style of furniture, even though we credit him with inventing inlaying with various coloured woods. The Hepplewhite firm advertised their readiness to undertake orders for painted furniture some time earlier, so the feeling for colour must have been in the air, while the desire for delicacy of ornament is said to have spread to us from the Court of Marie Antoinette, where everything that was dainty, delicate, and minutely finished was then the vogue. However much this may have influenced public taste and private enterprise, our cabinet-makers were not content to make actual copies from the French, but evolved a style of their own, which is considered by many people more charming than that from which it was derived. Sheraton was the great designer of this style, to which his name is attached for all time, though only a few hundred pieces at most can have been made under his own personal supervision.

Of these, many pieces were made in satinwood and not in mahogany, and all the pieces of mahogany reasonably attributable to him that I have seen have been made of unusually light wood, with a singularly pleasing result. The so-called Sheraton, found occasionally all over the country, was probably the work of 60

SATINWOOD CABINET. Sheraton. {From the collection of James Orrock, Esq.)

BOW-FRONTED SATINWOOD COMMODE. Late XVIII century. (In the possession of F. Fenn, Esq.) This piece is in satinwood with bands of harewood. An etched pattern divides the cupboards.from the drawers. The handles are the original ones and are said to be by Cipriani.

the ordinary cabinet-makers of the time, who found it necessary to follow the prevailing fashion. There is not a vast amount of genuine furniture of the Sheraton period, that is to say work which was inlaid at the time it was made; though there is a good deal of originally plain mahogany of later date, which the dealer has had inlaid since "Sheraton" became easy to sell. This is the pitfall into which the unwary may easily fall when starting buying. The only safeguard against such a mistake is a knowledge of or feeling for the forms which belong to the genuine inlaid period. These are much more elegant than the later styles and give the impression of lightness. When a piece appears heavy and a trifle clumsy, and its plan is little removed from the square or oblong shape, it may generally be left unacquired without fear of after regrets. This applies to inlaid wardrobes and sideboards particularly.

Sideboards, when they are good, are 44 very very good; but when they are bad, they are horrid." The best are perhaps the large semicircular ones of the same shape as the satinwood commode illustrated on Plate 56, but a good deal larger and of course with space underneath. Others of the serpentine-

front order, like the illustration, may safely be purchased when found. Those which should not be touched at any price are the ones which would be oblong except that the front ends are just rounded a little at the corners. Most people have seen these shapes, which generally had turned legs in their original state, though in the dealer's workshop they are changed for the taper variety. The little sideboard illustrated (Plate 57) is untouched and completely in its original state. It is an excellent object lesson for the study of good old inlaying. Observe the ovals in the end drawers—these ovals, sometimes circles, mark the good period in inlaid work; and look, too, at the variety in the shells, which seem each to have been specially drawn to suit the particular place it fills, and in this lies the secret of the beauty of the old inlaid work. Nowadays shells of several different sizes are made by the gross, and plastered on like postage stamps without any real regard for the plan of the piece they are to embellish. The corner cupboard (Plate 58) is not a specially good piece of inlaid work, but it serves as a specimen of a two-tier corner cupboard which is somewhat rare; and it also shows a pair of excellently designed glazed doors, so 62

Plate LVII

MAHOGANY INLAID SIDEBOARD, with shaped front. Late XVIII century. (In the possession of F. Fenn, Esq.) The inlay is king-wood, except the shells and hairlines, which are satinwood. The handles are original. There is no appearance of any rail ever having been at the back.

INLAID CORNER CUPBOARD. Late XVIII century. {In the possession of Mrs. Wyltie.) The inlay consists of satinwood bands and shells of a rather uncommon pattern. The inside is painted white with gold edges to the shelves.

simple that there is nothing remarkable in the design, yet so charmingly planned and proportioned that few glazed doors are capable of giving one greater pleasure. One detail about glazed doors may be mentioned here. The earlier ones have quite flat woodwork for the pattern or lattice work between the glass. This one, like all the later ones, has a small and well-known moulding, similar to that used to form the panels on the doors of many houses which were built at the end of the eighteenth and the beginningof the nineteenth century.

To return to satin wood. This, if of the best period, is, like mahogany, veneered upon oak. Other signs of the best period in satinwood are the inlays of greenwood, harewood, or tulipwood. Satinwood inlaid with rosewood, generally speaking—especially if rosewood is the chief inlay—is not of the best period, though almost any piece of genuine satinwood is worth having on account of its exquisite colour. This colour is the outcome of age, and is absolutely unobtainable with modern satinwood, though every furniture maker will tell you otherwise. This is the reason, as I said earlier, why old satinwood realizes such high prices.

While on the subject of colour, let one more warning about the tricks of the trade be given. Genuine old satinwood is really scarce, and unfailingly commands a high price—a price far beyond the pocket of the generality of people who are merely seeking to furnish their homes. But " collectors" have heard that it is fashionable, and so inquire for it at every furniture shop. These "collectors" have mostly a smattering of knowledge, and know that genuine satinwood should be upon oak; so they pull out the drawers and examine the " carcase," and when they see it is veritably an old one, are satisfied that they are purchasing real satinwood. Alas! too often what they are buying really is the carcase of a Queen Anne piece of furniture, which was originally beautiful when it was covered with its carefully chosen and matched walnut-wood facing, but is now horrible in the sight of the connoisseur because it has been stripped and covered with new satinwood of bad colour, toned down to look like the old to the easily satisfied eyes of the ordinary buyer. This has been going on for some years, and one is horrified to think of the destruction of really beautiful old furniture which the satinwood craze is

SMALL SATIN WOOD PEMBROKE TABLE, inlaid with tulipwood and greenwood slips. XVIII century. (In the possession of F. Fenn,Esç.)

SATINWOOD CARD TABLE, with broad band of Harewood inlay. XVIII century. (In the possession of F. Fetm, Esq.)

responsible for. A favourite form for this spurious satin wood is the bureau; and this for two reasons. Firstly, every one wants a bureau in his house; secondly, walnutwood bureaux were plentiful. I am doubtful whether satinwood bureaux were ever made. There were satinwood writing-tables, satinwood cabinets, satinwood bookcases, sideboards, dressing-tables, washstands, screens, trays, tea-caddies ; but to ask for a satinwood bureau is rather like asking for a satinwood four-poster. I trust the exposure of this very specious fraud may help to stop people buying satinwood bureaux, and so prevent the further destruction of Queen Anne walnut furniture. The small satinwood table illustrated (Plate 59) is a particularly charming example of a Pembroke table, more delicate in shape than most. The top of the centre—that is, the table when the leaves are down—is made of four triangular pieces of satinwood with the points meeting in the middle; then there is an inlaid oval of green wood; the edge has a rather broad band of tulip wood, while the legs and the drawer are decorated with a narrow inlay of the green to match the centre oval. The satinwood card-table illustrated (Plate 60) has a

K 65

broad band of harewood well set back from the edge, and finished on either side with very narrow strips of boxwood, alternating with black wood. It is unusual, because it is lined with satinwood; that is to say, when it is opened, instead of there being the usual green cloth common to most card-tables, there is a square table of polished satinwood, with a band of delicate inlay all round it. Besides the articles of furniture mentioned above, there was the square piano, the case of which was often elaborately treated with inlay, the frame on which it stood being also decorated. These square pianos have in many cases been broken up, no one being able to find a use for them in a room which contains a modern pianoforte, either grand or cottage. Lately, the dealers have been using up the old cases by converting them into writing-tables; while some people use them just as they are for dressing-tables. I, personally, have a weakness for their sweet, mellow tone as musical instruments on which to play the simple old accompaniment to the songs belonging to their time. It seems to me a pleasanter backing to a single human voice than the loud tones of the modern pianoforte. The one illustrated (Plate 61) is the finest ma-66

LIGHT MAHOGANY SQUARE PIANO, inlaid with satinwood, ebony, and boxwood stained green. Late XVI11 century. (Jn the possession of F. Fenn, Esq.)

ONE OF A PAIR OF SATINWOOD PIER TABLES. Sheraton. (From the collectio?i of James Orrock, Esq.)

hogany inlaid one I have seen. Its inlay consists of a broad band of satinwood, bordered by a sort of cable pattern of ebony and boxwood, with strings of black, green, and red on either side.

I am fortunate in being able to give an illustration (Plate 62) of one of a pair of Sheraton pier-tables from Mr. Orrock's very fine collection. The other pier-table illustrated (Plate 54) has a harewood top inlaid with boxwood, greenwood, and satinwood. The broad satinwood border has a convolvulus wreath inlaid in it in greenwood and boxwood, with the veins of the leaves and flowers etched. There is a rosewood border on the outer edge. The legs and frame are carved wood with very delicate applied plaster work. It is believed to be a piece of genuine Sheraton. The frame is curiously like Per-golesi's work, so far as the design goes, but the workmanship differs from his; and the legs and frame are entirely gilt, while Pergolesi's are generally part gilt and part white, like that illustrated from Mr. Orrock's collection. The other piece of satinwood illustrated (Plate 56) is the bow-fronted commode already mentioned. Its shape shows well in the picture, but the inlaying comes out rather

faintly, because it is of harewood finished at the edges with tiny lines of boxwood and ebony alternately. The harewood inlay stripes on either side of the centre drawers are etched with a delicate pattern diminishing as it goes towards the base. The handles, which are unusually fine lions' heads, are thought to be by Cipriani, and, fortunately, are complete, for they are quite unmatchable by any workmen of the present day.

SATINWOOD COMMODE, with panels painted by Angelica Kaufmann, R.A. (From the collection of fames Orrock, Esq.)

PERGOLESI COMMODE, with panels painted by Angelica Kaufmann, R.A. (From the collection of fames Orrock, Esq.)

the sixth chapter


UITE one of the most beautiful pieces of painted furniture is at the South Kensington Museum. It is a toilette-table of exquisite shape by Sheraton, and painted by Angelica Kauffman.

Through the kindness of Mr. Orrock, illustrations are here given of two exceptionally fine painted pieces from his collection (Plates 63 and 64), both commodes. Besides these, illustrations are included of two Per-golesi china cabinets (Plates 65 and 66), both from the same collection. Pergolesi was an Italian who worked for the Adam brothers. His work being finely finished and made from their beautiful designs, commands a very high price ; but as it is enamelled in white picked out with gold, with no wood showing, it is not attractive to those who appreciate good cabinet-making sufficiently to be offended at the covering up of the joinery with paint. A fine pier-table in Mr. Orrock's collection is enhanced in value by

r a Wedgewood plaque which ornaments the centre of the front.

It is unlikely that readers of this will ever acquire a piece of furniture painted by Angelica Kauifman or made by Pergolesi, but it will do no harm for them to have some slight knowledge of such pieces.

Ordinary Pembroke tables of satinwood painted with wreaths of flowers are not very rare, and it is quite possible some reader may rescue one, which he should not hesitate to do. I have also seen satinwood screens and toilette-glasses painted, both of which were charming in their way; but the most common articles of painted furniture made were chairs, and they belong to the next chapter.

PERGOLESI CHINA CABINET, white enamel, with painted decorations. (From the collection of James Orrock, Esq.)

the seventh chapter


HAVE thought it better to leave the chairs and "sophas," as they are called in Hepple-white's book, to be treated by themselves in a separate chapter, since in this way it is easier to write of the evolution from the Tudor to the late Sheraton chair with a certain amount of clearness. Chairs are a very old institution; but they were not general in early times, stools and forms being considered good enough for every one but the master and mistress of the house. This, and the supposition that beech was, perhaps, always used, even in the earliest times, for this kind of furniture, would explain the scarcity of very old chairs, for beech has not the staying power of oak. Mr. Seymour Lucas has in his possession a massive oak one of the familiar chancel-stall order, though its owner is of opinion that it is not a church chair. It is a particularly good specimen, absolutely untouched by the restorer's hand, and both the Norman arch and the Tudor rose as well as the holly and bog-oak inlaying

of that period are features of its decoration. This chair was not made for a farm or middle-class household. It must have been made for a castle, or else for the house of an exceedingly well-to-do burgess.

There were no sofas as early as this, the nearest approach to a sofa being the settle, which was the "form" grown grand and provided with a back. A few really fine carved settles of early date exist; one was to be seen a few years ago at Moyse's Hall, Bury St. Edmunds. It was a remarkably good specimen, longer than the settle of later date. It had eight legs along the front, and the back, which was carved, was lower than that of the settle we are accustomed to, which may be seen in use yet in some out-of-the-way country inns. These are usually almost plain, except for the relief afforded by their backs being panelled, like the one illustrated (Plate 16). I have never seen a genuine old settle with its legs enclosed forming a sort of chest, though I have been shown several that were originally chests which have had a back and arms supplied by the dealer, because in that form they have a ready sale as " nice old oak settles, so useful for a hall." Those modern useful articles are not for the 72

CARVED CHAIR. James I period. {At one time in the possession of S. E. Letts, Esq.) This chair is somewhat similar to the one at Knole, in which James I is supposed to have sat for his portrait to the painter Mytens.

CARVED WOOD CHAIR, stained dark brown. Stuart period. {In the possession of F. Fenn, Esq.) This is a good specimen of the double panelled high back chair, with all the characteristics of the period—namely, the shell, the claw and ball feet, and the half circle stretcher.

fj fj

STAINED WOOD ARM-CHAIR. Early William and Mary. (In the possession ofJ. Ashby S terry, Esq.) The scroll-fronted frame and the scroll top of the back are unusually fine.

CARVED WALNUT " CHAISE-LONGUE." Stuart period. {At one time in the possession of S. E. Letts, Esq.) These early sofas are not very uncommon, but they are generally without the carving which makes this such a fine specimen. The more usual form has spiral rails on both sides, and perhaps a little carving at the head and on the frame.

lover of genuine old furniture at any price, even the cheapest; but a really fine old settle should be saved when found, particularly if a low-backed one of the earlier period. I have seen a mahogany settle very finely carved with a sort of shell pattern on the back; I only saw one, but was told by the dealer who showed it me that he had had a pair. They were probably made for the hall of some large country house about the middle of the eighteenth century.

To return to chairs. If we leave beech chairs out of count for the present, and continue to look at the evolution as it took place in the chairs of the nobles, we find the next thing after the stall shape, already referred to, is the so-called " Hamlet" chair. Whence came this name I do not know, unless it was acquired more or less lately through its having been the fashion for all the Hamlets on the stage to use a chair of this shape. Anyhow, the design is really old. One is still in existence at Knole, which is reputed to have been made for James I., and to have been used by him when sitting for his portrait to the painter Mytens. Its seat and back are covered with old velvet, and it has a certain charm, though nothing to the charm

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