1860′s Belgium Buffet, Extensively Carved with a Lion Head, Angel Face Motif and Two Griffins Holding up the Cabinet
The Buffet, is a piece of furniture, of French origin, closely akin to the sideboard, cupboard and dresser. It came into its greatest prominence during the Stuart period, but has varied so widely in form that it is difficult to trace its natural development. It has been more commonly used as a place to keep the necessary equipment of the dining table—dishes, china, glass and silver. The buffet, originally a small room, or recess, in which was a counter where food was served, was always provided with one or more flat spaces, or broad shelves, for the reception of dishes, etc. One type of buffet, a table with a super-structure that fits against the wall, is meant more for the display of plate than anything else. Another type, the forerunner of the sideboard of the 18th century, consisted of a heavy, low table with deep drawers be neath. The early buffets, after they became pieces of furniture, were sometimes carved with the utmost elaboration, but the Renaissance did much to refine their ornament and vary their form. The early Georgian period, however, made the buffet a subject for cabriole legs, club feet and other variations characteristic of the period. About this same time tiers of shelves, with or without a glass front, were quite often called buffets—perhaps because they were used as a place for dishes. In fact, almost any dining-room receptacle for articles that were not immediately wanted came at last to bear the name, regardless of its form (GlueIdeas.com/Encyclopedia Brittanica).