Much of English antique furniture can quite simply be dated by the wood it was made from. Although much early English furniture was made of oak, any piece made of walnut usually dates from around 1670, and anything in mahogany from 1725. It was the distinctions between the basic joinery techniques working with oak furniture and the evolution of sophisticated cabinetry techniques enabled through the close grain of walnut and mahogany which brought about a rebirth in English furniture making.
The soft buttery-ness of walnut could easily incorporate the sweeping curves of the French Baroque influences brought back by Charles II in 1660, to the scrolls, shells, cabriole legs and claw and ball feet from the reign of Queen Anne (1702-14).
The overuse of walnut however resulted in it becoming rare, and by 1750 imported mahogany and satinwood from the West Indies became the cabinet makers’ choice. The flexibility of mahogany meant that the cabinet maker was able to incorporate any number of new styles from the flowing influences of the French rococo to the straighter, finer lines of the neo-classical. Architect-decorators such as William Kent and Robert Adam plus cabinet makers Thomas Chippendale, George Hepplewhite and Thomas Sheraton were all able to take advantage of the sculptural properties that mahogany offered.
When you want to find period and revival walnut and mahogany antique cabinets in Preston or surrounding areas, a reputable antique dealer can show you a good selection of pieces.
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