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Styles Of Furniture And Types Of Wood

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Published: Mon, 15 May 2017

Though out the years there have been many different styles of furniture and the types of wood that has been used in the furniture. They range from mid-evil style furniture to the modern furniture styles that you see today. Some people may not know all the different types of furniture and that they are classified as ages, periods and some others as well.

The term “Age of Walnut” is not so much descriptive but a way of dating furniture lasting for about 130 years. The improvements of the saws that were used to cut wood at the time may be a reason for the introduction of walnut. This made it easier for the pieces to be sawn to smaller thicknesses. As people learned to cut thinner slices of material, it became possible to use thin slices for decorative purposes. And because of this there were fewer things that were being carved into furniture.

“The Age of Walnut gradually gave way to a period in which mahogany was the predominant species used. The Age of Mahogany dominated much of the 18th century”(Blackburn, Graham). Later on in this period the furniture was heavily carved and fretted furniture was the characteristics the furniture took on in this period in the time the cabiole leg was used. Later on in the century which is sometimes referred to as the Age of Satinwood, although mahogany continued to be very popular.

One style of furniture that may not be well known now days is the medieval style. The medieval time period which was from the time the empire of Rome fell to the time Constantinople fell is where furniture took on it modern characteristics. In this era they focused more on textile. Light, portable, and served many purposes,

“textiles could be used as room dividers, wall hangings, floor or bed coverings, or protection from the cold. They used colorful fabrics to add brightness to rooms where they had no windows. Medieval furniture was primarily made of oak, since it was easy to obtain, strong and durable. The most important part of medieval furniture is the chest. Chests were originally made from hollow tree trunks banded with iron, which is where the word ‘trunk’ came from”(Medieval Decor). Hutches were used to store household items and other of the families possessions. When not traveling, the hutch was used for storage. Medieval home decor is again becoming popular

“They used tapestries and hangings to cover the walls matting for the floors, carvings or stencils in ancient heraldic designs”(Medieval Furniture Home ). Medieval interior decoration is all about color and warmth, use of textures and textiles, and simply made, practical furniture. Middle age life was harsh but also had times of romance and excitement.

“French Renaissance furniture, including Louis XIII furniture, had gradually undergone changes until under the patronage of Louis XIV it developed into what was probably the most magnificent of the French period styles. Andre Charles Boulle was cabinet-maker to King Louis XIV and was one of the greatest workers in ebony, inlaying ebony wood with tortoise shell, brass and other metals until the whole piece came together to form a brilliant mosaic. He further decorated his work with chiseled mounts of ormolu and bronze, carved and gilt ornaments. Marble and granite were used for table and console tops, and fine tapestries for upholstering; all combining to create a style in perfect harmony with the pomp and glittering splendor of the baroque Louis XIV age”(French Baroque Furniture)

The Louis XIV style is marked by fine examples of craftsmen ship. The decoration was very detailed and very ornate. Tables of this era had feet and legs that were slightly curved. Common tables of this era were either round or oblong. Beds were used to hold elaborate draperies. A couch that was gilded, painted, and heavily varnished called “lit a la duchesse” came to be. Carved and inlaid panels were much used on chests and wardrobes, and there were many forms of chests and cabinets in vogue. “One chest was shaped like a sarcophagus, after the Italian Renaissance manner, and was set on carved scroll legs, like a table, with drawers beneath” (International Styles). A cabinet style that was common for this time had serpentine front a feet and panels that were carved. A common form of cabinet had a serpentine front and carved feet and panels, and was decorated with Buhl work. “These, along with Louis XIV chairs are but a few of the numerous forms of the furniture that appeared during the Louis XIV furniture period” (International Styles).

The French Directoire period went from 1793 to 1804 but people are not able to come to agreement on the end date. Directoire furniture reflected the effect of the French Revolution on

“French furniture design, being a more simplified version of the earlier Louis XVI style using limited decoration and cheaper materials. Decoration used on directoire furniture was usually a variation on the classically inspired ornamentation of the late 18th century. Marquetry was abandoned in favor of more austere forms of decorative work. Geometric patterns remained in use but were less extravagant than before, often integrating a Grecian urn into the designs. The caryatid form was also used. And we note the entrance of Egyptian motifs into furniture design. Furniture of the Directoire time sometimes included carvings of sphinxes in the bronze hardware detailing”(International Styles).

I feel that the Amish makes very high quality furniture that is reasonably priced and is made with a lot of attention paid to detail.”For centuries the Amish have been known for their high-quality craftsmanship and superior woodworking abilities. They are dedicated to retaining a more simple lifestyle, reflective of the 1800s, and do not rely on modern conveniences and appliances. Electricity is generally not used in Amish homes”(Amish Craftsmanship).

In contrast to the low quality, mass-produced imported furniture used in many resorts and hotels, Amish furniture is extremely study and well built, minimizing the need for frequent replacement. It can withstand a long period of hard used a not need to be replaced. Amish furniture is never built in a factory or on an assembly line. They start out building it with air powered tools in buildings powered by generators but all the detail work was done by hand and was not the same from one craftsmen to the next. Although construction may vary somewhat by builder, Amish furniture is usually made up of solid wood with five-piece English dovetail drawer boxes and steel ball bearing drawer glides so they can glide easier.

I fell was one of the periods of furniture where the styles and craftsmanship was better than any other style. The French Empire, also known as the first empire style was developed around the letter N and it was found in almost every piece. The style was designed to look like Greek and roman styles and it lasted through what was known as the Directoire period of furniture. England in the time of the Regency in American furniture.

The style used a wreath, torch, Sphinx, the honeysuckle and the Roman eagle in the design of the legs of some of the chairs. “Classic shapes or lines and classic decorations in chiseled bronze, called ormolu, were notable attempts in the neoclassic style.” (International Styles) The subjects for ormolu decorations were taken from Greek mythology.

They used brass as an inlet on some of the pieces of the Empire furniture. Marquetry and carving was no longer used and instead were discarded and plain surfaces were decorated with brass and ormolu mounts of antique emblems. Mahogany was the wood they chose to used and the also used a lot of veneer which is very thin pieces of wood placed on others to give the wood a different look.

On some French empire furniture we also see fine “turning”, not spiral, but in a round style which can be seen in the legs of sofa on which Madame Recamier reclines in the well known portrait of her by Jacques Louis David. David, who was court painter under Louis XVI, became during the Empire era the prime influence and eventually a kind of artistic dictator of this movement to revive the classical.

Throughout the years furniture has gone through many changes to keep up with the changes in time and people. The changes in furniture have kept up with the changing likes and dislikes of people from one country to the next.


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