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 Beehive Spindle Doorway Fretwork Panel Victorian Pediment Stick & BallMint! 1800s Oak Victorian Furniture Pediment Eastlake Cabinet Backsplash CrestAntique Victorian Oak Brass Bound Stick StandEastlake Spoon Carved Flower Furniture Pediment Victorian Walnut Panel Coat RackWalnut Victorian Display Shelf? Furniture Pediment Valance Mantle Clock HolderAcanthus Carving! Walnut Oak Victorian Trim Ornate Cabinet Plinth Molding GothicVery Pretty Frilly Vaseline Victorian Art Nouveau Wall LightAntique Victorian Carved Rosewood Red Velvet Heart Parlor Vanity Chair Rare 4 Fluted Tapered Walnut Columns Victorian Fireplace Posts Cabinet Furniture LegsAntique Victorian Ornate Walnut 2-piece Bedroom Set With MarbleCoolest Antique Victorian Platform Rocker Recliner Footstool Rocking Chair 1880 Antique Steamer Trunk Vintage Victorian Ornate Tin & Wood Travel ChestMint 1800s Carved Victorian Furniture Pediment Burl Walnut Plaque Desk Door TrimAntique Eastlake Victorian Baby Crib RareCharles Parker Organ Piano Stool Adjustable Seat Antique Victorian Claw FeetAntique Victorian Adjustable Swivel Piano Stool Seatwith Glass Eagle Claw FeetGorgeous Victorian Era Sofa Carved Walnut With Medallion Back - Original Finish Authentic Antique Victorian 1900's Brown Tea Cart With Glass Serving Tray.Antique Small Victorian Crain BucketVictorian Solid Oak Architectural Carving Of Woman Antique Victorian Eastlake ChairsAntique Vintage Shoe Store Salesman's Fitting Stool Wooden Bench VictorianVictorian Footstool-petite-tapestry-51/2" Tall-sweetFine Victorian Antique Ladies Portable Lap / Writing Desk Victorian Minature Dresser Cups...no Reserve... Chair Late 19th Century 1800-1899 Victorian.

Recent News: Victorian Furniture

Source: Google News

"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

Elegant pipe made of meerschaum
Waterloo Record, March 28th

Victorian furniture has dropped dramatically in value since 2008, but that doesn't change the fact that you have a terrific piece of family history and a very nice chair. Its value is about $250. John Sewell is an antiques and fine art appraiser. To...Read more

What goes around: The art of framing
Christie'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

Deal lets historic Dalnavert House reopen doors to public
Winnipeg Free Press, March 17th

They travelled across the country and even to England gathering Victorian furniture, including buying custom-made wallpaper in England. Richardson has been the museum's anonymous benefactor ever since, providing annual grants of up to six figures in ...Read more

Community Gardening
Maine 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

Drawing # 1: Two Night stay at the Carriage House Bed & Breakfast in Historic ...
Red River Radio, March 4th

William Perry Room is decorated with historic pictures of Jefferson, and exquisite Eastlake Victorian furniture. The marble topped dresser, washstand, and magnificent headboard are relics of an era gone by. A lovely teardrop chandelier compliments the...Read more

New Ownership and Strong Victorian Sales for Farmer
Maine 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