Some pieces of antique furniture go particularly out of fashion because of their design, function and in terms of Victorian mahogany furniture, their size. Large sideboards are far too big for today’s town house and apartment living and this has shown itself in the downturn of the brown furniture market. However, there are small pieces of Victorian furniture like the music canterbury that transcend modern living and taste and have adapted themselves to modern usage.
The music canterbury was very much a part of the Victorian era where music and performance played an integral part in daily life and entertainment. It was designed with its open partitions to house sheet music and with the piano was the sound system of its day. These often beautifully crafted pieces were usually fitted on castors, pushed underneath or near to the piano when not in use and were pulled out when a member of the family needed to choose a sonata or musical accompaniment to perform for family or guests.
One of the earliest examples of Canterbury was made by the Lancaster cabinet maker Robert Gillow in 1793 whose name is still synonymous with quality antique desks, tables and chairs in Lancashire particularly and elsewhere. The popularity of the canterbury endured through the Regency period and into the Victorian era when music became more generally available, but ran out of favour as a vehicle for sheet music progressively throughout the 20th century with the advent of television, gramophones and other forms of family entertainment. The canterbury however still remains popular as a piece of elegant mobile furniture to house magazines and books.
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