We’ve written before about famous chairs and we might do it again. After all, our name is Chairry, right? But we also love other pieces of furniture, so today we’ll be writing about something else. For example, tables.
So what’s your first association with the idea of famous tables of history? If you thought about King Arthur’s Round Table you surely wouldn’t be alone. It’s true that we can’t really tell you anything about its design since we’re talking about a legend that turned into a symbol and was enriched with all sorts of variations throughout time. But it’s because its memory passed the test of time and inspired so many stories we decided it’s worth writing about it.
The first mention of the Round Table was in a Britannic history book in lyrics, Roman de Brut, written by the poet Wace, in 1155, and it is said that Arthur created the table to eliminate any kind of potential conflict between his lords, because none of them would have accepted a place inferior to another. Layamon, another poet inspired by the same folkloric sources, added in one of his writings that Arthur and his barons actually did have a fight and the creative solution of a carpenter to solve the fight was to design a portable table that could accommodate 1600 men.
But King Arthur’s Round Table seems to have become famous in its particular way described in Merlin, the work of Robert de Boron (1190), where it is mentioned that it was created by the wizard in the image of the Last Supper’s table. So it had 12 seats, but also a 13th one left empty, symbolic for Juda’s betrayal, and it would only be occupied by the knight who finds the Grail.
Anyway, it’s a fact that during the Middle Ages the story was strongly romanticized and the table began to be more and more associated with the true knights and their values. And in their honor there were duels organized throughout all of Europe.
However, we do have a solid object associated with the legend – a table top made of English oak, 5,5 m in diameter, 7,5 cm thick and weighing more than 1t. It is hanging on one of the walls of the Great Hall of Winchester Castle in Hampshire, England and its exact origins are not well known. But it is estimated that the Winchester Round Table was built towards the end of the 13th century and it was ordered by King Edward I, for a tournament that celebrated one of his daughter’s wedding. As for the painted details you can see today, they were added in the 16th century, at the order of Henry VIII.