The present lot was designed to be placed near a fireplace and used for after-dinner drinking and socialising. As the drinkers sat facing the fire, the hinged rod would circulate a decanter in the pivoted coaster. Such tables were also used by riders gathering outside for a drink before or after a hunt. George Hepplewhite published a design in 1793 for a 'Gentlemen's Social Table', while related examples by Gillows are illustrated in P. Macquoid & R. Edwards, The Dictionary of English Furniture, London, 1954, Vol. III, p. 319 and Susan Stuart, Gillows of Lancaster and London 1730-1840, Woodbridge, 1988, Vol. I, pl. 247.