Collecting Victorian style furniture made between 1845 and 1915 is for those that love the past, the quality workmanship, the artistic designs and overall sensual appeal. Many notable dynamics played into the history of the United States during this time period. The westward expansion was going on during this era all across the continent, fast industrial growth, unprecedented migrations of Europeans: Germans, Italians, Irish. Many of them were expert carvers and furniture makers. They celebrated the 1876 centennial, the beginning of rapid mass transportation systems. Many wealthy businessmen began spending lavishly on furnishings for their primary and vacation homes. Our exquisite and unique designs, made in America, was finally realized near the end of the first World War. We had accomplished a style and comfort for our lifestyle, incomparable to any other.
Many exquisite furniture pieces were made in New York and Philadelphia. During the 1845 to 1915 era there were two main furniture designs. One was called "Victorian" the other was termed "Turn-of-the-century", aptly named.
Many pieces crossover and carry certain combined characteristics from both periods. When collecting Victorian style furniture it is best to educate yourself with the sub-styles that are associated with them.
Rococo revival, Eastlake, Renaissance Revival, Egyptian revival, Gothic revival. Here are a few of the sub-styles that may assist you in collecting Victorian style furniture.
Rococo Revival: 1845 to 1865
Many furniture pieces have naturalistic carvings. Serpentine shapes with rounded corners. Fruit and leaf handle pulls. Rosewood, walnut and mahogany wood were most often used. Mostly parlor tables, sofas and chairs with cabriole legs . Reproduction pieces are easy to spot, the carvings are much flatter and less accentuated. John Henry Belter the foremost maker of this time period used laminating as a durable technique for curved artistic surfaces. Most reproductions are not made of Rosewood or Black Walnut.Many fluted and turned legs, distinctly carved crests and finials on a large scale, in many pieces. Mainly produced fom Mahogany, Rosewood and Chestnut. Inset burled panels, marbel tops with cookie cut corners. Other attributes are brass or bronze mounts, and black incising. Artistically carved heads and crests, done in grand splendor, are a part of this period furniture design. The peak was in Philadelphia around 1876, many well-known furniture makers exhibited their finest works during this time.
Renaissance Revival: 1860 to 1880
Tun-of-the-centuryOak was prominent during this era as Chestnut and Black Walnut was quite hard to come by. This furniture was created between the Spanish American and World War I wars. Oak was quarter sawn to produce a tiger stripe looking grain. This is a difficult cut to produce and is rarely found nowadays. Mahogany was used on more expensive pieces during this art nouveau period. Ornate spindles and columns, fancy brass handles and pressed brass sheet inlays, compliment much of this period's furniture.
Collecting Victorian style furniture
A home filled with exquisite Victorian style furniture can truly be a nostalgic and peaceful part of your present lifestyle. Know what you want to enhance your living room and other important areas of your home. Find pieces that are authentic and may be worth quite a lot of money down the road.