Relevant categories: Tables
( Above Photo: Period Victorian Antiques )
Period Victorian antiques coincided with the reign (1837 to 1901) of Queen Victoria of Great Britain. The antiques were some of the richest ever produced in Britain, imitating furniture pieces from previous eras.
Designers of that era opted to produce furniture in retro styles including Greek revival (1800-1850), Gothic Revival (1845-1895), Rococo Revival (1845-1865), and Renaissance Revival (1860-1890). At the end of the Victorian era, there sprung the Arts and Crafts movement, just before the 20th century.
This article reviews the different furniture styles witnessed during the Victorian period to help you identify them. Check them out below:
(Above photo - Victorian Oil Painting Family Portrait )
Greek revival or classicism was a furniture style that sought to go back to designs that had been used from the early 19th century. During the Victorian era, people in Britain were more fascinated with ancient Greek culture. This portrayed that in ornaments, furniture, and architecture.
By the 1850s, there was no clear distinction between Greek revival and period Victorian antiques. The Greek revival furniture had the following distinguishing features:
Klismos chairs, which have a sabre legs and a curved back
Caryatids or women columns of upright female figure
Gothic antiques were made between the 12th and the 15th centuries. If received a revival from 1945, going by the name: neogothic. The major influence on this was medieval gothic architecture. Gothic revival furniture pieces had classical echoes, geometric forms, and dramatic detailed carvings.
The following are the distinctive features of Gothic revival furniture:
Dark, heavy wood – oak, walnut, rosewood
Spiky plasters (decorative columns)
Pointed and lancet arches
Intricate foliage carvings
Finials that decorated pole ends
Leather, brocade, and velvet upholstery
Coat or arms
Quatrefoil and trefoil rosettes
(Above photo - Victorian Pier Cabinet )
The Rococo style sprung up during Louis’ XV reign in France as a revulsion of the baroque style. In French, rocaille means pebbles or rubble. The style favors natural motifs, showing designers’ interest in nature. John Henry Belter, master furniture maker combined Victorian decorative arts with Rococo-style carvings.
Here are some of the distinguishing features of the Rococo revival style:
Preferred woods include mahogany, walnut, and rosewood
Cabriole legs with outward-curving knee
Scroll legs that spiraled in opposite direction
Ormolu mounts and gold finishes
Serpentine-shaped sofa frames and dresser fronts
Balloon-backed chairs with a padded seat and back
(Above photo - Extending Victorian Dining Table )
By the mid-18th-century, designers had stated reviving classical and renaissance art. The furniture pieces that were created in the Renaissance style were heavy with bold features. These pieces were made in factories and were easier to produce compared to the original classical pieces.
The following are the distinguishing characteristics of the Renaissance revival furniture:
Fluted legs to imitate Greek columns
Lighter wood like oak and walnut
Black and gold incising of ormolu mounts
Decorating furniture by ebonizing
Heavy, rich, and colorful upholstery fabrics
The Bottom Line
(Above photo - Set Victorian Balloon Back Dining Chairs )
It’s clear that period Victorian antiques come in different shapes and styles, depending on the influence. Therefore, there is no specific style that refers to furniture from this period. When looking for antiques from the late 18th century, you should be prepared to sift through all the available options.
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