Relevant categories: Dining Sets,Tables,Cabinets and Chests
(Above photo - William and Mary Antique Cabinet )
The story of William and Mary antiques begins in 1677 after English princess Mary marries Dutch King William of Orange. Their marriage means Mary has to live away from her family until 1688 when she returns to England and deposed her father King James II. Now that she was Queen, Mary’s influence on furniture design begins in earnest. She brings in several Dutch furniture makers because of her love for Dutch-style chairs, tables, and cabinets.
After taking over from her father, Mary initially reigned jointly with William. After she died in 1702, William became the sovereign over England. That is why the design during their time is referred to as the William and Mary style.
Pieces of furniture from the William and Mary style were predominant in England, Scotland, America, and the Netherlands. It lay somewhere in between the Mannerist and the Queen Ann style. That’s why it is not uncommon to notice characteristics from the past and the future, all at the same time.
Characteristics of William and Mary Antiques
(Above photo -Antique William and Mary Table - Walnut Pedestal Stand 1860 )
William and Mary's style was mainly influenced by emerging furniture styles from France. The major emphasis lay on the unity of all elements in bringing out the overall look or shape. Overall, the style was sturdy, heavy-looking, and squat.
Common elements of this style include straight lines and paint stains on wood to bring out the contrast in colors. The pieces of furniture were also heavily lacquered using the varnishing technique known as Japanning. Chairs often had their seats made from woven cane and their backs heavily scrolled. Eventually, the woven cane seats and backs were replaced by leather upholstery. While the backs had been straight or angled, they now assumed a more serpentine form.
(Above photo - Oak Refectory Table Set William Mary Farmhouse Chairs Kitchen )
Apart from chairs, other types of furniture developed during the William and Mary period include the daybed and the writing desk. The latter was inspired by the bureau cabinet that had been popular in the Jacobean era.
Cabinets created in the William and Mary style had signs of influence from previous eras. The drawers had a track chiseled on each side to enable them to glide almost effortlessly. They had bobbins and moldings designed to create a unique look and an impressive texture. The purpose was to convey prestige and wealth. For that reason, the furniture created in this style hardly reached the masses. Rather, it was common in residences for the wealthy.
(Above photo - 9 ft French Rustic Refectory Table & William Mary Chairs Dining Set )
The furniture mostly had right-angled joints, thanks to the predominant use of the dovetail joint. Furniture makers were able to use thinner boards to create lighter, more erect construction. For the first time, there were new furniture types including easy chairs, desks, high chests, and dining tables. These were created to serve the growing luxury needs of the wealthy. The tabletops or case fronts featured veneers or sheets of wood in contrasting colors.
If you are looking for William and Mary antiques, don’t hesitate to talk to us. We have a collection of high-value antiques of all types.
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