Periods and styles.
It is quite common to classify an antique's age by
historic period, referring often to the ruling monarch at the time, which tends to inspire a bit more interest than just a
numerical date, it can also help to put periods of history in convenient memorable chunks.
The past monarchs had more influence on popular
styles and the prosperity of the people compared to more recent monarchs. But of course
there are many influences on the styles, construction, materials and quality besides the
monarch; such as renowned designers of the time (themselves usually influenced by their
studies and travels) , religion, new technology, social activities, immigrant
craftsmen, access to imported timbers, development of trade guilds , studies in classical
architecture, increased literacy, roads, canals and rail, and the industrial revolution.
The trade often refers to periods or particular monarchs or a
particular century, or any kind of approximation or range of time depending on how certain
they are of their dating. But generally be careful not to confuse
descriptions in terms of style with actual historical period, this should be made clear
but occasionally is not. Earlier styles have been reproduced at much later dates, although even they
can be highly desirable antiques.
|Most furniture made from Oak. Gothic and
Baroque styles, fairly simple joined basic furniture.
|Walnut now very popular. Thick decorative veneers
and cross grain mouldings, rococo styles. Few surviving due to walnut being
vulnerable to woodworm attack..
|Mahogany now used very much. Neo-classical styles,
much varied types of cabinet made furniture
|Varied mix of styles and woods and quality
|| Elizabeth I
|| James I
|| Charles I
|| Charles II - 1685, James II
|| William and Mary
|| William II & Mary II (died 1694)
|| Queen Anne
|| Queen Anne
|| Early Georgian
|| George I - 1727, George II
|| Late Georgian
|| George III king until 1820
|| George IV, regent-1820, then king
|| William IV
|| William IV
|| Edward VII
Although there are many knowledgeable members of the 'antiques' trades, do beware that
quite a few have had no formal training in furniture history/construction or timber
identification, and can often misidentify items. Perhaps more importantly do not trust auction room
descriptions to be completely accurate, their job is to sell an item for as much as
possible and so lot descriptions are often vague. If you want to be confident in your
purchase then buy from a reputable established dealer. A
professional restorers opinion is also valuable, they should have a good
knowledge of furniture history , they can recognise the tell tale signs of previous
work from a craftsman point of view, and will tend to have a better understanding of
construction techniques and timber identification than a dealer.