Mahogany Chair

In the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Date about 1795.

a far larger class on the border line of want and destitution than can even be imagined at the present day, the available patrons of the maker of furniture must have been not only small in numbers, but also could not have extended below the grade of the moderately wealthy. At the present day costly furniture is exceptional as compared with that of the plain and inexpensive type which is produced in vast quantities for the lower middle and even the artisan classes. During the eighteenth century the reverse must have hppn the rase. Furniture of all kinds, even

of the most simple kind, was nearly always well made, the woods carefully selected, and so high was the cost of the raw material, especially of glass, that it was proportionally more profitable to make elaborate than simple furniture, the value of the labour being, proportionally, one of the most insignificant items. The eighteenth century has, therefore, been justly styled the " Golden Age " of English cabinet-making. Fine and costly furniture—reckoned by our present-dav standard—was made for two reasons : firstly, because the patrons of the " joyner " were almost exclusively of the wealthy classes ; and, secondly, because the value of the time and labour involved was of little account when, in 17S0, the cabinet-maker worked twelve hours for a wage of from two shillings to half-a-crown per dav.

Robert Adam did much to popularise the window-seat, if he did not actually introduce it into English furnishing fashions. An absurd building bvelaw, directing that all windows must be set back four and a half inches from the exterior face of the brickwork, had not come into force during the eighteenth century, and windows were set flush outside, the full thickness of the wall being thrown into the room. In these deep recesses—the days of " fourteeivinch work " had yet to come—it was customarv

Figs. 200 and 201.

MAHOGANY ARM AND SMALL CHAIRS.

3 ft. li ins. from floor to top of back. 3 ft- oh in. from floor to top of back.

Figs. 200 and 201.

MAHOGANY ARM AND SMALL CHAIRS.

3 ft. li ins. from floor to top of back. 3 ft- oh in. from floor to top of back.

I ft. IIJ ins. across front of seat. I ft. 9l across front of seat.

I ft. 8 ins. depth of seat. I ft. 7 >ns- depth of seat-Date about 1785-90.

to place window-seats of similar pattern to the two reproductions from the Guide, illustrated in Figs. 191 and 192. Both designs exhibit strong Adam influence, and were probably inserted as novelties, both being impracticable in character. The double-scroll 011 the seat framing of the first is a detail impossible even with wired carton pierre, and the draperies under the seat rail of the second are equally absurd. Apart from these incongruities, however, both examples are gracefully designed, and show how thoroughly the Guide caught the characteristic manner of the brothers Adam.

Fig. 193 is an even better example of this " Adam-Hepplewhite " furniture. The framing

SATIMjWOOD PAINTED -ftRM Cll^M.

3 ft. 2 ins. from floor to top of back. I ft. ioj ins. across front ot seat. I ft. 7! ins. depth of seat. Date about 1790.

SATIMjWOOD PAINTED -ftRM Cll^M.

3 ft. 2 ins. from floor to top of back. I ft. ioj ins. across front ot seat. I ft. 7! ins. depth of seat. Date about 1790.

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