the pugin table
Read more about our Pugin range as written by Lucy Deedes.
Each succeeding generation rethinks and re-invents its living space; the way we organise our houses now would be almost unrecognisable by our grandparents. Currently we are going a bit Tudor and knocking down walls, creating generous, sociable living spaces where more or less everything happens in a large single space. And separate dining rooms are becoming rarer.
The table’s clean lines, honesty and simple design and the fact that it is so clearly built to last, something to treasure and pass on down the generations: all this takes much of its inspiration from the Arts and Crafts’ celebration of a well-constructed piece. William Morris believed that everyday objects deserve as much attention as a painting or a piece of art and to him beauty lay in a serviceable design made from natural materials – partly his reaction against the over-elaboration of Victorian design.
William Morris felt that involvement in creative manual work could and would improve the quality of the craftsman’s life, so that something of the honest aims and objectives of those early twentieth century furniture makers is embodied in the lines of the object itself and the piece of furniture takes on a heart and integrity of its own.
Something of this ethos is apparent in the architectural lines of the Pugin table, with its pleasing proportions and carved buttress supports. It can be the centre of family life, a dining table, a desk, a console table or even a boardroom table. If dancing on tables is your thing, you can dance on it. It will be a precious thing, something to be passed down the generations; a work of art with nothing hidden – faithful to its origins, it celebrates the simplicity of the construction by exposing the dovetails and bolts (though the bolts can be concealed if preferred).
The table is made to the customer’s exact specifications from our workshop in France, using the especially long lengths of plank available from French oaks, delivered in sections and bolted together and tightened on site. The Pugin dining table in Newlands House can seat sixteen people, but it can be made circular, oval or square, in any width, any thickness and any length in a variety of finishes to the oak – sanded, polished, waxed or limed. Don’t be put off by the mammoth proportions of the giants’ tables on display – certainly they can be made 1.8m wide and 5m long, but they can also be made 2m long, with or without matching benches, which tend to come two to each side of a long table, for ease of getting in and out, since a single long bench can present that old getting-out-of-a-sports-car problem. The Pugin range has evolved organically to include circular and square dining tables, console tables and side tables, made to order for each customer.
When the children are grown up and the table is no longer at risk of abuse from tomato sauce and felt pen, it can go back to the workshop for sanding and re-finishing and perhaps a change of colour. It behoves us these days not to buy disposable throw-away things but to cherish an object, maintain it and keep it for ever. The ghost of William Morris (“Have nothing in your house which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”) will look down and smile.