Victorian antique furniture refers to pieces made during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901), and includes both mass produced pieces and those hand crafted in small shops by designers such as Herter Brothers, Allen and Brother, Merklen Brothers, John Henry Belter, Alexander Roux and R.J. Horner.

Although some designers like George Hunzinger put labels or stamps on all their furniture, many did not, so attributing a Victorian piece conclusively can require lots of research. In terms of wood, walnut is generally inferior to rosewood, which was used on higher end pieces.

There are many, and very different, Victorian furniture styles. In fact, famous Victorian designer Charles Eastlake himself hated Rococo, which is mid 1850s Victorian. Here are some of the main Victorian styles:

1) Gothic Revival (circa 1830-1860). Think churches and you have a good feel for this furniture style - design elements such as arches, quatrefoils, trefoils, spires, and crockets.

2) Rococo Revival (c. 1840-1865). High-style furniture of French influence marked by use of naturalistic flora (flowers, shells) and fruit as well as C-scrolls and S-scrolls, and highly sinewy curved lines.. Early pieces may have used mahogany, but common Rococo often used Walnut, while the top-end leveraged Rosewood.

3) Renaissance Revival (c. 1860-1890). Reverses the feminine elegance of Rococo around the time of the Civil War by espousing masculine arches, cartouches, animal and human figures, inlaid panels, burl panels, gilt incising, and ormulu mounts. Subgenres include Egyptian Revival, Modern Gothic, and Neo-Grec.

4) Eastlake and Aesthetic Movement (c. 1880-1900). Moving away from the showy complicated designs of prior eras, this furniture has stylized natural elements (flowers, leaves), rectangular forms and severe lines, shallow incisings and turnings. On finer pieces, marquetry, inlay and veneering can also be found.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Rare Victorian

Rare Victorian

John Werry's in-depth blog on rare Victorian Furniture, with detailed, informative and often humorous posts on doze… [read review or visit site]

George Hunzinger Furniture

George Hunzinger Furniture

Scott Geyer's blog on the innovative Victorian furniture designs of George Jacob Hunzinger, who began manufacturing… [read review or visit site]

Index of American Design

Index of American Design

The Index of American Design project (1935-1942) was an effort to catalog American decorative arts objects from the… [read review or visit site]

Buffalo Architecture and History

Buffalo Architecture and History

Chuck LaChiusa's wonderful guide to the architecture and history of Buffalo, NY, also happens to host an impressive… [read review or visit site]

The Scrap Album

The Scrap Album

Malcolm Warrington’s The Scrap Album is a handsomely organized site, as you’d expect from an articulate champio… [read review or visit site]

Chipstone

Chipstone

This beautiful site showcases the collection of Stanley and Polly Stone of Fox Point, Wisconsin, consisting of earl… [read review or visit site]

Stevengraphs Bookmarks and Postcards

Stevengraphs Bookmarks and Postcards

Malcolm Roebuck's tribute to the ornate silk picture bookmarks and postcards ('Stevengraphs') produced by Thomas St… [read review or visit site]

Kentucky Online Arts Resource

Kentucky Online Arts Resource

This huge online database from the Speed Art Museum is a rich trove of beautiful photos and reference information o… [read review or visit site]



Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Tiger Oak Victorian Architectural Columns Ornate Carved Fireplace Capital Stands19thc Antique Victorian Era Hoof Footed Wood Carved Pedestal Smoking Plant StandRare Antique Victorian Bronzed Greyhound Desk Barometer Circa 1895Petite Antique Victorian Salesman Sample Miniature Wood Carved Piano Organ StoolAntique Victorian Figural Ram Head Brass Mercury Statue Old Plant Pedestal StandGothic Clovers Tiger Oak Church Panels Victorian Cabinet Doors Library PedimentsStick & Ball Furniture Brackets Tiger Oak Victorian Wall Shelf Corbels Bookends!Fine Carved French Antique Victorian C1900's Oak Coat Rack Shelf Wth MirrorRare Victorian Vaseline Glass Light Shade Circa 18903 Eastlake Spoon Carved Architectural Panels Ornate Walnut Victorian PlaquesVictorian Burl Walnut Dresser Drawer Front Coat Hat Rack Cast Iron Acorn HooksHuge! Walnut? Shelf Corbels Eastlake Spoon Carved Victorian Furniture Brackets Stunning Rare Victorian Rosewood Sewing Table Cabinet Writing Slope Jewellerybox18th Century Victorian Style Chaise LoungeAntique Victorian SideboardPr Architectural Tiger Oak Church Panels Gothic Beveled Gilt Victorian Pew EndsVictorian Ornate Antique Brass Lion Head Foot Coat Hat Rack Hall Tree StandAntique Victorian Gingerbread Oak Fretwork Archway Wooden Spindles Lot Of 50Antique East Lake Victorian Cherry Towel Bar Rack W/ Mirror No Reserve!!!Antique Burl Walnut Victorian Secretary Roll Desk BookcaseAntique~victorian Art Nouveau~cast Iron/gold Foot Stool Ottoman Parlor FootstoolVictorian Quartersawn Oak Cylinder Roll Music CabinetAntique Victorian Mohagany? Wood Dresser Top Shaving Mirror & Box W/ 2 DrawersAntique Americana Victorian 1800s Upholstered Walnut Stool Carving Decorated 1870 Renaissance Victorian Hall TreeAntique Victorian Mahogany Footstool Neoclassical Federal Style Needlepoint TopAntique 19th C Victorian Miniature Wooden Chest Of Drawers Ornate Victorian Chair UnrestoredVintage Victorian Wood Highchair SeatVictorian In TableVictorian Antique Oak Fern Stand Plant TableFrench Carved Antique Louis Style Stool / Victorian C1900's - Naughty Step?Antique Victorian Washstand Marble Top And Back Splash Oak All Original Nice!Vintage Victorian Wicker Rocking Chair Antique Rocker

Recent News: Victorian Furniture

Source: Google News

2014 Ryder Cup: Golf embodies Scots temperament
Scotsman, September 21st

“So we haunted the lane sales and junk shops and bought Victorian furniture for practically nothing. Then, one day, mooching about in the sale down at the bottom of Dundas Street, I spied an old bag of golf clubs…” Baird noticed that these clubs were...Read more

Portraying an Urban Story, The Nostalgic Way
The New Indian Express, September 19th

He ventures into an old furniture factory and uncovers the love story of old ebony couches, stately teak wood chairs and elegant Victorian furniture. His photographs are imbued with emotions as they evoke the nostalgia of visits to ancestral homes...Read more

Buntport blends tapestry of stories in comic Naught Bits
North Denver Tribune, September 18th

The set is simple, with elegant Victorian furniture appropriate for Lansdowne House, and a nice 1950s-era slide projector and screen. The lighting is a key element to this production, with different colors for each of the three stories helping to...Read more

Sarah Waters muses on class and identity in The Paying Guests
A.V. Club, September 14th

are now reduced to jobless, homeless civilians. Even Frances' father is wrapped up in the Wrays' (and the country's) frutiless search for integrity, his expensive Victorian furniture all appraised as worthless knock-offs after his death. Ultimately...Read more

Antiques Considered - September 10, 2014
Journal Press - King George, September 10th

Victorian furniture is down at the present time. This table is a good example of its genre, but its market is more limited than it might have been 30 years ago. It dates from 1850, and most likely is of Mid-Atlantic origin, as it is typical of the...Read more

Antiques Considered - September 3, 2014
Journal Press - King George, September 2nd

The overall market for Victorian furniture is low at the present time, but by shortening the table, the possibility of ever selling it to a purist has ceased to exist. In its original condition today the table would be worth $350., but cut down the...Read more

Jasper County's Victorian House
Newton Daily News, September 2nd

Victorian furniture was inspired by earlier designs and was marked by exaggerated ornamentation. Of special interest in those forms, heavy as they are, is the certain grace and charm of Victorian coziness that they possess. The 1900 home in Jasper...Read more

Jerry Davich: Working man's reality embraces time on the job
Post-Tribune, August 31st

The couple specialize in repurposing original Victorian furniture items by giving them a more modern look. They now do shows throughout the tri-state region while attending college, home-schooling two young kids and picking through old barns and estate ...Read more