The tops of Indian black-flamed calamander are inlaid with ribbon-bands of golden satinwood whose corner volutes form palm-flowers, while their 'Roman' tablet-panelled friezes are enriched in the French fashion with ormolu bas-relief flowers framing central plaques of rose-wreathed Venus masks tied by palm-flowered and voluted ribbons. The latter pattern derives from the altar-pedestal of a bronze vase that is likely to have been executed around 1800 for the connoisseur Thomas Hope (d. 1832) by the Piccadilly bronze-founder Alexis Decaix (T. Hope, Designs for Household Furniture and Interior Decoration, 1807, pl. XLIX). The tables' Grecian-black frames comprise paired pillars, whose bases are wreathed with golden palms, while their altar-pedestals are raised on Grecian-scrolled 'claws', whose trusses are enriched with flowered reliefs and terminate in bacchic lion-paws.
One table bears the trade-label adopted by the Upholder George Simson (d. circa 1840) following the establishment of his St. Paul's Churchyard premises in the late 1780s.
The same patterned castor-fitted paws feature on one of Simson's rosewood sofa tables while a similar patterned top appears on another of his calamander card-tables, which has a single palm-flowered pillar (C. Gilbert, Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture 1700-1840, Leeds, 1996, figs. 862 and 866).
During the 1790s British victories over the Dutch forces in Ceylon had helped popularise the fashion for Calamander wood, whose blackness well suited the contemporary 'Grecian' style. The wood was noted as 'lately introduced' by Thomas Sheraton in The Cabinet Dictionary, 1803. In 1810 George Oakley supplied a related four-pillared window-pier card-table and en suite sofa-table, and these are illustrated by R. Fastnedge and M. Jourdain, Regency Furniture, rev. ed., London, 1965 (figs. 157 and 134).