History of Victorian furniture

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Walter Corey was one of many furniture manufacturers in New England in the mid-1800s. He maintained a chair factory in Portland, Maine, at that time. His chairs were made of curly maple with cane and wooden seats.

The country chair. Maple chairs commonly had wooden seats and a splat backing with three or more spindles. Original pieces were either painted or grained to imitate rosewood types. These specimens were utilized in area homes.

Styles similar to Corey’s furniture began to appear in advertisements of other furniture manufacturers. Varieties made by any manufacturers were diverse, therefore it may be difficult to associate them to one origin.

Today these chairs are known as country chairs, but in the mid-1800s these specimens were classified as “peoples chairs.”

Two types were made – turned and shaped. Turned usually had spindles for backs and either have caned or wooden seats. Shaped styles, on the other hand, have two backs, one a single splat in the center or a horizontal rail.

Artificial styles were quite common for the public. This line of fashion had remained in vogue during many decades, now and again revived by demand.

Empire chairs. Empire or classical was such a style originating in France and England. This fashion became quite popular around 1815. Chairs of this vogue are referred to as “klismos,” derived from the Greco-Roman influence.

A shield back and curved front legs resembling sabers are characteristics, as is a height of about 35 inches.

The most popular Classical Revival cabinet-maker was Duncan Phyfe. Phyfe copied several styles of past eras and combined them to suit his desires.

The lyre is a signature in style adapted by Phyfe and other cabinetmakers of that era.

Around 1840, Classical Revival furniture developed a more massive appearance; such examples were made by Joseph Meeks and Sons.

Late Classical style. This late Classical style can be identified by large “C” and ‘IS” scrolls and an absence of carving. Front legs often resembled an animal appearance with clawed feet.

Many folks disliked Empire furniture because of its massive style. Nonetheless, the craftsmanship is excellent, often employing mahogany or mahogany veneer.

When viewed from the side, a chest of drawers revealed the ‘IS’ scroll for leg support. Tables were supported by a heavy center column style attached to huge scrolled legs and claws.

By mid-1800, almost all manufacturers were attempting to employ French and continental designs in the furniture.

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