A guide to English antique furniture
English antique furniture has more to it than value and sophisticated looks. Each piece of English antique furniture represents the characteristics and features that identify its history. From Elizabethan to late Victorian periods, furniture making and designing in England flourished, transformed and took different turns that highlighted the ascending and descending of ruling monarchs. During the Elizabethan period renaissance style furniture was developed.
They were more detailed than the plain and functional features of the earlier periods. The furniture incorporated Ionic capitals, solid inlay, carved caryatids, strap work and split baluster turnings. The Elizabethan English antique chairs were turned or wainscoted. Beds had carved posts and canopy. The tables had bulbous legs and were heavy and carved. The Elizabethan furniture altogether was larger, heavier and reflected wealth.
The Jacobean furniture saw more Geometric mouldings, split balusters and bobbin-turnings. William and Mary era marked a surge in cabinet making with an inflow of foreign craftsmen and cabinetmakers into England. Walnut, ebony, pine and other wood types became more popular than traditional oak.
The English antique chairs at the time had turned legs in trumpet shapes, scroll designs and cabriole. During the Queen Anne reign, foreign craftsmen skills were acquired by English cabinet makers. These were lighter, smaller and comfortable versions of the William and Mary period designs. Cushioned seats, wingback chairs and pad feet were some of the characteristics. Both periods were influenced by foreign crafting styles.
The Georgian furniture featured ornate carvings, Queen Anne style cabriole legs and ornamental inlays. Bigger furniture was made with delicate designs that had regency characteristics. The English antique tables and chairs got more prominent features like lions paw legs, and the club and spade look. Thomas Chippendale, George Hepplewhite and Robert Adam were some of the famous cabinet makers during this time. Mahogany became a more popular wood to oak and walnut.
It was called the Golden Age of Furniture and was inspired by rococo and neo-classical styles. The Victorian period saw a heavy increase in furniture making and included heavier, elaborate and decorative pieces with dark finish. This era revived the gothic and rococo styles. Methods of manufacture changed from hand to machines. English antique tables and chairs during this period had shorter legs and sofas were fringed and deep-buttoned.
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