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”)
George Hunzinger Furniture
Index of American Design
Buffalo Architecture and History
The Scrap Album
Stevengraphs Bookmarks and Postcards
Kentucky Online Arts Resource
Other Great Reference Sites
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Victorian Furniture
Source: Google News
Henry VII's four-poster bed dumped in Chester car park and sold for £2200Daily Mail, April 1st
Meanwhile, scribblings in a Victorian furniture restorer's diary suggested that the bed was at Lathom when it was damaged during a siege in 1644. Mr Foyle said he had proved that the item was not the work of Victorian revivalists by reflecting on the...Read more
Mendham Rotary Club annual antiques show, sale April 18-19New Jersey Hills, March 31st
The show offers a wide range of items from automobile collectibles from late 1800's through early 1900's, early American and Victorian furniture, Lionel trains, stoneware, rare books and prints, 19th century vintage prints, porcelain, jewelry, Majolica...Read more
Hotel Tivoli: An Artists' Escape in the Hudson ValleyCondé Nast Traveler, March 31st
Out went all the dark Victorian furniture; in came lipstick-red chairs, vintage Murano glass chandeliers, bold carpets, plush pink sofas, an elegant bar, and of course art by the owners and their friends, including Robert Rauschenberg and Francesco...Read more
"Focus on your dreams...they go beyond common sense". We spoke to Anna Sui ...Bath Chronicle, March 30th
The following year she opened her first flagship store on Greene Street in Soho. The boutique's vibrant mix of black Victorian furniture, purple walls, Papier-mâché dollyheads and rock 'n' roll posters closely reflected Anna's personal decorating style...Read more
What goes around: The art of framingChristie's, March 26th
He also embarked on an investigation into how the National Gallery's 19th-century directors had set about the business of framing, much, he says, to the puzzlement of many colleagues: 'It was respectable to be interested in Victorian furniture 30 years...Read more
Off the Map: Wilder Museum a 'special treasure'The Gazette: Eastern Iowa Breaking News and Headlines, March 22nd
In 1980, the Alderson addition was erected to house a collection of Victorian furniture and glass from Strawberry Point resident Marcey Alderson. “He collected the best of the best,” Formo said. The Victorian furniture is pristine and showcases...Read more
Community GardeningMaine Antique Digest, March 9th
Cultivating, in short, means growing something. Growing things—from gardens to kids to collectors—is about gentle encouragement, and encouragement means, at its very least, finding something positive to do or say. Don't like Victorian furniture? It's...Read more
New Ownership and Strong Victorian Sales for FarmerMaine Antique Digest, March 3rd
The high lot of the sale came from a category that we are now beginning to see come to life—Victorian furniture. A John Henry Belter parlor table with its original marble turtle top sold for $29,900 (includes buyer's premium) against a presale...Read more