A Tudor treasure - the seadog table

Walnut table inlaid with various woods and marbles, Hardwick Hall

The seadog table is a marvel of design and construction. A new display at Hardwick this year is a chance to take a closer look at this impressive piece and to find out why it is so significant.

Understood to be the only one of its kind in the country, if not the world, the seadog table is one of the most important pieces of furniture in England. 

Originally from France and expertly crafted out of French walnut featuring an inlay of Italian marble with gilded embellishments on top, such a piece would have been a sure sign of the owner’s wealth, power and influence. That it was owned by a woman during that time just adds to that. 

Originating from France the seadog table is expertly crafted in French walnut
Detail from one of the legs of the seadog table
Originating from France the seadog table is expertly crafted in French walnut

A table of many parts

Whilst it was a symbol of status, the table had a function too – it was used as a banqueting table.  A banquet course was the final course of a meal when sweet delights such as candied fruit and marchpane  (or marzipan as we know it today) would be served up, usually in a dedicated room.  


The seadog table was designed to be taken apart so that it could be moved wherever the banquet course was desired. 

When old meets new

As well as a closer look at the table as a whole, thanks to the wonders of 3-D printing you can pick up and handle replicas of sections of the table too, which will give you a better idea of just how intricately it is carved.