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The French Bouillotte Table

Bouillotte:  Game, Table, and Lamp

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Some home furnishings were historically made for one particular purpose.  Such is the case of the French game, bouillotte (“BOO yaht”), inspiring both a table and a lamp.  Although neither the specific table nor the particular lamp type are required to play the game, both were developed to meet the needs of the card game.

The gambling card game, bouillotte, dates from late 18th-century France, based on the game Brelan.  It was very popular in 19th-century France, and in the United States from about 1830.  Bouillotte is said to be one of the games that led to the development of poker.  As in poker, chips are used as wagers or payments during the game.

Game of bouillotte with bouillotte lamp on bouillotte table…

The game was so popular that special tables of the same name were introduced just for that purpose.  These tables were usually round in form with a diameter of about 27 to 30 inches, having a pierced brass gallery encircling the top, often marble.


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The gallery held a second loose top that would have a leather or felt inlaid playing surface that might be reversible to show a decorative inlaid wood design.  Over the years, these second tops might have been damaged or lost, or might have been used for the replacement for the damaged marble top.  In any case, the antique tables are attractive whether they have the second top or not and very much in demand today.

Below are pictures of two views of a bouillotte table
signed by Jean-Jacques Pafrat,
and made in Paris in 1785.
The view on the left shows the
removable top with a leather playing surface.
The view on the right, revealing the marble top,
shows the pull-out surfaces for lighting and a
drawer for the cards and game chips.

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CROWN AND COLONY ANTIQUES always shops for this style table when in France.  Typically we have several in stock at any given time in our shop and in our warehouse!

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Call us to check availability 251-928-4808


Check our website https://www.crownandcolony.com


These tables were created in the Louis XVI neoclassical style and were raised on four cylindrical tapering legs as opposed to the curving cabriole (pronounced “CAB ree ole”) legs of the previous period, that of Louis XV.

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These table legs either terminate in sabots (pronounced “suh-BOWS”) which is an applied decorative bronze shoe mount on each leg OR the legs would sometimes be fitted with casters.


Below is a table that is “bouillotte in style” but does not have the gallery.  It is a table with inlay on the top.  Stunning.

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Bouillotte Lamp


The game also inspired a special lamp of the same name.  During the first period of use, these lamps were referred to as flambeau couvert (a large candlestick lamp), flambeau bureau (desk lamp or candlestick), or flambeaux des jeu (lamps for gaming tables). A candelabra form rises from a dish that held the game chips and comes equipped with a single shade, usually painted metal (tole peinte), that can be lowered on a central stanchion to shield the eyes from glare as the candles burn down.  An authentic bouillotte lamp is the lamp with both the dish and the adjustable shade.

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P.S.  If you are a card enthusiast, click on this link for all the rules and how to play the French card game of BOUILLOTTE www.pagat.com

Au Revoir!  A La Prochaine!!