Relevant categories: Desks,Clocks,Tables,Bookcases
(Above photo - Georgian Antiques pedestal desk in mahogany )
One thing that makes Georgian antiques so popular is the different styles in which they were made. For those who don’t know what we are talking about, the Georgian period lasted between 1714 and 1830. Within that period, there were different unique furniture designs produced by different designers. Among them, we have Thomas Hope, Robert Adam, Thomas Chippendale, and William Kent.
The Georgian period began in 1714 when King George IV was crowned and ended in 1830 when George IV died. In this write-up, we shall look at the evolution of Georgian antiques within a period spanning more than a century.
George I – Italianate Design
(Above photo - Georgian antiques - a fine mahogany specimen cabinet )
During the reign of George I, William Kent was one of the best furniture designers. He was tasked with landscaping, furniture design, and architecture. He was greatly influenced by the Palladian and Italian baroque styles. From his influences, he developed an English style that was highly ornamented. He, therefore, designed sculptural, richly-carved, upholstered, and sometimes gilded furniture. That was the beginning of the preference of magnificent Italianate design by the people of England.
George II – Rococo Style
(Above photo - Georgian antiques - mahogany serpentine console table )
The rococo style was initially from France. It developed as a result of the order and strictness brought about during the reign of King Louis XIV in 1715. Within a few years, it had crossed over to England. Rococo is ‘rocailles’ in French. It is used to mean the rocks and broken shells that were a huge part of the style. The rococo style was heavily ornamented and featured the use of ‘C’ and ‘S’ scrolls, acanthus leaf, and shells.
Georgian antiques made using the rococo style were mainly asymmetrical. At the very peak of this style, decoration became less as people preferred functionality. Later, there came the Chinoiserie style which imitated rococo in terms of intricate decoration. Apart from the decoration, you can identify rococo by looking at serpentine lines, cabriole legs, bombe commodes, sculptured ormolu, and scrollwork.
George III – Chippendale Style
(Above photo - Georgian sideboard in mahogany )
The Chippendale style was huge in the 1750s and 1760s. However, it came to dominate the Georgian period, especially after the publication of The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker’s Directory by Thomas Chippendale. The style incorporates the gothic, rococo, and chinoiserie styles. It was basically a watered-down French rococo style. That’s is why it became popular with the elite as well as people in the mercantile class. Through his directory, Chippendale availed the design to a wide variety of furniture makers. That why many homes featured Chippendale style furniture.
George IV – Regency period
(Above photo - Georgian antique chest on chest )
During the Regency period, the major designers were George Smith, Thomas Hope, and Thomas Sheraton. They tended to draw their inspiration for the neoclassic movement which has become popular in the decades preceding 1811. The furniture pieces of that time were more architectural in nature. It borrowed a lot from Egyptian art, with sphinxes, beetles, and snakes appearing for the first time. They also borrowed from oriental cultures through the use of ormolu against black-colored backgrounds. Behind the change in design was Prince Regent himself. He became King George IV in 1820 and reigned until he died in 1830.
If you are looking for Georgian antiques, the best place to begin is with the furniture. You can never go wrong with that.
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