At the beginning of the eighteenth century, Queen Anne's reign saw an English taste assert itself, characterized by using walnut with plain, simple elements. For its effect it relied both upon the Baroque outline, and the natural beauty of the timbers used. Early Georgian furniture by contrast was generally heavier and with larger proportions, due to the influence of William Kent, who developed coherent furnishing schemes under his architectural direction.
Queen Anne chairs were noticeably restrained in their added decoration, although the most important feature to come out of this period was, without doubt, the cabriole leg. Introduced in the late seventeenth century, and perfected in the beginning of the eighteenth, the cabriole leg with its uniting of two opposing curves was seen as the epitome of the curvilinear design. Compound curves were introduced into the hoop backs of chairs, and stretcher braces disappeared as construction techniques improved. Chair types began to proliferate and included hall chairs with hard seats, often decorated with coats of arms; upholstered easy chairs with embroidered coverings; two-seater sofas or love seats and the vernacular Windsor chair type. From around 1745 the Rococo influence and the use of mahogany allowed chairs to be made in a lighter and more delicate fashion.
Settees by Kent included solid hall seats with carved scroll arms, and an upholstered type in velvet or damask with parcel gilt and mahogany, or gilded-gesso frames. The second half of the century saw the introduction of confidantes, settees with seats at each end with upholstered divisions between them.
Numerous table types were introduced during the century. These included: console tables with marble tops and painted frames; dumb waiters; writing desks; kidney tables; tea tables; sofa tables; library tables, and toilet tables. For dining, the gate-leg table, still in use in the early part of the century, was superseded by the swing-leg table. Other tables included a tripod tea table, essential for the ritual of tea-drinking. In addition to tables, sideboards with cutlery boxes and wine cisterns were prerequisites for the fully furnished dining room by the second half of the century.
A vast range of storage furniture was designed and made in the eighteenth century for the requirements of the new age: China cases for displaying or storing; bookcases to furnish libraries; collectors' cabinets for curios; corner cabinets for the display of ornaments, and a wide variety of double chests, clothes presses and commodes.
Other items that were introduced in the period were chamber or exercising horses, pole screens, pedestals for supporting decorative items and elaborate girandoles for lighting schemes.
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