Tudor Period Henry VII 1485-1509
Henry VIII 1509-1547
Edward VI 1547-1553
Tables often only had trestle supports.
Construction was often very crude. Really genuine specimens are rare.
Linen fold was a favourite design for carved panels.
Most of the furniture was made of oak, but chestnut, beech and cypress were also used, some of the pieces being painted.
The first real advance in making furniture was during the reign of Henry VIII who encouraged foreign craftsmen to work in England.
The transformation from Gothic influence and Renaissance style began to make head way around 1550.
Elizabethan Period Elizabeth
1558-1603 (Contemporary French period-Henri IV 1589-1610)
Much of the furniture made during the reign of Queen Elizabeth is wrongly classified by many as belonging to the Tudor Period.
The Gothic influence remained strong and was often manifest in the furniture of the period, drawers were seldom fitted to Elizabethan furniture, more inlay work was produced using box, cherry, ebony, and ivory the work was often coarse and 1/16th of an inch thick. Some of the carved work embodied arabesque designs as well as intricate interlacing strap work copied from the Flemish
During the latter part of Elizabeth's reign wooden seats began to be replaced by stuffed seats then called 'cushioned chairs'. The credence or tasting buffet developed into a sideboard and the oak chest into a settle.
Early Stuart or Jacobean, Cromwellian and Late Stuart Period James Ist 1603-1625
Charles Ist 1621649
Charles II 1660-1685
James II 1685-1689
(Contemporary French Periods Henri IV, Louis XIII and Louis XIV, 1589-1715)
Gate leg tables are usually associated with Jacobean times, drawers were more in general use. Oak continued to be the main wood in use. Tabletops were often of round or oval shape; the back legs of chairs were nearly always turned. Handles and large scroll hinges of wrought iron "cocks head" design were frequently employed, as were brass drop handles. Mirrors began to take a more prominent place. During the latter part of the 17th century around 1670 The Huguenot silk weavers began to settle in Spitalfields London, beautiful fabrics were produced. Lacquer work imported from the East became fashionable. The massive bulbous leg gave way to simple turnery, vase shaped pillars (sometime fluted) often being seen. Geomtric design prevailed; carving was more restrained than hitherto the later chairs were often upholstered in velvet or pigskin with large brass nails. Grandfather clocks were probably first introduced into England during the latter part of this period from Holland and walnut was more generally used at this time. Yorkshire chairs are of this period, cane panelling was extensively employed in Carolean times, barley sugar twist, turned legs and rails, pierced and carved back work to chairs all came to the fore.
Genuine articles show the heads of wooden pegs securing the tenon into the mortice; original pieces have turned wooden knobs to doors and drawers. Chequer and herringbone inlay work was extensively used bone, ebony, ivory and mother of pearl was extensively used, Marquetry was in considerable use in the later pieces. Oak furniture was treated with a dark varnish mixed with oil so that it sank into the wood and did not form a surface polish. Grinling Gibbons work influenced much of the later designs, foreign influence was also much in evidence, workmanship continued to improve.
William and Mary Period William III and Mary
1689-1702 (Contemporary French Period -Louis XIV…..1643-1715)
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.
Queen Anne Period Anne 1702-1714
George I 1714-1727
GeorgeII (part) 1727-onwards
(Contemporary French Period Louis XIV & Louis XV)
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.
Georgian Period George II 1727-1760
George III 1760-1820
(Contemporary French Periods- Louis XV, Louis XVI and Empire 1715-1799)
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.
1800-1830 (Contemporary French Period Napoleon I -Charles X)
"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.
1901 - 1911
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.