[

giving place to cupboards with drawers, or chests of drawers.

With_the restoration of Charles II to the throne of England in 1660 there came greater luxury and comfort into the better English homes. The king brought with him from the Continent the spirit of the late Flemish Renaissance and the French styles of Louis XIV. Imported Dutch and Flemish workmen introduced a more elaborate scroll-work, pierced carving, and inlay of ebony, ivory, and mother-of-pearl. The tulip and other design motifs appeared in the carving.

Oaken furniture of a late Jacobean type continued to be made to some extent, but gradually the lighter forms and the use of walnut superseded it. The architectural note in furniture almost entirely disappeared. It was a somewhat mixed, exotic style, that of the Restoration period, but one not lacking in beauty and distinction. Marquetry became more and more popular, and the use of expensive tapestries and embroideries for upholstered chairs.

Perhaps the most noteworthy products of this period were the Charles II chair and the gate-leg table. These chairs were made in oak and maple sometimes, but usually in walnut or beech. The backs were tall and narrow, with carved cresting, sides, and underbraces. They were often surmounted by a Tudor rose or a crown. Slender, twisted columns and rich scrolls carved in high relief became a feature. Cane and upholstery were used for backs and seats, the backs frequently consisting of narrow cane panels within an elaborately carved frame.

These chairs were of two general types—Flemish and Spanish. In the Flemish type the back con-sited of turned stiles, within which was a cane panel bordered by scroll-work carving. The legs were usually S-shaped, with scroll feet and a broad scrollwork underbrace in front. In the Spanish type the legs were turned and the backs were of solid cane, upholstery, or tooled leather. The feet were square, channeled, and flaring—the typical Spanish foot. Toward the end of the period the day-bed or cane sofa became fashionable, with ornamental details closely following those of the chairs.

Long, oak dining-tables, showing more refinement than formerly in the turning of legs and struts, and with carved aprons, belong to this period, but these gave place to tables with two swinging leaves. The most noteworthy table of this type, and one of the most interesting introductions of the period, was the

Small table, late Jacobean, of oak and walnut, showing the popular spiral turning

An oak gate-leg table of about 1685. with carved legs and supports. Turned legs were more common

Oak wainscot chair of about ,650. showing A ^l^Ttle^i "and «5™?

M carving1" " "" baTk^nd^h^Kh^t ish fooi'in front gate-leg table, made usually in oak or walnut. It was usually round, though sometimes oval or rectangular, with occasionallj^^Ja^der carved around the top in low relief. It jjgflj^Hoied underbraces and supports, and six or more ftrned legs, two or four of which could be opened like gates to support the drop leaves.

Another noteworthy product is found in the beautiful cupboards, cabinets, chests 6f drawers, and clock cases of the period, usually of walnut and inlaid in elaborate and intricate patterns. The beds, however, were still heavy four-posters, with clumsy testers and stuffy hangings.

Walnut'was found to be a much better medium than oak for work of this kind, and by the time of James II's reign it had practically driven out the coarser-grained wood as the fashionable material.

The period of the Restoration, therefore, was marked by a distinct change in furniture styles, with greater luxury, grace, and ornateness. When William of Orange ascended the throne of England in 1689, ^e styles underwent further changes, and a new^period of so-called Anglo-Dutch furniture was inaugurated.

CH^JFR IX

ANGLO-DUTCH (1689-1720)

FOLLOWING the abdication of James II of England, furniture styles underwent a marked change. A strong foreign influence was felt, partly French, partly Dutch, causing alterations in taste which marked the next two reigns, with a gradual but steady tendency to assimilate and nationalize these foreign elements.

The so-called Anglo-Dutch period includes the reigns of William and Mary (1689-1702) and Queen Anne (1702-1714), and part of the reign of George I (1714-1727).

It has always seemed to me that the furniture of the reign of William and Mary has received less attention than it deserved. I have found it commonly confused with that of Queen Anne, though in many fundamental respects it is quite different. If not entirely graceful, it is at least interesting, and it is not to be neglected by the student of style development. Indeed, I find that William and Mary re-

productions are now becoming more popular with the American furniture trade than ever before.

When William, the Stadtholder of the United Netherlands, ascended the throne of England as the consort of Queen Mary, he brought with him all his love for the styles and workmanship of the Low Countries. At first the vogue was largely for Flemish features, but the purely Dutch soon gained the ascendency. Ideas and workmen were imported from Holland, the commercial relations between the two countries being very close at the time.

The period was one in which foreign influences were paramount—not merely Dutch, but French also. Following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, many Huguenot refugees found their way into England, and among them were designers and artisans who brought with them the styles of Louis XIV, for which the way had already been prepared during the reigns of Charles II and James II. The chief of these was Daniel Marot, who left France in 1686, went to live in Holland, was summoned to England by William in 1690, and became the royal architect. He clung to the styles of Louis XIV, and his influence on English decorative art was very powerful for the next ten or fifteen years. We find, therefore, a decided French ele-

ment in the styles of the first half of the so-called Anglo-Dutch period.

In general, it may be said that the furniture produced during the reign of William and Mary was better suited to domestic uses than any that had preceded it. It was lighter, more comfortable, and characterized by greater simplicity. Curves appeared more abundantly, though not so universally as during the following reign. Marquetry continued to be used on all flat surfaces in place of carved panels, that being a favorite art among the Dutch. Carving, indeed, almost disappeared on the purely Dutch pieces, though panels made of mouldings were used, and carving was employed on the furniture of the French type. Toward the end of the century japanning became popular, and walnut veneering was not uncommon.

Chinese objects were imported, as a result of the growing East India trade, and collecting became a fad. This influence was reflected in the japanning and the fret designs which were sometimes used, though the Chinese craze did not reach its height until about 1740.

The chairs of this period are interesting as representing many variations in the transition from the chairs of the Restoration to those of a truly Dutch

type. The rectangular panel in the chair-backs was dropped; the chair-backs were tilted backward and were often shaped to fit the body, and upholstery became more common.

The typical leg to be found on William and Mary chairs, tables, and chests of drawer;, was straight and rather heavily turned, often with an inverted cup-shaped or bell-shaped ornament, and the legs were frequently joined by curved underbraces.

Perhaps the most interesting of the chairs of the period were those that followed ^the Franco-Dutch designs of Daniel Marot. They had usually four turned legs with curved underbraces, upholstered seats, and solid backs, ornamentally shaped at the top and filled with cane or with carving. In the general character of their design they were strongly Louis XIV. Marot also designed elaborate bedsteads in the French manner, with heavily draped canopies.

Various forms of tables were in use, on which walnut veneering was often used, and inlay in pear, sycamore, maple, cherry, etc. Walnut card-tables were introduced, both solid and veneered, and both large and small tables, with round, oblong, square, or scalloped tops. The larger ones were used for dining, as the gate-leg table went out of fashion.

The William and Mary form of the high chest of drawers, which was the forerunner of the highboy, was raised from the floor on six legs, often turned with the cup-shaped form, with round feet, and with variously shaped underbracing. The upper portion was severely square, and the top cornice straight and flat. Sometimes the drawers were paneled with moulding, and sometimes the flat surfaces were enriched with more or less elaborate marquetry.

Oak, chestnut, beech, and walnut were all used during this period, but chiefly the walnut.

The style of the reign of William and Mary was, indeed, a mixed style, the style of a transition period. But by the end of the century this transition had been passed and purely Dutch styles were in the ascendency. Then, in 1702, began the brief but strongly marked reign of Queen Anne, and the foreign elements were at length assimilated and a genuine English style was developed on the Dutch lines.

The year 1700, indeed, roughly marks the dividing line between what may be called the ancient and the modern types of furniture. Straight lines melted into curves. The turned leg was superseded by the cabriole. Underbracing disappeared. More attention began to be paid to form than to ornament.

During the reign of Queen Anne, carving was employed to some extent, but in simpler forms than during the Restoration period, and it was cut on the surface, instead of forming the outlines. Common ornamental details included the shell, mascaron, cartouche, swags of flowers, acanthus leaves, and some classical designs.

Highboys, cabinets, bureaus, small tables, and large chairs were the more noteworthy productions of the period. Furniture was made in walnut, oak, beech, holly, birch, and yew, but walnut continued to hold the leading place. Veneer continued popular and, to some extent, marquetry. The cabriole leg was used everywhere—on chairs, tables, highboys, lowboys, etc., with the round, Dutch, or splay foot. Occasionally the cabriole was given a shell ornament at the knee, though usually it was underrated, as walnut was not as well suited to this sort of carving as the later mahogany of Chippendale.

The Windsor chair and the straight slat-back and banister-back chairs were introduced during Queen Anne's reign, but these were the chairs of the cottagers and country people, and do not form part of the style development. The chair which most concerns us was the broad-seated, cabriole-legged fiddle-back. This was the chair of fashion, built usually of walnut, sometimes plain and sometimes decorated. It was the forerunner of Chippendale's styles. Usually the front legs were cabriole, the back legs being simple curves or straight. Shell ornaments sometimes appeared on the knees, at the center of the front of the seat, and at the middle of the top of the back. The backs were high, curved to fit the back of the sitter, and the outline formed a'continuous curve. In the center of the back appeared a solid vase-shaped, fiddle-shaped, or lyre-shaped splat. The seats were broad, flat, and upholstered, and were usually shaped in curves both on front and sides, with rounded corners.

The roundabout, or corner-chair, which had its beginnings in the turned chairs of the sixteenth century, became popular during the early years of the eighteenth century. It was a square chair, standing cornerwise, with semicircular back and arms running around two sides, and the fourth corner and leg in front. The Queen Anne type had cabriole legs, with upright spindles in the back, or three uprights and two splats, as did Chippendale's roundabouts later, only the Queen Anne splats were solid and Chippendale's were pierced. The seats were rush, wooden, or upholstered.

Queen Anne tables include a number of light [106]

e ^ , rk* . n vc<?. t forms of tea-tables and card-tables in walnut, cherry, and other woods, with four cabriole legs. Tea-table with a central support and short, curved, tripod legs were now introduced for the first time, and tripod candle-stands. An early form of writing-table also appeared.

The highboy became increasingly popular, the six turned legs of the William and Mary chest of drawers giving place to four short cabriole legs without underbracing. At first the top was straight, with a cornice, or sometimes with a double arch effect; then the broken-arch pediment made its appearance. Inlay of pear, holly, sycamore, and other woods was often used on the fronts and sides of cabinets and highboys. There was also the lowboy, or dressing table, and a Dutch type of bookcase desk.

It was during the transition period that walnut turned the scepter over to mahogany. New style influences were at work which gradually developed into the fashions of the Georgian period.

0 0

Post a comment