometimes without) a pedestal base. While many tables are sold as loo tables, in truth, it’s often difficult to tell what such a versatile piece’s original or intended use might have been.

The English slang term “loo” for the restroom, bathroom or toilet should not be confused with the card game.

Reference note by p4A editorial staff; June 2011


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