A Brief History of The Sideboard
Sideboards first appeared in the 1770s in Britain, popularised by Scots architect and furniture designer Robert Adam. George Hepplewhite, the famous English cabinet-maker, illustrated a sideboard in his Cabinet Maker and Upholsterer’s Guide (published in 1788, two years after his death). The sideboard was equally popular in America.
Far from being a repository for family clutter, the early sideboard was a piece of furniture with a very clear purpose: to house dining accoutrements such as cutlery and glasses in its roomy cupboards and drawers. Some even contained a built-in wine cooler. The sideboard also provided a useful waist-height surface from which food could be both displayed buffet-style and served.
Georgian sideboards were elegant and slender, with delicate inlay and veneers, usually arranged on twin pedestals. Victorian sideboards were chunky, sturdy and substantial, often made of oak or mahogany. The heyday of the sideboard was the Victorian era, when the industrial revolution led to an explosion of the middle classes – people affluent enough to afford a separate room dedicated to dining. The sideboard was a must-have piece of furniture, on which were displayed cut glass lustres, silver candlesticks or polished brass oil lamps plus decanters, perhaps a silver salver, decorative soup tureen or punch bowl.
Miniature Sideboard by Taberna Miniatures
This feature was originally published in Dolls House and Miniature Scene magazine. If you like making miniatures, why not buy yourself a copy of the magazine. Or better still take out a subscription so you never miss an issue. For fans of Facebook and Twitter, or to email, print or comment on the feature, please use the buttons above to share with your friends.