English furniture was predominantly made of oak up until the 1750s when walnut became the fashionable wood of choice. The dense texture of oak meant that it was ideal for carving and much early furniture was heavily decorated. Gothic styling was flourishing in Europe from the 12th century until the Italian Renaissance began to take hold from the 15th century onwards. Thus the Gothic arch gave way to the Renaissance columns. The term ‘Gothic’ used for this earlier furniture was almost an insult initially where the Goths were regarded as 6th century savages. However the term is now used to describe some of our most beautiful cathedrals and Gothic styling remains popular today.
Much early Gothic furniture comes from churches rather than the home where not much domestic furniture survives before 1500. Like the churches this early antique furniture came from, it was highly decorated, coloured and gilded, arched and carved with flowers and foliage. ‘Linenfold’ or parchment fold design also became popular during this time and can be seen along the sides of early oak chests. Some 17th century copies of these chests can also be found.
Other finely carved refectory tables on bulbous leg supports, buffet sideboards, elaborately carved armchairs, four poster beds and gateleg tables from the 16th and 17th centuries have all survived although good examples are costly and rare. Gothic arch features were used by Chippendale and others during the later part of the 18th century and there was a full blown Gothic revival during the later Victorian period where much of this furniture survives in good order.
When looking for period and revival early oak antique dining tables , Cumbria dealers will be able to help you find some good examples.
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