Dealers in Fine Art and Antiques

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Tudor Period

Henry VII ……….1485 - 1509
Henry VIII……….1509 - 1547
Edward VI……….1547 - 1553
Mary ……………..1553 - 1558
Antique tables often only had trestle supports. Construction was often very crude. Really genuine antique specimens are rare. Linen fold was a favorite design for carved panels. Most of the antique furniture was made of oak, but chestnut, beech and cypress were also used, some of the pieces being painted. The first real advance in making antique furniture was during the reign of Henry VIII who encouraged foreign craftsmen to work in England. The transformation from Gothic influence and Renaissance style began to make head way around 1550.

Elizabethan Period

Elizabeth……….1558 - 1603
(Contemporary French period-Henri IV 1589 - 1610)

Much of the antique furniture made during the reign of Queen Elizabeth is wrongly classified by many as belonging to the Tudor Period. The Gothic influence remained strong and was often manifest in the furniture of the period, drawers were seldom fitted to Elizabethan furniture, more inlay work was produced using box, cherry, ebony, and ivory the work was often coarse and 1/16th of an inch thick. Some of the carved work embodied arabesque designs as well as intricate interlacing strap work copied from the Flemish During the latter part of Elizabeth's reign wooden seats began to be replaced by stuffed seats then called 'cushioned chairs'. The credence or tasting buffet developed into a sideboard and the oak chest into a settle.

Early Stuart or Jacobean, Cromwellian and Late Stuart Period

James 1st 1603 - 1625
Charles 1st 1625 - 1649
Commonwealth 1649 - 1660
Charles II 1660 - 1685
James II 1685 - 1689
(Contemporary French Periods Henri IV, Louis XIII and Louis XIV, 1589-1715)
Antique Gate leg tables are usually associated with Jacobean times; drawers were more in general use. Oak continued to be the main wood in use. Tabletops were often of round or oval shape; the back legs of chairs were nearly always turned. Handles and large scroll hinges of wrought iron "cocks head" design were frequently employed, as were brass drop handles. Mirrors began to take a more prominent place. During the latter part of the 17th century around 1670 The Huguenot silk weavers began to settle in Spitalfields London, beautiful fabrics were produced. Lacquer work imported from the East became fashionable. The massive bulbous leg gave way to simple turnery, vase shaped pillars (sometime fluted) often being seen. Geometric design prevailed; carving was more restrained than hitherto the later chairs were often upholstered in velvet or pigskin with large brass nails. Grandfather clocks were probably first introduced into England during the latter part of this period from Holland and walnut was more generally used at this time. Yorkshire chairs are of this period, cane paneling was extensively employed in Carolean times, barley sugar twist, turned legs and rails, pierced and carved back work to chairs all came to the fore.
Genuine articles show the heads of wooden pegs securing the tenon into the mort ice; original pieces have turned wooden knobs to doors and drawers. Chequer and herringbone inlay work was extensively used bone, ebony, ivory and mother of pearl was extensively used, Marquetry was in considerable use in the later pieces. Antique oak furniture was treated with a dark varnish mixed with oil so that it sank into the wood and did not form a surface polish. Grinling Gibbons work influenced much of the later designs, foreign influence was also much in evidence, workmanship continued to improve.

William and Mary Period

William III and Mary………. 1689-1702
(Contemporary French Period -Louis XIV…..1643 - 1715)
Needlework coverings were extensively used, designs assumed more graceful outlines. "Oyster pieces" were often employed in the veneer work. Dutch and French influence was strongly evident in the designs. Pierced and carved splats were fashionable, often embodied with C scrolls. Oak chestnut and walnut were the woods chiefly used, some pieces were painted black and ornamented with silk. Dutch Marquetry was largely employed, the designs being inlaid into a veneer groundwork and not carved out of the solid as before. The "cabriole leg" made its appearance. Many of the clocks were surmounted by three brass-spiked balls.

Queen Anne Period

Anne 1702-1714
George I 1714-1727
George II (part) 1727 - onwards
(Contemporary French Period Louis XIV & Louis XV)

The Queen Anne style was popular all through the reign of George I and extended well into the reign of George II. Stretcher rails on chairs and settees were now but little employed, herringbone, cross banding and ebony were used in the inlay work. Spiral turned work was much used and the "Windsor" chair was introduced. Generally cabinet making was of a very high standard, fine needlework and damask materials were used for upholstery, Marquetry became more subdued, some gilding was introduced, corner cupboards and interior fittings were often domed, the broken pediment was introduced, the claw and ball (pearl) foot was developed, also the scroll and hoof.

Georgian Period

George II……….1727-1760
George III………1760-1820
(Contemporary French Periods- Louis XV, Louis XVI and Empire 1715-1799)
This important period includes the designs of Chippendale, Adam, Hepplewhite and Sheraton whose designs were of paramount influence. The Dutch influence yielded to the French. The cabriole leg reached it's zenith giving way to the straight tapering leg, claw and ball was to some extent replaced by the lions paw. The charm of mahogany began to be appreciated although walnut was still in extensive use. Oriental lacquer panels were imported from the East lacquered furniture became very fashionable.
The reign of George II saw the greatest change; this is where Chippendale changed the course of English antique furniture. Gilding and veneering was freely used, by now the veneers were much thinner. George I furniture is more or less regarded as being of the Queen Anne period.

Regency Period 1800 - 1830
(Contemporary French Period Napoleon I -Charles X)

"Regency" is a term applied to English antique furniture from 1800 to 1830; it is rather loosely applied, as it does not coincide with the Regency of King George which was from 1811-1820. This period was partly a reflection of the French Empire designs and many of the designs are from the classical. The furniture of this period was more useful and smaller than earlier - this is one of the reasons for its recent revival in popularity. Rosewood was the principal wood used. Metal inlay was extensively used; ormolu and brass being most popular. Among the designers of this period were Henry Holland, George Smith, Thomas Hope, Thomas Sheraton and Gillows. The sofa and sofa table became fashionable.

Victorian Period 1837 - 1901

German influence was discernable in the antique furniture of this period, the style becoming heavier. The fine designs of the 18th century were for a short time forgotten but not the craftsmanship. Mahogany, rosewood and satinwood were used, an 18th century revival occurred, the result being some of the finest furniture ever made was produced, Pride in craftsmanship was paramount and nineteenth century makers vied with each other to produce the very best. Gillows, Holland, Morell & Seddon. Lamb, Wright & Mansfield and others used the best materials available to proudly produce furniture fit for The Kings, Queens, Emperors, the Aristocracy and Gentlemen of The World. All previous knowledge and style was employed, honed and developed to greater effect. England was confident enough to throw her doors open to the whole world, "The Great Exhibition of the Works of all Nations 1851 held in London was the first of its kind not to restrict any Nation such was our prowess at that time that England and her Commonwealth took over half of the space available, in1862 we did it again! We will never see the like again; 19th century furniture was amongst the best ever made.
French Rulers
Louis XIV 1643-1715
Louis XV 1715-1754
Louis XVI 1754-1789
The Directorate 1789-1799
First Consul 1799-1804
Napoleon I 1804-1815 First Empire
Louis XVIII 1815-1824
Charles X 1824-1830
Louis Philippe 1830-1848
Louis Napoleon 1848-1852 President
Louis Napoleon III 1852-1871 Second Empire

Acacia - A dull yellow-coloured hardwood with brownish markings, was occasionally used for antique inlay work towards the end of the 18th century. It is strong and durable.

Alder - A wood sometimes used in making antique chairs of common variety; it grows in England on swampy ground and is of orange yellow colour. The bark is used for dyeing.

Amaranth - see Purple Heart.

Amboyna - A West Indian wood of yellowish-brown colour, mottled with "bird's-eye" figurings, used to veneer whole surfaces such as antique table tops, and also for inlay and marquetry.

Apple - A heavy hardwood, reddish-brown in colour, with straight grain, used as a veneer and inlay for antique furniture.

Ash - A tough white wood largely used for making antique furniture, particularly chairs; it has light-brown markings and closely resembles oak in appearance and texture.

Beech - A wood much used in making articles of antique furniture, chairs being the most favored; also used for other antique articles that are afterwards painted. It is of brownish white colour, hard and solid, and has a speckled grain.

Birch - A wood once much preferred for the construction of antique bedroom furniture; when polished it closely resembles satinwood, but is of a somewhat lighter colour with a fine wave-like grain. It is a hardwood and retains its arris.

Black Bean - A richly marked Australian hardwood of rich golden colour, much used for antique panels and high-class joinery work.

Blackwood - A general title given to numerous hardwoods found in both the East and West Indies. They are all heavy, hard a decorative, and in colour range from dark brown to purplish.

Bog Oak - Oak, which has been preserved in peat, bogs, black in colour.

Box - A very hard, extremely heavy wood of pale bellow colour, with a fine regular texture, used for making flutes, etc., also for wood-engraving, the lines being as sharp as those produced on a metal plate.

Brazil Wood - A hard, heavy wood resembling mahogany, used as an antique inlay.

Calamander - A very hard wood from East India. It is hazel-brown in colour with black streaks, and was much used for making small articles of antique furniture.

Camphorwood - A wood similar to mahogany both in colour and texture, obtained from Borneo and Kenya. Antique linen and blanket chests are made, or lined with it because of its moth-resisting properties.

Canary Wood - A species of mahogany of a light yellow colour, much used for antique veneers and inlay work.

Cedar - A light, soft brown wood with straight grain but little used in antique cabinet work owing to its poor quality; it is, however, sometimes employed for drawers, linings, etc., owning to its possessing a delicate fragrance which also acts as a deterrent to insects' it is little affected by changes in temperature.

Cherry - A hardwood with reddish close grain; used for small antique articles and inlay.

Chestnut - A hard, durable white wood, somewhat resembling oak, but when polished it is not unlike satinwood; it was often used for antique rails and spars of antique chairs.

Circassian Walnut - A beautifully figures walnut used for antique veneers and obtained from Southern Europe.

Coromandel - A variety of calamander wood; much used for making antique furniture, particularly small articles such as antique writing boxes. It is hazel-brown in colour with black streaks, hard and durable and imported from the East Indies.

Cypress - A strong durable timber used in antique joinery; it has a fine, durable grain and is of a yellowish colour with reddish markings.

Deal - A general name given to the wood of fir and pine tress, straight grained, easily worked.

Degame Wood - A hardwood found in the West Indies, used for decorative purposes; it is light yellow in colour.

Ebony - A hard, close-grained wood, heavier than water, of deep black colour with dark green and brown stripes; principally used for antique veneers, but sometimes for antique articles of furniture and antique ornamental items.

Elm - A hard, compact, durable wood of light colour with pronounced grain, largely used for making antique kitchen chairs, etc.

Hare-Wood or Hair-Wood - A green-grey stained veneer of sycamore frequently used by antique cabinetmakers in the late 18th century.

Hickory - A heavy, strong tenacious wood, much used for antique carriage shafts, whip handles, antique gun stocks, etc; it has been very little used for antique furniture, being peculiarly liable to damage by worms, heat and moisture.

Holly - An ivory white, hard, fine-grained wood, with a small spotted grain, largely used for antique veneer work, in which it is some times dyed various colours.

Kauri - a light yellow straight-grained wood from New Zealand, used for bentwood work.

Kingwood - A Brazilian wood much used for antique veneer and antique inlay work; it is similar to rosewood but lighter in colour and more heavily marked in a violet shade; often used for ‘z’ bandings on satinwood veneer.

Laburnum - A hard fine-grained wood considerably used towards the end of the 17th century for antique veneers, antique inlay work, antique knife handles, etc; the colours vary considerably and are sometimes almost dark green with brown markings, and sometimes dark brown.

Larch - A tough, durable, straight-grained wood free from knots.

Lignum Vitae - A very hard, tough, close-grained wood of dark greenish-brown colour, imported from Jamaica; used for antique veneering, particularly in the 17th century, also for making antique pulleys, balls, pestles, etc.

Lime - A light, soft, but tough and durable white wood, free from knots and cross grain, much used by antique carvers.

Mahogany - The quality of mahogany varies considerably, some varieties being hard and others soft, but it is probably the most stable of woods when seasoned. The hard variety, known as "Spanish" mahogany, was generally used for antiques in England from the early 18th century. It was obtained from Jamaica, Cuba and San Domingo. Honduras mahogany is lighter in colour and softer and was much used from the late 18th century.

Maple - A compact, fine-grained white wood much employed for antique inlay and marquetry work. The famous "birds-eye" maple is obtained from the sugar maple tree; its wood is often used for antique panels, antique inlay work and picture frames and when polished is of a rich golden-brown colour, with a satiny appearance somewhat resembling sycamore.

Oak - Famous for its strength and durability. In general use for the making of antique furniture until the late 17th century. Subsequently its use was restricted to the antique carcase portions of fine veneered furniture, although it continues to be generally employed for simpler, antique country furniture.

Olive Wood - Of a greenish yellow colour with black cloudy spots and veins; often used for antique veneering and small antique ornamental articles; some bearing an inscription in Jewish characters, as travel mementoes.

Padouk - An Australian hard wood, resembles rosewood, greyer in colour.

Palisander - See Purple Heart.

Pear - A white, fairly soft, durable wood; the red pine or deal is the wood most universally used in the construction of houses, antique cheap furniture, etc.

Pitch Pine - A variety of wood imported from the United States; it is hard and of yellowish colour with brown streaks; it is not very extensively used in making antique furniture.

Plane - A white close-grained wood often used as a substitute for beech.

Plum- A heavy yellow to reddish brown wood used as inlay.

Pollard Oak and Walnut - The wood of oak and walnut trees that have been polled, cut at the top to give a bushier head. The process alters the grain.

Purple Heart, Amaranth or Palisander- A strong, durable close-grained hardwood obtained from British Guiana. Its colour varies from dark-brown to purplish-violet, with a wavy grain and distinct markings. It is used for antique veneers and other decorative purposes.

Rosewood - A hard-wood imported from India; it somewhat resembles mahogany in general appearance; the colours vary from a light to almost blackish brown, marked with streaks of dark red and black. It was chiefly used for antique veneer and antique inlay work, but during the first half of the 19th century articles were made up entirely from it. When cut it yields an agreeable smell of roses, from which it derives its name.

Sandalwood- A compact, fine-grained wood, remarkable for its fragrance, which is much disliked by insects. The wood is therefore useful in making antique workboxes and similar articles. It is imported from the East Indies, and is of a greenish-yellow colour.

Satin Walnut - The English name for American Gum; a light brown sometimes with black stripe markings, used for inexpensive antique bedroom furniture.

Satinwood – A hard, close-grained, heavy wood of yellow colour varying to a golden hue; some varieties have no markings and are quite plain, others have a distinct rippled figure, and were extensively used for antique furniture making by Adam, Hepplewhite and Sheraton. It is imported from Africa and the West Indies.

Snakewood - A rare, very hard heavy wood of yellow colour, beautifully mottled with deep brown marks, arranged regularly and bearing a slight resemblance to the markings of a snake; its scarcity makes it valuable and it is used only on very fine antique inlay work. It is obtained from Guiana.

Sycamore- A species of maple, hard and even-grained; in its natural state is of a light yellowish colour, possesses a fine "fiddleback" grain, although it is sometimes found without markings. It is often stained to a greenish grey shade, and in this state is used for veneering whole antique suites of furniture, when it is sometimes called greywood.

Teak - A heavy, very hard wood of reddish brown colour extensively used for shipbuilding; it is used for making antique furniture, sinks, etc.

Thuya - A wood occasionally used for antique inlay work, it is of a golden brown colour, figures with small "birds'-eyes" in a halo or circle.

Tulipwood - A hardwood of yellowish colour with reddish stripes; it is usually cut across the grain and used in antique veneers for banding. It loses its lustre on exposure.

Walnut - A fairly hard fine-grained wood of rich brown colour, veined and shaded with darker brown and black. Considerably used in the making of antique furniture, particularly of the Queen Anne period. English walnut is usually distinguishable by its rich golden-brown colour and straight grain, foreign varieties being of a darker colour.

Yew - A very hard, tough, pliable wood of orange red or dark brown colour, formerly much used for making bows and the backs of antique Windsor chairs.

Zebra Wood - Occasionally used for antique inlay and antique veneer work; it has pronounced markings of brown stripes on a light brown ground.