“This is such a familiar form of construction that a vocabulary of terms has hardly been found to describe it, but some early inventories seem to refer to it as ‘staked,’ or ‘with stake feet.’ Added to this is the fact that it has been largely ignored by serious furniture historians, though its place in the development of furniture design is so important that it is hard to account for this neglect.”
— Victor Chinnery, “Oak Furniture: The British Tradition,” Antique Collectors Club, (1979) p. 75
I get asked a lot: Why is it called “The Book of Plates?” Couldn’t you have called it “Roubo’s Drawings” or something. What does the book have to do with dinnerware?
The drawings in “l’Art du menuisier” were produced by a copperplate engraving process, which is an intaglio method of making prints. The results of the intaglio process are called “plates” – that’s the word that Roubo uses in his books and is still used today when precision is appreciated.
I guarantee you will learn more about copperplate engraving and etching in the coming months; we are using the technique to illustrate “Furniture of Necessity” in an effort to make the project more awesome (and difficult to produce).
So until then, enjoy this plate made from images from “The Book of Plates” by Suzanne Ellison, our indexer and resident artist.
If this dinnerware existed, I’d buy six place settings.
— Christopher Schwarz