Know your Antique Styles: Victorian Furniture
Furniture fit for a Queen...
Today's Victorian furniture originates from a period in time when the ever-beloved Queen Victoria reigned England. As one of the few queens in history to marry non-royalty from the middle class, Queen Victoria had a special place in the people's hearts which reflected culturally, all the way down to the style of furniture popular to the time. The queen's tastes in furniture were quickly picked up by the rest of England and became the desirable new trend, especially among a burgeoning middle class; not to mention that the advent of the Industrial Revolution allowed cabinetmakers the tools to produce the new-found Victorian style en-masse.
Characteristics of Victorian Style Furniture
The Victorian style is often distinguished by it's substantive solid wood frames; plush velvet, intricate tapestry, and needlepoint upholstery-work; and extremely detailed motifs (like animal, foliage, and scroll carvings) that decorated everything from end tables to bed frames. Rich dark-brown colored wood like mahogany, rosewood, and walnut were the most popular choices for construction at the time, making each piece extremely durable and long lasting. Velour cushions and soft fabrics often accompanied these rich woods as comfort was just as important as style to the English bourgeoisie. Those with exquisite taste often had their pieces custom-made to complement the other fabrics that were already present in their home.
A custom Victorian settee reproduced by Laurel Crown
Victorian Furniture Today
While many of the original pieces are now part of museum collections, newly-built Victorian reproductions, like the ones Laurel Crown specialize in, offer an excellent alternative to the old antiques. And if purchasing a reproduction, make sure the piece is made from solid mahogany, rosewood, or walnut and is crafted with the same care and attention as the originals.