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Feature Periods in history explained
William and Mary (1688-1702)
Large numbers of French and Dutch refugees came to England during this period. Many of them were furniture craftsmen; and they brought new techniques, which increased the standard of English furniture dramatically. Oak gave way to walnut and mahogany was used for the first time. Ebony and floral veneers were used. Legs on tables and chairs were previously scrolled and these developed into cabriole legs by the end of William III reign.
Queen Anne (1702-1714)
English craftsmen had taken on the foreign techniques of the French and Dutch, but had adapted these to make their own unique styles. This meant English furniture was now compared to Italian and French furniture. Veneered surfaces became more popular than marquetry, and walnut was predominantly used.
During this period mahogany started to replace the previously popular walnut. There were a wide variety of styles during this period, such as Chippendale, Hepplewhite and Sheraton. Chippendales’ designs such as Ribbon back chairs, gilt mirrors and console tables were seen along with more gothic styles. However, Sheraton provided a domestic version of neo-classics.
Techniques such as French polishing are seen, which means the furniture of the time have smooth surface finishes. The knowledge people have of different woods increases, so more vivid and coloured patterns are used. Elaborate marquetry and veneers are seen.
William IV (1830-1837)
Following on from the Regency period, but introduced a few more curves and some elegant decoration.
This furniture was heavier than in the Regency period. Smooth lines were replaced with oval and circular styles, such as balloon-back chairs and asymmetrical chaises lounges. Oak starts to make a comeback, but mahogany and rosewood are still widely used. The greater use of machines increased production dramatically, which meant the Victorian style of furniture was widely seen in peoples’ homes.
Most Edwardian Furniture was mass produced because of the advancement of machinery. Second hand antique furniture was becoming very fashionable due to the antiques trade being buoyant. Cabinet makers realised that earlier designs were outselling new pieces, so reproductions of older styles became popular. Earlier designs were adapted to suit modern living styles and make them more comfortable. More woods were now being used such as Mahogany, Walnut, Satinwood and Oak.