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.
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Construction workers raise the roof for Bingley Music LiveBradford Telegraph and Argus, August 26th
A team of 50 workers have been involved in the building of the two stages, catering tents, toilet facilities and a luxurious canvas "Green Room" for visiting stars, complete with leather Chesterfields and Victorian furniture. "My only slight anxiety is...Read more
Searching for 'Anne of Green Gables' on Prince Edward IslandNew York Times, August 21st
The house's reconstructed rooms reflect the book with faithful accuracy, decorated in stiff Victorian furniture and scattered with details easily recognizable by fans: a black lace shawl spread across Marilla's bed; a brown, puffed-sleeve dress hung on...Read more
Bygones: Grandfather got a dressing-down after trying to fight the Boers aged 15Derby Telegraph, August 15th
The house was dark, cold and foreboding, with wide corridors along which were scattered huge pieces of black Victorian furniture. It would have been a good setting for a spooky film or a creepy novel. My Auntie Irene matched the house as far as I was ...Read more
Hell Is Just... Other People: 'No Exit' at the Long Beach PlayhouseLong Beach Post, August 13th
The play opens on an empty room. Inside, there is a window without a pane or view, an abstract sculpture, a table with a letter opener upon it (hello Chekhov) and three items of miss-matched Victorian furniture that can be sat upon. Upstage there is a...Read more
Massachusetts historical group exhibit antique toolsChristian Davies Antiques (blog), August 13th
The antique apparatus include an early hand drill, a wagon jack, and some ice skates. While some many consider that we live in a wasteful society, antique pieces, such as late Victorian furniture, remain popular as part of home furnishings. Preston is...Read more
Q&A With Mary Helen Bowers, Esther Gauthier and Taryn ToomeyWall Street Journal, August 11th
After dancing with the prestigious New York City Ballet for a decade, Mary Helen Bowers took her final bow in order to pursue a bachelor's degree in English literature at Columbia University. While there, the Charlotte, North Carolina, native searched...Read more
Devil in the detailThe Construction Index, August 8th
This long, narrow building once also housed the GWR laboratories which carried out materials testing and analysis for the whole site. Much of the original Victorian furniture, including sinks, taps and benches, remains in good condition and will be re...Read more
Berry Hill: Grand plantation restored to former gloryGoDanRiver.com, August 2nd
Walking through the mansion, one cannot help but notice the massive windows that flood the rooms with natural light illuminating the mahogany and walnut Victorian furniture. “The windows were designed by the same architect that designed the windows in ...Read more