Recognizing Age and Construction in Antique Furniture
Antique furniture restoration tips
Antique Talk's Guide to Western Furniture
Major Furniture Period or Style Definitions
Gothic: Medieval church architecture influences this style-characterized
by pointed arches, counterbalancing buttresses, open tracery and
vertical grandiose emphasis.
Elizabethan: Elizabeth I Reign 1558-1603 England's Renaissance
Renaissance: Derived from Italian Renaissance style-mainly oak
functional furniture with scroll & arabesque carving, etc. with
horizontal emphasis. A "pendulumatic" reaction to Gothic style.
Pilgrim: Spartan utilitarian American furniture reflecting 17th C.
English country styles
Jacobean: Roughly spanning James I (1602-25) & Charles I (1625-49)
reigns. Restrained ornament, Moorish influence.
Louis XIII: King reigned (1589-1643), Baroque style including cherubs,
cartouches, gilding, and spiral turning.
Cromwellian: Also known as Carolean era. Probably alluding to Irish
influence in the era roughly surrounding Charles I.
Louis XIV: The Sun King's reign (1643-1715) noted for splendor of courts
in Versailles and Paris. Marquetry inlaid furniture distinguished by
opulence and grandiose size.
Baroque: Flamboyant, heavy, decorative rectilinear style derived from
17th C. Italian architecture.
Commonwealth: Unadorned style that flourished under protectorate of
Oliver Cromwell (1649-60) in a revolt against aristocracy.
Restoration: Restoration of kingly Charles II 1660 to the abdication of
James II 1688, walnut replaces oak, C and S scroll supports introduced.
Not as restrained as the Common man style preceding.
Early Colonial: With some wealth attained, carved oak Hadley chests and
turned Great Chairs start making their way into American homes.
Rococo: An exuberant curvaceous style characterized by asymmetrical
lines and shell, floral and foliate motifs.
William & Mary: Roughly influenced by William III reign 1689-1702,
heightened English style and cabinetry introducing: domed cresting, the
American highboy, lacquer work, ball & bun Spanish feet; strong Dutch
Queen Anne: Reign (1702-1714) Along with Chippendale, the finest hour of
English and American cabinetry. Feminine petite lines, beautiful
proportioning and balance, restrained use of ornament. The cabriole leg
and cyma curve are prevalent.
Regence: Transitional melding of baroque into rococo. Romantic elements
Louis XV: Continuance of the rejection of weighty forms. Rococo
exuberance replaces angularity in flowing curves and elaborate
scrollwork. Gilded cabriole leg fauteuils are introduced.