Needlework coverings were extensively used, designs assumed more graceful outlines. “Oyster pieces” were often employed in the veneer work. Dutch and French influence was strongly evident in the designs. Pierced and carved splats were fashionable, often embodied with C scrolls. Oak chestnut and walnut were the woods chiefly used, some pieces were painted black and ornamented with silk. Dutch Marquetry was largely employed, the designs being inlaid into a veneer groundwork and not carved out of the solid as before. The “cabriole leg” made its appearance. Many of the clocks were surmounted by three brass-spiked balls.
The Queen Anne style was popular all through the reign of George I and extended well into the reign of George II. Stretcher rails on chairs and settees were now but little employed, herringbone, cross banding and ebony were used in the inlay work. Spiral turned work was much used and the “Windsor” chair was introduced. Generally cabinet making was of a very high standard, fine needlework and damask materials were used for upholstery, Marquetry became more subdued, some gilding was introduced, corner cupboards and interior fittings were often domed, the broken pediment was introduced, the claw and ball (pearl) foot was developed, also the scroll and hoof.
This important period includes the designs of Chippendale, Adam, Hepplewhite and Sheraton whose designs were of paramount influence. The Dutch influence yielded to the French. the cabriole leg reached it’s zenith giving way to the straight tapering leg, claw and ball was to some extent replaced by the lions paw. The charm of mahogany began to be appreciated although walnut was still in extensive use. Oriental lacquer panels were imported from the East lacquered furniture became very fashionable.
The reign of George II saw the greatest change; this is where Chippendale changed the course of English furniture. Gilding and veneering was freely used, by now the veneers were much thinner. George I furniture is more or less regarded as being of the Queen Anne period.
“Regency” is a term applied to English furniture from 1800 to 1830; it is rather loosely applied, as it does not coincide with the Regency of King George which was from 1811-1820. This period was partly a reflection of the French Empire designs and many of the designs are from the classical. The furniture of this period was more useful and smaller than earlier – this is one of the reasons for its recent revival in popularity. Rosewood was the principal wood used. Metal inlay was extensively used; ormolu and brass being most popular. Among the designers of this period were Henry Holland, George Smith, Thomas Hope, Thomas Sheraton and Gillows. The sofa and sofa table became fashionable.
German influence was discernable in the furniture of this period, the style becoming heavier. The fine designs of the 18th century were for a short time forgotten but not the craftsmanship. Mahogany, rosewood and satinwood were used, an 18th century revival occurred, the result being some of the finest furniture ever made was produced, Pride in craftsmanship was paramount and nineteenth century makers vied with each other to produce the very best. Gillows, Holland, Morell & Seddon. Lamb, Wright & Mansfield and others used the best materials available to proudly produce furniture fit for The Kings, Queens, Emperors, the Aristocracy and Gentlemen of The World. All previous knowledge and style was employed, honed and developed to greater effect. England was confident enough to throw her doors open to the whole world, “The Great Exhibition of the Works of all Nations 1851 held in London was the first of its kind not to restrict any Nation such was our prowess at that time that England and her Commonwealth took over half of the space available, in1862 we did it again! We will never see the like again; 19th century furniture was amongst the best ever made.
The Edwardian period is regarded as the last period of fine quality furniture. Although most pieces are a replica of Georgian revival & Sheraton period. The essential style is late 18th century, but the rather dull, dark mahogany of the original has been replaced by a lighter variety or satinwood and copiously inlaid with the finest marquetry, or painted in the Adam manner. This rather cheerful high quality furniture is associated with such firms as Edwards & Roberts and maple & co which are highly valued. Much like the Victorian period, craftsmen were regarded the very best of any period with a wide range of the finest quality materials available to make some special pieces.