The lighter, late 18th century English Neo-classical furniture, designed by Sheraton was now being eclipsed in favour of generally heavier made furniture. Designers such as Thomas Hope and George Smith, influenced by the architectural qualities of French decorators such as Fontaine and Percier, were producing much heavier pieces than those made by Sheraton a few years earlier.
Rosewood was now replacing satinwood, very popular during the Neo-classical period, although mahogany still remained popular and French brass inlay boulle work also came back into fashion. These heavier Neo-classical forms remained in vogue for the first quarter of the 19th century until they began to compete with revivals of historicist styles such as Jacobean and Gothic. The French Rococo or ‘Louis Quatorze style’ also made a revival during this period but these new 19th century pieces were hybrids of earlier period pieces and, by Victoria’s reign, the flowing naturalistic lines of the rococo formed part of altogether much larger pieces of furniture. An early Victorian favourite was the credenza, a fine display cabinet, which could be serpentine in shape, made of walnut, decorated with boulle work and often mirrored inside.
Reactions against these weightier hybrid revivals came from designers such as Pugin (who was responsible for decorating the Houses of Parliament) who favoured a return to Gothic ideals, and later in the century William Morris who helped to initiate the Arts and Crafts furniture Movement and who objected to mass produced furniture generally. Sheraton styling did come back into fashion just before the end of the 19th century and furniture producers like Maples were also recreating Chippendale’s designs. Both Sheraton and Chippendale’s designs remain popular to this day.
If looking for a fine example of an early 19th century antique cabinet in Preston , local antiques dealers may have an early Victorian credenza in stock to show you.
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