Charles II was restored to the English monarchy in 1660 and back with him after his enforced exile in France during the English Civil War came many French influences on furniture design. London fashions in furniture particularly shook off the austerity of the Cromwellian era although much country furniture continued to be made in the traditional way.
Also after the Great Fire of London wealthy patrons were being persuaded by English craftsmen to buy new designs rather than old. Walnut started to become popular as the wood of choice for fancy veneers and barley sugar twist legs. Cane was introduced into chair backs and seats and chairs generally became taller and narrower with arched cresting rails which were often elaborately carved. Many of these chairs were also now being made in sets. The barley sugar twist was soon being made on a lathe and the leg also became popular for supporting chests and cabinets.
Grinling Gibbons (1648-1720) was a famous designer of this period and benefited from royal patronage. Prized examples of his architectural work and furniture remain today and his heavily carved wooden flower garlands and birds are technically superb. Like other great designers however, much work attributed to him was actually carried out by other carvers under his guidance.
Other innovations such as embroidery or ‘crewel work’, heavily veneered marquetry chests of drawers, diagonal stretchers, and the cabinet on a stand where heavily lacquered Chinese cabinets would be placed on European stands in the Louis XIV style, were all introduced during this period.
Restoration antique furniture is difficult to come by. However when looking for period and revival antique chests and antique cabinets, Lancashire dealers will be able to source them for you.
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