Education,  General

History of Furniture Styles and Types

There are many, more than a dozen, different Eras of furniture and as many styles of the different eras. The next segments of this blog will be about the different eras and styles of household furniture. We will start with the oldest and work our way to the modern although most popular furniture these days are vintage or antique.

The different eras are:

Elizabethan 1560-1603

Jacobean 1600-1690

Pilgrim 1620-1700

William & Mary 1690-1735

Queen Anne 1700-1755

Pennsylvania Dutch 1720-1830

Louis XVI 1760-1789

Chippendale 1750-1790

Hepplewhite 1780-1810

Federal 1780-1820

Sheraton 1780-1820

American Empire 1800-1840

Victorian 1840-1910

Arts & Craft 1880-1910

Scandinavian Contemporary 1930-1950

The Elizabethan Era

Queen Elizabeth I belonged to the Tudor line of English royalty but played such a magnificent role in her young country’s fortunes that her time is signified by her name rather than her father’s name King Henry VIII. Elizabeth Tudor came to the throne in 1558 and reigned until 1603. The Elizabethan age is most famous for, of course, its theater, hair styles, dress, fashion, music, but today it is the furniture that appeals to designers and collectors.

Elizabethan Furniture

Most Elizabethan furniture, such as Elizabethan chairs, was made of oak and some of the finer pieces were made of walnut, a lighter, less sturdy wood. Walnut furniture in the Elizabethan age was most often placed in the gallery and was often inlaid.

Here are some examples of Elizabethan furniture.

A wooden chair

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A close up of furniture in it

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A table that has some furniture in it

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Elizabethan Furniture Characteristics:

Heavy bulbous tables – bulbous turning often with much carved ornament such as gadrooning, nulling and acanthus leaves.

Tables with 4 or 6 bulbous legs with stretcher rails at the bottom as a footrest to keep feet of the floor rushes.

Melon bulb turning.

Inlaid fruitwood.

Elaborate four poster beds with solid or draped testers to protect from drafts.

Turning was produced using a foot lathe, producing asymmetrical objects.

Court Cupboard – the court cupboard was developed for holding plates and eating utensils. Cupboard space and flat top for serving food. Hardware was handmade and rather conspicuous.

Bible box – the bible box appeared; these were small side chests designed to hold the family bible. They were later made with a sloping top to facilitate writing and reading. They were oak, left natural or finished with oils or beeswax.

Just a quick note: Jacobean furniture are closely related to the Elizabethan furniture as they were both popular because of the similarities, strait lines, ornate carvings and dark finish.

A wooden table

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Elizabethan canopy bed
Furniture in a room

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Jacobean canopy bed


Deborah Wilson April 2020  #nofurnitureleftbehind



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