Ever wonder whether it's a Rococo or Régence? Louis XV or Louis Philippe? A Bergère or Fauteuil? Each week, we will highlight a word, term, or phrase to help identify antique furniture, periods, and styles.
1. an 18th century gambling card game that was so popular in France that a special table was created for play. Based on Brelan, it is regarded as one of the games that influenced open-card stud variation in poker.
Origin: < French bouillotte card game, equivalent to bouill (ir) to boil + -otte noun suffix
La Bouillotte 1798 by Jean Francois Bosio
The gambling game Bouillotte was introduced in the 18th century, during the French Revolution, as a regulated form of a popular card game known as Brelan. The French had been playing Brelan since the 1600s. The standard Bouilotte game included four players using a piquet pack (20-card pack) by removing the sevens, tens and Jacks, with the cards in each suit ranking from high to low — A-K-Q-9-8. The best hand was a brelan carré, or four of a kind made with the aid of a turned card, followed by a simple brelan, three of a kind. If no one had a four of a kind or three of a kind, the winning hand was the hand containing the highest card of the suit belonging to any player who had not folded during the betting. See rules here.
Le Suprême Bon Ton No. 4
Bouillotte, said to be one of the card games that led to the development of poker, became such a favorite past time that drawing rooms or card rooms had to accommodate the needs and comforts of the players. Playing became so en vogue during the reign of Louis XVI that special tables (and lamps) of the same name were created specifically for the game. Although neither the table nor the lamp were required to play the game, both were created to meet the needs of the popular card game.
French Louis XVI Style Marble Top Bouillotte Table / Item #LFALO948 / Lolo French Antiques et More
The small marble topped card tables, created in the Louis XVI neoclassical style, were often made of mahogany and raised on four tapering legs ending in sabots or fitted with casters. They were usually round, having a pierced brass or bronze gallery that made it possible to place a bouchon (felt-like cover) securely on top of the marble when the table was being used for the game.
French Louis XVI Style Marble Top Bouillotte Table / Item #LFALO950 / Lolo French Antiques et More
Below the marble top was a paneled frieze typically fitted with two drawers and two tirettes (pull-out utility slides). Chips were used as wagers during the game and the raised gallery helped keep the playing pieces on the table. The felt cover was removed to reveal the marble top when the game wasn't being played, and the table functioned as a side table or server.
Today, bouillotte tables mix wonderfully with both traditional and modern decors and continue to function perfectly as side or end tables. How do you use yours? Let us know!
post originally appeared on Lolo's French Bloguette
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When this self-described Francophile is not reading or writing about all things French, she's dreaming up charming new ways to showcase Lolo French Antiques et More or traveling to France with Lolo to buy delightful treasures for their store. Mimi, Lolo, and their new French Bulldog, Duke, live in Birmingham, AL.