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Home » Antique Wood Furniture

Antique Wood Furniture

Antique Wood FurnitureThe term antique- derived from the Latin word "antiquus" meaning old- refers to an old collectible item. It becomes desirable and therefore capable of being collected due to its age, rarity, condition, utility, or other unique features. Most importantly, any antique is an object that represents some bygone era and shows some degree of craftsmanship. Antique wood furniture, therefore, is a piece of wooden furniture with some special value due to its age. They are especially those old wood furniture that are decorated with fine artistry. They can be bought at antique shops, secondhand stores, household auctions, and garage sales or handed down from generation to generation. However, the age that determines whether a furniture is antique or not is subjective. Some of the antique stores tag wooden furniture that are 50 years or older as antique furniture. Some other fine antique dealers consider 150 years or older furniture to be antique.

Definition of Antique Furniture An antique furniture can be defined as any piece of furniture or decorative object or the like produced in a former period and valuable because of its beauty or rarity. For more technical definition of antique furniture, one can refer United States Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930, which defines antique as "works of art (except rugs and carpets made after the year 1700), collections in illustration of the progress of the arts, works in bronze, marble, terra cotta, parian, pottery or porcelain, artistic antiquities and objects of ornamental character or educational value which shall have been produced prior to the year 1830." The year 1830 was designated to demarcate the antique from modern because the beginning of mass production in the U.S can be traced to this year.

Antique Furniture Styles The most famous antique wood furniture come from two styles- English antique furniture and American antique furniture. The antique wood furniture of both the styles- English and American - have distinguished characteristics based upon the periods in which they were made. Thus, antique tables of 16th century English style differ from the wood table made in late 18th century or an antique bed of American style produced in the 17th century will have different designs and embellishments from the wooden bed made in early 19th century.

English Antique Furniture Queen Anne Antique ChairAntique oak furniture and Mahogany furniture are the distinct characteristics of English Antique Furniture. Their decorative features changed from century to century giving birth to some exclusive antique wood furniture pieces including Queen Anne, Victorian, Georgian, Regency and many other antique style furniture. 16th Century Wood Furniture- Most of the antique oak furniture belongs to this period. This is why the furniture made even 500 years ago is very durable and has a distinct style. In this Elizabethan period, oak was the most used type of wood. Furniture was heavy and serviceable, with bulbous legs, and chairs were either turned or ainscoted. Wood benches were very common at refectory-style tables and the beds were mostly 4-poster beds with a canopy and carved posts.

17th Century Wood Furniture- In 17th century, the ornamentation became flatter. The wood chairs were quiet larger in this period to accommodate the newly designed bustles of ladies dresses. Furniture became more gracious, refined and decorative on the patterns of French furniture and those from Holland. Now they had gilded mounts and were beautifully decorated with carving and small moldings. Generally the French-style wood cabinets are curved in shape and beautifully embellished with carved moldings and trims along the front, and down the elegant S-shaped legs.

18th Century Wood Furniture- In the beginning of 18th century, when Queen Anne occupied the throne, a new style of chair was developed with beautifully curved lines and comfortable upholstery- the Queen Anne chair-which is popular among antique collectors till today. These chairs and other wood furniture of this period was made from woods like walnut, cherry, mahogany, maple and oak and had graceful curves, curved or cabriole leg. These were very simple with no rungs or stretchers, minimal decoration, and scallop-shell mount.

Late 18th Century Wood Furniture- Georgian furniture in many styles were introduced in this period. Georgian Chippendale furniture was usually made from mahogany wood. It was an elaboration of Queen Anne antique furniture style with ornate carvings that were either delicate or bold. They followed certain themes, including rococo, English, Chinese, Greek classic. Chair backs of this style of furniture had intricate designs. Georgian Adam furniture, also made from mahogany wood, had straight, slender lines with heavy Greek classic influence. They had fluted columns, delicate low-relief carvings, especially draped garlands. Georgian Hepplewhite furniture, made from mahogany, satinwood inlay/veneer were based on Adam and had straight tapered legs. One of the distinct feature of this period chairs were heart-shaped chair backs with less decoration and delicate carvings. Georgian Sheraton furniture, made with mahogany was almost similar to Hepplewhite and other Georgian styles but had straighter, more upright lines with Greek classic influence. The chairs had lyre-shaped chair backs.

19th Century Wood Furniture- Regency style of furniture became popular in the early 19th century The favorite wood remained mahogany only. This Regency furniture was simple and had bold curves. They were made on smaller scale and were more functional and intimate. A variety of colors were used to decorate them. The most famous antique wood furniture- the Victorian furniture is from the late 19th century. Mahogany, walnut, and rosewood were extensively used to make these Antique Victorian furniture. They are heavy, massive and substantial with dark wood finishes. One of the distinct features of Victorian furniture is their clumsy design with ornate carvings and decorations. Marble tops were also used to make these furniture more beautiful.

American Antique Furniture Art Deco Antique TableAmerican furniture too evolved over period from the somber dark woods of the Jacobean period to the geometric characteristics of Art Deco furniture of the later times. Antique pine furniture and similarity to decorative styles of English furniture are some characteristics of American Colonial furniture.

17th Century Wood Furniture- The early colonial style of American wood furniture were made with such types of wood as pine, birch, maple, and walnut. The wood furniture of this period can be called the hybrid of English styles. It had solid construction and square lines with heavy decoration plus wood carving. In the later years William and Mary style furniture displayed trumpet turned legs, ball feet and padded upholstery to English parlours with a new look in oriental lacquer work.

18th Century Wood Furniture-The late colonial furniture was usually made from pine and mahogany which were mostly imported wood. The chairs, tables, chests, wooden drawers etc. had interpretations of Queen Anne and Georgian styles. Windsor chair became very popular in this period. Carved cabriole legs, S-shaped curves and motifs-all were in fashion. During 1780-1820, Sheraton style furniture was the most reproduced style in America during the Federal period. It had bow-fronted chests and cabinets. Chairs were now made with sloping arms and upholstered seats with central splat detail on the backs.

19th Century Wood Furniture- Mahogany and cherry were the popular woods for furniture of this period that had interpretations of Georgian styles. They had some French influence as well as of Duncan Phyfe variations of Sheraton style. They mostly look like heavier versions of English styles. Boston rocker and Hitchcock chair are good examples of this period's furniture. Shaker furniture is still a popular antique furniture styletoday. It is a simple rather plain and unadorned, utilitarian furniture approved of by the religious communities in America. Pennsylvania Dutch furniture is one style that was prevalent from late 17th to mid-19th century. It was mostly made with maple, pine, walnut, and fruit woods. They represent solid, plain style with colorful painted Germanic decorations.

20th Century Wood Furniture- Art Nouveau furniture was a new style of furniture which came with the beginning of the 20th century. Chair backs were now balloon-shaped or bentwood. Most of the wooden furniture had curved lines, scalloped fronts and intricate patterns. It gave way to Art Deco furniture that had abstract designs, ornamental motifs, rectilinear shapes and a certain geometric style.

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