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
2014 Ryder Cup: Golf embodies Scots temperamentScotsman, 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 WayThe 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 BitsNorth 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 GuestsA.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, 2014Journal 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, 2014Journal 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 HouseNewton 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 jobPost-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