As a reaction against the exotic fripperies of Victorian design, the turn of the 20th century brought with it much plainer styles. Already the Arts and Crafts Movement was promoting a return to handcraftsmanship and designs tended to be much plainer and flatter than the elaborate machine turned and carved pieces of the Victorian era. Most Arts and Crafts furniture was made from oak and coupled with simple hand beaten copper or pewter garnitures, it gave it a traditionalcountry feel. Liberty’s had already begun to sell this much simpler range of furniture which included bedroom suites.
The Art Nouveau at this time also reacted against Victorian commercialism but perhaps was more light-hearted in its design approach than the serious minded Arts and Crafts Movement. In fact Arts and Crafts purists saw Art Nouveau styling as lacking depth. Its flowing, organic vine like qualities were very popular, however, although the British version of Art Nouveau was not as exaggerated as its French counterpart. Firms of furniture manufacturers like J S Henry would incorporate the floral Art Nouveau motifs into simpler furniture designs that were more reminiscent of Arts and Crafts styling.
The Edwardian dressing chest popular at this time reflected this confliction of styles that were in vogue at the beginning of the 20th century. Classic Sheraton designs had also come back into fashion and bamboo and rattan lacquered bedroom furniture were also popular. The dressing chest was also ideal for smaller middle class homes where storage was at a premium.
When buying Edwardian antique chests, Lancashire dealers can advise on the authenticity of pieces where many dressing chests of the period were later restyled into writing desks and chests of drawers.
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