English Country Furniture: The National & Regional Vernacular 1500-1900
A preoccupation with the finest period furnishings of the upper classes of English society has, until very recently, dominated the literature on antique furniture, resulting in a neglect of the humbler, but equally important furniture used in ordinary homes over the centuries.
While furniture historians in North America and in many European countries have long accepted the vital importance of their own vernacular - or "country" - furniture, recognising it as an essential element of social history, the English equivalent has often been treated almost with contempt by British writers and relegated to the back pages of native furniture studies. This attitude is now recognised as unacceptable, however, and the vernacular furniture of England has accordingly become the focus of intensive research.
Making use of much of this recent research, English Country Furniture throws fresh light on the uses, dates and stylistic differences of the everyday furniture found in cottages, farmhouses and town houses of ordinary people over a span of some four centuries. Special emphasis is placed on the 18th and 19th centuries in recognition of the much higher survival rates of true "folk" furniture from more recent times.
Each of the examples illustrated, most of them previously unpublished in book form, is accompanied by a detailed caption giving timber, an accurate date-range and an extensive description, including such information as regional characteristics, finish, stylistic influence and construction.
This is the only major work devoted to the evolution of both national and regional vernacular furniture in England from the Middle Ages up to the 20th century. It is also the first to stress the full importance of Oriental influence on 18th-century furniture design; the first to make use of fresh and exciting material salvaged from the Mary Rose; and the first to pinpoint precisely the inventions of several items of machinery used in furniture-making.
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MEDIEVAL SIXTEENTH CENTURY
SEVENTEENTH CENTURY 45
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19th century appears arched ARMCHAIR Ash with rush baluster base bedstead boarded bracket feet brass cabriole legs carcase carved central chest of drawers clothes press common construction contemporary CORNER CUPBOARD cottage country furniture crest rail decoration dovetailed drawer fronts e.g. Figures early edge elm seat England English escutcheons example fashion frame frieze front legs front stretcher fruitwood GATELEG TABLE HIGH DRESSER hinges inlay intended joined key escutcheons kitchen knobs later lock London longcase clocks LOW DRESSER mahogany crossbanding mortise-and-tenon moulding muntins nailed Neoclassical normally Oak with mahogany occasionally paint finish parquetry pegs period piece of furniture pine Plate popular press cupboard probably rear regional replaced rush seat scrolled scumble shaped shelves SIDE TABLE spandrels splat stain stools style superstructure surface survived tapered timber turned chairs uprights vernacular furniture West Country West Midlands Windsor chairs wood wooden woodworm