When we listen to experts waxing lyrical over antique furniture, the French terminology can often send us into a state of panic. What is a buffet, chiffonier, escritoire or armoire?
The Victorian sideboard is an often monumental piece of furniture, and at the time was one of the most expensive pieces in the Victorian household. Everything about it had to be impressive, and its main function was to showcase the family silver, glass and tableware. However, it also performed every day functions from where meat could be carved and food could be served.
The flamboyance of the Victorian sideboard, in true Victorian revivalist tradition, was reproduced in a wealth of styles for the growing Victorian market. Chronologically these revival styles included Early English, Elizabethan, Queen Anne, French Rococo and Regency. Mechanisation meant that sideboards could now be manufactured reasonably cheaply in any of these styles. Many pieces were also (more…)
The word ‘dresser’ comes originally from the French ‘dressoir’ which literally means from where food is dressed for the table. It originates from medieval times where it was a number of cupboards situated beneath sets of shelves. The cupboards would store any plates or drinking cups and the shelves would outwardly present any gold or silver plate that the family owned.
It was during the 18th century that the whole became part of a superstructure which was permanently fixed together. Like the four poster bed, the dresser could be a status piece of furniture within the family that would be passed down through (more…)
The difference between a sideboard and chiffonier is often hard to determine where both were very popular during the Victorian era.
A sideboard during the Victorian period could often be (more…)
When considering what a fine antique should look like, a Regency sideboard is about as elegant a piece of antique furniture as you could possibly wish to see. The straight Regency lines, fluted legs, plain drawer fronts with inlaid crossbanding and Grecian architectural brass elliptical handles complete the Neo-classical look. (more…)
Although poverty was rife during the reign of Queen Victoria, the Victorian era was one of domestic pride where the poorest of families who had very little in the way of furniture, kept doorsteps and doorknobs gleaming in a effort to retain some form of status in the public face they presented to the world. (more…)
Both oak and walnut were used in the making of early English furniture. However differences in the woods lent themselves to a difference in styles; earlier oak furniture being much more robust in design although often heavily decorated, whereas the slightly later walnut was used to create the much lighter intricate designs of some of the finest cabinetry ever made. The artisans themselves who used the woods were also distinguished between the joiner or ordinary craftsman and the master craftsman.
The durable oak that was the mainstay of furniture making up to and during the early part of the 17th century, was very much the joiners’ art. It was made fairly crudely and construction used mortise and tenon where the narrowed end of one piece of wood fitted into a (more…)
The enduring popularity of antiques often comes down to happy coincidences where one complements the other. The large stripped pine dresser festooned with examples of transfer printed blue and white pottery still remains the favourite focal point in any farmhouse kitchen or breakfast room. The participants of this marriage also remain constant geographically and stylistically, whether it is an antique cupboard from Lancashire or an antique dresser from South Wales; or differing designs of blue and white from Doulton, Spode, Masons, or Wedgewood. The aesthetic effect of the blue and white combined with the honey colour of the stripped pine remains a very popular design choice.
The stripping of the pine however is still a fairly recent phenomena but the light honey colour that emerges from applying wax creates a very attractive effect. The simplicity of the blue and white also provides an uninterrupted route for the (more…)