Pictures of romantic figures such as Lord Byron reclining on lavishly upholstered benches, known as ottomans, did much for these exotic antique chests which became immensely popular during the Victorian era. Although Byron was dead by the time Victoria came to the throne in 1837, the legacy of his poetry, his hedonistic lifestyle and penchant for travel matched in extremely well with the Victorian appetite for everything exotic.
The ottoman therefore was able to reflect Victorian aspirations in many ways. Well upholstered and comfortable furniture was generally coming into vogue anyway during this period, on which men could lounge and women could retire and ottomans could be covered with sumptuous velvets or brocades to match in with suites of furniture. The Victorian smoking room often took on a Turkish or Moorish look so the carpet topped ottoman, together with expansive rugs, was ideally suited. Many were also embroidered in Berlin woolwork, depicting medieval scenes, or coats of arms; other designs had geometric patterns which reinforced their eastern origins. Prior to 1850 lighter fabrics tended to be used but after this period, rich reds, greens and blues were becoming more popular.
Often with ottomans it was the fabric rather than the frame that distinguished it. Most were fairly crudely constructed of pine or oak. The popular Gothic revival style however would often replace side padding on the ottoman with well carved wood panelling.
If you are searching for antique chests in Lancashire , then antique dealers in Preston or elsewhere should be able to help.
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