An American view ..
An antique is typically described as a curio or furniture that is more than a hundred years old. Many people like to decorate their homes with furniture that is antique in nature. Carved wooden ornamental and period furniture best represents this kind of ornamentation. Antique furniture predominantly with wooden carvings allows you to recreate a period lifestyle in your living room, making it distinctive and keeping with the social tastes of that culture or period. Victorian living room furniture is extremely ornate and had exquisite wooden carving details on display.
To buy a piece of antique furniture you must have a thorough knowledge of furniture history and styles in different countries and periods. It can be quite complicated to identify true antiques, imitations, variations, alterations and restorations. People often pass off fake antiques as original if you are not vigilant.
The furniture from the Victorian era exemplifies antiquity to its hilt. Heavily carved, it is usually made up of darkest wood unlike light mahogany finish and satinwood that were used previously. The popular materials used for Victorian furniture were dark mahogany with a reddish tinge, rosewood, black walnut and bog oak. Rich deep hue of dark oak was preferred and the size of the furniture was huge. The relief work in the furniture included skilful and ornamental wooden carvings of flowers, fruit, animals and human figures. The cabinetry of the Georgian period is still treasured today.
American Antique Furniture
American antique furniture encompasses an extraordinary range of models designed over a time span of several hundred years, and pieces often differ significantly in quality of craftsmanship, place of origin, and appearance. Notwithstanding, antique furniture throughout American history, seems to share an inherent character and often a distinctive originality that is central to its appeal.
American antique furniture was enormously influenced by European and English styles. Made of local woods, it often featured painted decoration along with costly wooden carving and veneers of high-style pieces produced in furniture-making centres like Newport and Philadelphia.
The most antique piece of American furniture is assigned to Thomas Mulninert who is known to have worked between 1639 and 1650 in the colony of New Haven. Solid American wooden carved antique furniture was made with walnut and ash. Mahogany was imported Haiti and Santo Domingo and was extremely popular between 1730 and 1840 for the elegant Chippendale, Hepplewhite, Sheraton, and American Empire styles.
Pilgrim (1640-1690) - Antique furniture of the Pilgrim era was large and heavy in appearance. Main ornamentation is carved wooden relief wherein most pieces are made of oak or pine. Authentic 17th century antique American furniture is extremely rare. Many antique Pilgrim style pieces have been heavily restored, particularly the legs and table leaves while the carved wooden ornaments and rungs have often been replaced.
William and Mary (1700-1730) - William and Mary antique furniture was characterized by the dovetail joint and the wooden carving in high relief. The pieces of furniture are generously proportioned with contrasting surfaces. The use of lacquer, veneer, orate carved wooden moldings, and bun feet are typical of this era. The main types of wood used are walnut, maple, and pine.
Queen Anne (1725-1755) Queen Anne antique furniture is characterized by refined scrolled form. The lacquered antique furniture has cabriole legs and hooped seats. The most widely used types of wood were walnut, cherry, and mahogany.
Chippendale (1755-1790) Chippendale style antique furniture has Chinese motifs, Gothic arches, 'C' and 'S' form scrolls as well as claw and ban feet. The center part forming the chair backs are woven. Chippendale style furniture is almost exclusively mahogany and that from the southern states is often highly ornamented with wooden carvings.
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