These Irish oval-topped drop-leaf tables are traditionally known as 'hunt' or 'wake' tables. Their narrow shape when the flaps are down, allows them to be conveniently placed against a wall, out of the way, often in a hall or dining-room. The term hunt table originated from their use for hunt meets, when they were carried outside to hold the drink. They are otherwise known as wake or coffin tables, their narrow shape being ideally suited to holding a coffin prior to burial. Their mobile nature and usefulness has resulted in many examples still in situ in houses throughout Ireland. There are examples in the Dining-Rooms of Leixlip Castle, Co. Kildare, Bellamont Forest, Co. Cavan and Mount Stewart, Co. Down (J. O'Brien and D. Guinness, Great Irish Houses and Gardens, London, 1992, p. 23, 68, 157 and 192). A wake table probably supplied to Alexander mcDonnell, fifth Earl of Antrim (1713-1775) for Glenarm Castle, Co. Antrim is illustrated in The Knight of Glin & J. Peill, Irish Furniture, New Haven & London, 2007, p. 242, cat. 161. A hunt table was sold in Out of the Ordinary - Christopher Gibbs & Harris Lindsay, Christie's, London, 10 May 2005, lot 225 (£60,000 including premium). Another hunt table was sold in The Legend of Dick Turpin, Christie's, London, 9 March 2006, lot 254 (£38,400).
Bangor Castle, co. Down was built in 1847 by William Burn in an Elizabethan revival style for Robert Ward (1818-1904), a great-grandson of Bernard, 1st Viscount Bangor (d. 1781). It passed to Ward's daughter, Matilda who in 1878 had married John, 5th Baron Clanmorris (1852-1916).