There is no doubt about it that the 18th century saw a revolution in fine furniture being produced in Britain. This in part was due to continental influences where Protestant Huguenot craftsmen had come over to England from France at the end of the 17th century to escape persecution and had brought their skills with them; also the arrival of the Dutch Prince William of Orange and his wife Mary. There were certain new types of furniture that evolved at this time. Among these was the bureau. Initially this was essentially a writing table. However, the carcase or case became the central part in which were placed different sized drawers. The folding down writing flap was placed on top of the drawers and the flap then folded out to form a flat surface on which to write. This original design of desk or bureau still remains popular over 300 years later. On top of these early bureaux, two door cabinets were often fitted to create the bureau bookcase and the doors could be mirrored to help reflect the light down onto the writing flap.
Other pieces that were popular towards the end of the 18th century that were derived from these original pieces of case furniture, were glass fronted china cabinets and corner cabinets, gentlemen’s wardrobes and the very impressive glazed breakfront bookcase. Again all these pieces remain popular today.
Reputable antique dealers can help find genuine items such as antique cabinets, bookcases and period and Victorian antique desks. Preston and the surrounding areas offer many choices of period and revival antique furniture.
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