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

Recent News: Victorian Furniture

Source: Google News

Joe Rosson: Arts and Crafts chair best left unaltered
Knoxville News Sentinel, July 27th

What can you tell me about my chair? The Arts and Crafts Movement started in England as a reaction against Victorian furniture and decoration, particularly the eclecticism of design and the movement away from craftsmanship in favor of industrial...Read more

Faith calendar
HeraldNet, July 26th

The next event at which to buy raffle tickets is at Gold Bar's Gold Dust Days, which continues through Sunday. The three-story, 18th-century-style doll house features a shake-covered roof and turret, operational windows and doors, and Victorian furniture...Read more

The Barkers put their hearts into Old Martin Farm Antiques
The Altamont Enterprise, July 24th

Both Barkers like to collect advertising and old toys, as well as country and Victorian furniture. And each has developed special interests. Mrs. Barkers collects Sunbonnet Babies and dollhouses. The couple recently went to an auction run by Noel...Read more

Isaac Bashevis Singer: More Than 'Just a Writer'
Jspace News, July 24th

In addition to hundreds of books and a large television set, it is furnished with the kind of pseudo-Victorian furniture typical of the comfortable homes of Brooklyn and the Bronx in the 1930s.” There, the magazine continued, “Singer works at a small...Read more

The return of Liberace
Las Vegas Weekly, July 24th

The camera pans along the statues, the Victorian furniture, the pianos and chandeliers, eventually catching Liberace in an opulent bathtub, chasing bubbles in gaiety. Finally, in a jeweled tuxedo, he bids farewell to his dogs, slides into his fur...Read more

Everything's for sale at auction in 1898 Victorian house at Roseville
The Daily Telegraph, July 21st

“There's quite a bit of Victorian furniture, Victorian effects or furnishings, plus some interesting Oriental items, which are very strong at the moment. This 1898 Victorian property at Roseville is being demolished. An everything-must-go. The owners...Read more

The Full Story:
EcommWire (press release), July 21st

ABERDEEN, Miss. – Quality antique items from three prominent area estates – to include Federal, Empire and Victorian furniture, original works of art, hand-made Persian rugs, antique clocks, china, rare lighting and hundreds of collectibles – will all...Read more

Infinity Custom Furniture
Community Impact Newspaper, July 9th

The couple designs everything from Victorian furniture to more modern pieces, and even offers a few less expensive pine-based products in-store. “It used to be 10 years ago, the nature of the business was 85 percent Victorian design or French,” Moe said...Read more