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European, English, American and Australian furniture plus lights and lamps

Furniture – English – Pre-Victorian (to 1830)

Furniture – English – Tudor (1485 – 1602) The increasing wealth in Europe following the Renaissance (from 1450) and exploration of the New World was reflected in the furniture in English homes from the reign of Henry V111. Prior to that time, furniture consisted of simple wooden benches, boxes of various sizes used as chairs, […]  Continue Reading »

English Furniture – Victorian (1830-1901)

With the burgeoning Industrial Revolution, machine-made furniture replaced hand-made. In the 1830’s machines were invented to cut veneer and to press designs, which would previously been carved, into timber. At the same time, improved transportation meant that a wide variety of imported timbers, including mahogany, rosewood, teak and ebony, become available, As a result the […]  Continue Reading »

European Furniture – Pre-Victorian (to 1830)

Gothic Furniture (1200 – 1425) The great cathedrals of the Gothic period were expressions of a new affluence but their interiors contained simple functional, oak furniture. Late in the Gothic period, carved decoration echoing the arched shapes of Gothic architecture appeared. All houses in the Middle Ages were damp and furniture needed to be raised […]  Continue Reading »

European Furniture – Biedermeier (1815 – 1860)

Empire style furniture (and Regency in England) was largely made for the aristocracy. But the period after the Napoleonic period in the Austro-Hungarian Empire saw the rise of the middle classes, culminating in a series of revolutions in 1848. The style of furniture developed for the newly influential middle class became known as “Biedermeier” (originally […]  Continue Reading »

European Furniture – 19th Century Eclectic (1830 – 1870)

The 19th century saw a variety of styles. Concurrently with the Empire style of the early 19th century was the Gothic Revival which was based on the idea that the Greek and Roman forms of the neo-classical furniture were pagan. The Gothic Revival, therefore, replaced the classical decoration with Gothic architectural elements while keeping the […]  Continue Reading »

American Furniture – early (to 1760)

Jacobean Furniture (1600 – 1700) The first furniture made in North America was modelled on the English furniture brought by the early settlers. The furniture was simple and straightforward but well proportioned and often had a great deal of flat carved decoration. The most commonly used wood was oak but pine and maple were also […]  Continue Reading »

American Furniture – Chippendale (1760 – 1785)

In America. the term “Chippendale” is used to refer to any Georgian furniture with European characteristics, not just the rococo decoration which Thomas Chippendale promoted. American Chippendale furniture is less grand and less lavishly decorated but more elegant than English. Its decoration style can be Gothic, Chinese or French. It is usually made from mahogany. […]  Continue Reading »

American Furniture – Hepplewhite/Sheraton (1790 – 1815)

Because of the American Revolutionary War, Thomas Adam’s neo-classical style of furniture never reached America and the Hepplewhite and Sheraton styles both arrived at about the same time. As a result, the two English styles tended to be mixed in America in a style sometimes called “Federal”. The prevailing forms were straight lines, rectangular forms […]  Continue Reading »

American Furniture – Empire (1815 – 1860)

As a result of the War of 1812 between the United States and England, Americans rejected the English Regency style and, instead, followed the French Empire style. As in France, this was bulky furniture with showy use of mahogany and rosewood veneers. But, unlike the French, American Empire made little use of Classical and Egyptian […]  Continue Reading »

American Furniture – Victorian (1840 – 1910)

As in Europe, the Victorian period in America saw an eclectic mix of revivals of past styles, including French, Gothic, Renaissance and Classical styles. No one style lasted throughout the Victorian period but several were in vogue at any given time. Often different styles were used for different rooms in one house; for example, a […]  Continue Reading »

American Furniture – Mission (1900 – 1920)

Furniture made of oak with simple lines and minimal embellishment was extremely popular in America during the first quarter of the 20th century. The style was called “mission” because it was based on furniture found in the Franciscan missions in California. Mission furniture has simple, straight lines and no ornate carving. It usually has squared “marlborough […]  Continue Reading »

Australian Furniture – Settlement & Colonial (1788 – 1850)

By the early 1830s, Australia’s white population (including convicts) was still only about 60,000. So any items from this time are rare and important remnants of Australia’s early colonial period. Pieces were usually made to individual order, often based on a proven pattern from the English Georgian period designers. Most items were made of cedar, […]  Continue Reading »

Australian Furniture – Victorian (1850 – 1900)

As a result of the gold rushes of the 1850s, Australia’s population soared to about a million by 1865. The new wealth created a demand for larger and more ornate furniture with large bookcases and telescopic extending dining tables. Carving and fretwork was common but the quality of workmanship suffered somewhat under the pressure to […]  Continue Reading »

Australian Furniture – Federation (1900 – 1910)

The trend to simpler, squarer and more easily manufactured pieces continued into the 20th century. Cedar was becoming scarce and was rarely used except in cedar growing areas, like the Hunter; elsewhere, blackwood, pine and oak were used.   Australian Federation furniture available now(Clicking on an item of interest will open a new window)  Continue Reading »

Arts & Crafts Furniture (1870 – 1884)

The Arts and Crafts Movement began in England in reaction to the machine-made furniture and other items which had been made possible by the Industrial Revolution. The English Arts and Crafts Movement produced designs for every aspect of the decorative arts and was imitated on the Continent and in America. Arts and Crafts Furniture emphasises […]  Continue Reading »

Art Nouveau Furniture (1884 – 1918)

Art Nouveau developed from the the Arts and Crafts Movement.  It attempts to create organic forms and a sense of movement by the use of flowing curves and austere detailing. In Paris in 1895, Siegfried Bing opened La Maison de l’Art Nouveau where he sold furniture designed by Georges de Feure, Eugene Gaillard and Edward […]  Continue Reading »

Art Deco Furniture (1919 – 1939)

The increasing intrusion of technology into daily life fostered the development of the Art Deco during the 1920s and 1930s. This aimed to make use of new materials and techniques while retaining a simple, functional style. The result was angular, abstract and geometrical shapes usually with a highly lustrous finish and often inlaid with exotic […]  Continue Reading »

Scandinavian Furniture

From the 18th century on, Scandinavians used native pine to reproduce foreign software styles, particularly Georgian and Hepplewhite. Paint was used to mimic veneers and other decoration. Sweden maintained its craft traditions while it industrialised so that by the time of the First World War, Swedes were still using traditional materials and techniques to produce […]  Continue Reading »

Pine Furniture

Pine has always been regarded as a secondary timber. During the late 17th century, pine began to be used as a foundation for veneering and marquetry. In the early 18th century, English cabinetmakers began to use pine for drawer lining and the backboards of cabinets and bureaux because pine was cheaper than the oak which […]  Continue Reading »


The use of rattan cane in furniture originated in India. It was brought to England in the middle of the 17th century by the East India Company. The demand for the new material was greatly boosted when the Great Fire of London (in 1666) destroyed an enormous amount of wooden furniture. Rattan is a vine […]  Continue Reading »


Wicker furniture is woven from materials such as willow, reed or the core of rattan canes left over from cane production. The technique of making wicker furniture has been known since Roman times. From the Middle Ages, wicker furniture was used in country households for beds, chairs and cribs. With the growth of the middle […]  Continue Reading »

Lights & Lamps

Ancient oil lamps had a spout for a wick at one end, a handle at the other and a hole for filling the vessel with oil in the middle. They were usually flat for stability and rounded because they were made of clay. When brass lamps came into use, they kept the same shape as […]  Continue Reading »

Chinese Furniture

A wide variety of miniature furniture has been found in Han Dynasty tombs. This includes chairs, tables, cupboards and chests. It is made with sophisticated, flowing lines, not unlike modern bentwood furniture. The pieces are made of rich, fine-grained hardwoods, like ebony, rosewood and sandalwood, polished to a high finish and with little, if any, […]  Continue Reading »

Indian Furniture

Traditional Indian homes have very little furniture by European standards – carpets and cushions are spread on the floor, small tables also served as stools and chests were used to store clothes. European colonists brought with the a demand for European style furniture and Indian craftsmen began producing items based on English, Dutch and Portuguese […]  Continue Reading »

Japanese Furniture

Partly because the frequency of earthquakes precluded the use heavy construction methods, traditional Japanese buildings, and the furniture in them, are light. The Japanese sat and slept on the floor and, so, had no chairs or beds in the Western style. They used low tables for writing and most often stored their goods on open […]  Continue Reading »