History

The History of Furniture

Our range of beautifully hand carved, solid mahogany furniture immaculately reproduces popular historic furniture styles including French, Georgian, Victorian, Regency and Chippendale. Please read on to learn more about these iconic furniture styles.

Thomas Chippendale (1718-1779)

Thomas Chippendale had such a significant influence on the design and manufacture of furniture that it is important to allocate a piece of history to him, although others may incorporate it into the Georgian period. Chippendale worked as a journeyman cabinet maker but in 1754 he became the first furniture designer to publish a book of his designs, titled The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker’s Director. There were 3 editions of the book printed, the last a revised and enlarged edition in 1762. This guide was used by furniture manufacturers as an inspiration for their creations so that “Chippendale” furniture was produced in Dublin, Philadelphia, Lisbon, Copenhagen and Hamburg.
Chippendale’s designs featured four main styles: English with deep carving, elaborate French rococo in the style of Louis XV furniture, Chinese style with latticework and lacquer, and Gothic with pointed arches, quatrefoils and fret worked legs.

See our Chippendale Formosa Carver here

Georgian Furniture (1714-1800)

Georgian furniture was designed and manufactured during the reign of the 3 King Georges, between 1714 and 1800. Early Georgian furniture was manufactured primarily from oak, walnut and mahogany but later on the expansion of the British Empire resulted in walnut being replaced more and more with mahogany that was imported from Cuba and Honduras. The early style of Georgian furniture was mainly simple and followed the architectural lines of buildings, however the introduction of more mahogany and the rise in prominence of designers such as Thomas Chippendale, Robert Adam, George Hepplewhite and Thomas Sheraton created more ornate and intricately carved designs. Chippendale favoured a more French Rocco style whilst Adam introduced “Greek” neo-classicism to Britain. Hepplewhite and Sheraton specialised in cabinets and transformed the simple straight lines of the early Georgian period into curved styles that incorporated motifs and ornamentation. Towards the end of the Georgian period the use of painting, inlay, veneer, light carving and marquetry grew in prominence with Hepplewhite incorporating the three feathers Prince of Wales crest on the backs of chairs.

See our Georgian Bedside here

Regency Furniture (1800-1830)

Regency furniture can be simply described as plain, slender and elegant, however this description perhaps does not do the furniture justice. Designs were a fusion of neoclassical and empire style with influence from the more ornate designs of the later Georgian period. The most famous of the designers were Thomas Hope, George Smith and Henry Holland. Significant pieces of this period were the tilt top dining tables and the pillared extendable dining tables. The drum table and sofa table are also good examples of the Regency period and the classic Regency chair was the double sabre leg chair which sometimes came with a rope twist carved back, a feature inspired by Lord Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar.

See our Regency Hall Table here

Victorian Furniture (1837-1901)

The Victorian period witnessed an increase in furniture production to cope with the rise in personal wealth and the growth of the middle classes. The new fashion of furniture design was more imposing furniture with plenty of curves, rounded corners, glossy finishes, elaborate decoration and later in the century, ornate heavily carved pieces. Styling became more delicate and a greater emphasis was placed on comfort with upholstery and padded seating coming more into vogue. Early Victorian furniture contained elements of Regency design but by the late Victorian era the furniture had become chunkier that incorporated lots of decoration. Gothic and medieval carvings were popular and integrated into the imposing dark mahogany furniture wherever possible.

See our Victorian Grandfather Chair here

French Furniture (1715-1774)

This time period covers the reigns of Louis XV and Louis XVI and incorporates the periods that are referred to as Baroque, Rococo and Neo-Classical. Throughout these periods furniture could be described as elegant, relaxed and graceful but all the periods have their own unique charms. Baroque furniture was originally developed in Italy when the designs of Gianlorenzo Bernini and Francesco Borromini had their designs showcased in Rome. The chair designs consisted of combining a high back and rich carvings. The French Baroque furniture was a display of great workmanship and artistry that looked as though the basics of its construction had been imported from Rome. The Rococo period was all about intricate and whimsical designs and the furniture designs did not disappoint as they became a symptom of status as well as taking on a role in comfort and versatility. A noticeable change is that furniture became freestanding rather than being anchored to a wall to accentuate the light-hearted atmosphere and versatility of each piece. Furniture would be readily moved to accommodate gatherings.

See our Baroque Dining Chair here

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