1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Guéridon

GUÉRIDON, a small table to hold a lamp or vase, supported by a tall column or a human or mythological figure. This piece of furniture, often very graceful and elegant, originated in France towards the middle of the 17th century. In the beginning the table was supported by a negro or other exotic figure, and there is some reason to believe that it took its name from the generic appellation of the young African groom or “tiger,” who was generally called “Guéridon,” or as we should say in English “Sambo.” The swarthy figure and brilliant costume of the “Moor” when reproduced in wood and picked out in colours produced a very striking effect, and when a small table was supported on the head by the upraised hands the idea of passive service was suggested with completeness. The guéridon is still occasionally seen in something approaching its original form; but it had no sooner been introduced than the artistic instinct of the French designer and artificer converted it into a far worthier object. By the death of Louis XIV. there were several hundreds of them at Versailles, and within a generation or two they had taken an infinity of forms—columns, tripods, termini and mythological figures. Some of the simpler and more artistic forms were of wood carved with familiar decorative motives and gilded. Silver, enamel, and indeed almost any material from which furniture can be made, have been used for their construction. A variety of small “occasional” tables are now called in French guéridons.