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THIRD EDITION - - - 1893 



Truslove and Bray 

West Norwood S E 


W'nii Painted Decoration. 

JAN 5 1942 






An Old English "Grandfather' Clock. 

Late XVIII. Centoj 
(See pp. 121-2.) 



N the following pages the Author has placed before 
the reader an account of the changes in the 
design of Decorative Furniture and Woodwork, 
from the earliest period of which we have any reliable 
or certain record until the present time. 

A careful selection of illustrations has been made 
from examples of established authenticity, the majority 
of which are to be seen, either in the Museums to 
which reference is made, or by permission of the owners ; 
and the representations of the different "interiors" will 
convey an idea of the character and disposition of the 
Furniture of the periods to which they refer. These 
illustrations are arranged, so far as possible, in chronological 
order, and the descriptions which accompany them are 
explanatory of the historical and social changes which 
have influenced the manners and customs, and directly 
or indirectly affected the Furniture of different nations. 
An endeavour is made to produce a "panorama," which 
may prove acceptable to many, who, without wishing to 
study the subject deeply, may desire to gain some 
information with reference to it generally, or with regard 
to some part of it, in which they may feel a particular 


vi. Preface. 

It will be obvious that within the limits of a single 
volume of moderate dimensions it is impossible to give 
more than an outline sketch of many periods of design 
and taste which deserve far more consideration than is 
here bestowed upon them ; the reader is, therefore, asked 
to accept the first chapter, which refers to " Ancient 
Furniture " and covers a period of several centuries, as 
introductory to that which follows, rather than as a serious 
attempt to examine the history of the Furniture during 
that space of time. The fourth chapter, which deals with 
a period of some hundred and fifty years, from the 
time of King James the First until that of Chippendale 
and his contemporaries, and the last three chapters, are 
more fully descriptive than some others, partly because 
trustworthy information as to these times is more accessible, 
and partly because it is probable that English readers 
will feel greater interest in the Furniture of which they 
are the subject. The French mcubles de luxe, from the 
latter half of the seventeenth century until the Revolution, 
are also treated more fully than the Furniture of other 
periods and countries, on account of the interest which 
has been manifested in this description of the cabinet 
maker's and metal mounter's work during the past fifteen 
or twenty years. There is evidence of this appreciation in 
the enormous prices realised at notable auction sales, when 
such Furniture has been offered for competition to wealthy 

In order to gain a more correct idea of the design 
of Furniture of different periods, it has been necessary 

Preface. vii. 

to notice the alterations in architectural styles which 
influenced, and were accompanied by, corresponding changes 
in the fashion of interior woodwork. Such comments are 
made with some diffidence, as it is felt that this branch 
of the subject would have received more fitting treatment 
by an architect, who was also an antiquary, than by 
an antiquary with only a limited knowledge of archi- 

Some works on "Furniture" have taken the word 
in its French interpretation, to include everything that 
is " movable " in a house ; other writers have combined 
with historical notes, critical remarks and suggestions as 
to the selection of Furniture. The Author has not 
presumed to offer any such advice, and has confined his 
attention to a description of that which, in its more 
restricted sense, is understood as " Decorative Furniture 
and Woodwork." For his own information, and in the 
pursuit of his business, he has been led to investigate 
the causes and the approximate dates of the several 
changes in taste which have taken place, and has recorded 
them in as simple and readable a story as the difficulties 
of the subject permit. 

Numerous acts of kindness and co-operation, received 
while preparing the work for the Press, have rendered 
the task very pleasant ; and while the Author has en- 
deavoured to acknowledge, in a great many instances, 
the courtesies received, when noticing the particular occasion 
on which such assistance was rendered, he would desire 
generally to record his thanks to the owners of historic 

viii. Preface. 

mansions, the officials of our Museums, the Clerks of 
City Companies, Librarians, and others, to whom he is 
indebted. The views of many able writers who have 
trodden the same field of enquiry have been adopted 
where they have been confirmed by the writer's experience 
or research, and in these cases he hopes he has not 
omitted to express his acknowledgments for the use he 
has made of them. 

The large number of copies subscribed for, accompanied, 
as many of the applications have been, by expressions 
of goodwill, and confidence beforehand, have been very 
gratifying, and have afforded great encouragement during 
the preparation of the work. 

If the present venture is received in such a way as 
to encourage a larger effort, the writer hopes both to 
multiply examples and extend the area of his observations. 

F. L. 

32, St. James's Street, S.W. 



Biblical References : Solomon's House and Temple — Palace of Ahasuerus. Assyrian 
Furniture : Nimrod's Palace — Mr. George Smith quoted. Egyptian Furniture : 
Specimens in the British Museum— The Workman's Stool — Various Articles of Domestic 
Furniture — Dr. Birch quoted. Greek Furniture : The Bas-reliefs in the British 
Museum — The Chest of Cypselus — Laws and Customs of the Greeks— House of 
Alcibiades — Plutarch quoted. Roman Furniture : Position of Rome -The Roman 
House — Cicero's Table — Thyine Wood— Customs of wealthy Romans — Downfall of the 


Period of 1,000 years from Fall of Rome, a d. 476, to Capture of Constantinople, 1453 — 
The Crusades — Influence of Christianity — Chairs of St. Peter and Maximian at Rome, 
Ravenna, and Venice — Edict of Leo III. prohibiting Image worship— The Rise of 
Venice— Charlemagne and his successors — The Chair of Dagobert— Byzantine character 
of Furniture — Norwegian carving — Russian and Scandinavian — The Anglo-Saxons — 
Sir Walter Scott quoted— Descriptions of Anglo-Saxon Houses and Customs— Art in 
Flemish Cities— Gothic Architecture— The Coronation Chair at Westminster Abbey — 
Penshurst — French Furniture in the 14th Century- Description of rooms— The South 
Kensington Museum— Transition from Gothic to Renaissance— German carved work; 
the Credence, the Buffet, and Dressoir 17 


The Renaissance in Italy : Leonardo da Vinci and Raffaelle— Church of St. Peter, contem- 
porary great artists— The Italian Palazzo — Methods of gilding, inlaying and mounting 
Furniture — Pietra-dura and other enrichments— Ruskin's criticism. The Renaissance 
in France: Francois I. and the Chateau of Fontainebleau- Influence on Courtiers- 
Chairs of the time -Design of Cabinets— M. E. Bonnaffe on The Renaissance— Bedstead 
of Jeanne d'Albret— Deterioration of taste in time of Henry IV.— Louis XIII. Furniture 
— Brittany woodwork. The Renaissance in the Netherlands : Influence of the 
House of Burgundy on Art — The Chimney-piece at Bruges, and other casts of 


specimens at South Kensington Museum. The Renaissance in Spain : The resources 
of Spain in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries — Influence of Saracenic Art — High- 
backed Leather Chairs, the Carthusian Convent at Granada. The Renaissance in 
Germany : Albrecht Diirer — Famous Steel Chair of Augsburg — German seventeenth 
century carving in St. Saviour's Hospital. The Renaissance in England : Influence 
of Foreign Artists in the time of Henry VIII.— End of Feudalism— Hampton Court 
Palace — Linen Pattern Panels - Woodwork in the Henry VII Chapel at Westminster 
Abbey — Livery Cupboards at Hengrave — Harrison quoted — The "parler," alteration in 
English customs - Chairs of the sixteenth century — Coverings and Cushions of the 
time, extract from old inventory — South Kensington Cabinet — Elizabethan Mirror at 
Goodrich Court — Shaw's " Ancient Furniture" — The Glastonbury Chair — Introduction of 
Frames into England — Characteristics of Native Woodwork — Famous Country Mansions 
— Alteration in design of Woodwork and Furniture - Panelled Rooms at South Kensington 
— The Charterhouse — Gray's Inn Hall and Middle Temple — The Hall of the Carpenters' 
Company — The Great Bed of Ware — Shakespeare's Chair— Penshurst Place 


English Home Life in the Reign of James I. — Sir Henry Wotton quoted — Inigo Jcnes and 
his work — Ford Castle— Chimney Pieces in South Kensington Museum— Table in the 
Carpenters' Hall— Hall of the Barbers' Company — The Charterhouse — Time of Charles I. 
— Furniture at Knole — Eagle House, Wimbledon — Mr. Charles Eastlake — Monuments at 
Canterbury and Westminster— Settles, Couches, and Chairs of the Stuart period — 
Sir Paul Pindar's House— Cromwellian Furniture — The Restoration — Indo-Portuguese 
Furniture— Hampton Court Palace — Evelyn's description — The Great Fire of London — 
Hall of the Brewers' Company — Oak Panelling of the time — Grinling Gibbons and his 
work — The Edict of Nantes — Silver Furniture at Knole— William III. and Dutch 
influence— Queen Anne — Sideboards, Bureaus, and Grandfather's Clocks - Furniture at 
Hampton Court.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 91 


Chinese Furniture : Probable source of artistic taste — Sir William Chambers quoted — 
Racinet's " Le Costume Historique " — Dutch Influence — The South Kensington and 
the late Duke of Edinburgh Collections — Processes of making Lacquer — Screens in the 
Kensington Museum. Japanese Furniture : Early History — Sir Rutherford Alcock 
and Lord Elgin — The Collection of the Shogun— Famous Collections — Action of the 
present Government of Japan — Special characteristics. Indian Furniture : Early 
European influence — Furniture of the Moguls — Racinet's Work— Bombay Furniture — 
Ivory Chairs and Tables — Specimens in the India Museum. Persian Woodwork : 
Collection of Objets d'Art formed by General Murdoch Smith, R.E. — Industrial Arts 
of the Persians — Arab influence — South Kensington Specimens. Saracenic Woodwork : 
Oriental customs— Specimens in the South Kensington Museum of Arab Work — 
M. d'Aveune's Work .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..125 


Palace of Versailles : " Grand " and " Petit Trianon " — The three Styles of Louis XIV., 
XV., and XVI. - Colbert and Lebrun — Andre Charles Boule and his Work — Carved 
and Gilt Furniture — The Regency and its Influence — Alteration in Condition of French 
Society— Watteau, Lancret, and Boucher. Louis XV. Furniture : Famous Ebenistes — 
Vernis Martin Furniture — Caffieri and Gouthiere Mountings — Sevres Porcelain introduced 
into Cabinets— Gobelins Tapestry — The "Bureau du Roi." Louis XVI. and Marie 
Antoinette : The Queen's Influence — The Painters Chardin and Greuze — More simple 
Designs — Characteristic Ornaments of Louis XVI. Furniture — Riesener's Work — 
Gouthiere's Mountings — Specimens in the Louvre— The Hamilton Palace Sale — French 
influence upon the design of furniture in other countries — The Jones Collection — 
Extract from the "Times" .. 


Chinese Styles— Sir William Chambers— The Brothers Adams' work — Pergolesi, Cipriani, and 
Angelica Kauffmann — Architects of the time — Wedgwood and Flaxman — Chippendale's 
Work and his Contemporaries — Chair in the Barbers' Hall — Lock, Shearer, Hepplewhite, 
Ince, Mayhew, Sheraton — Introduction of Satinwood and Mahogany — Gillows, of Lancaster 
and London — History of the Sideboard — The Dining Room — Furniture of the time .. 173 


The French Revolution and the First Empire — Influence on design of Napoleon's Campaigns 
— The Cabinet presented to Marie Louise — Dutch Furniture of the time — English 
Furniture — Sheraton's later work — Thomas Hope, architect — George Smith's designs — 
Fashion during the Regency— Gothic revival — Seddon's furniture — Other makers — 
Influence on design of the Restoration in France — Furniture of William IV. and early- 
part of Queen Victoria's reign— Baroque and Rococo styles— The Panelling of Rooms, 
Dado, and Skirting — The Art Union— The Society of Arts — Sir Charles Barry and the 
new Palace of Westminster — Pugin's designs — Auction Prices of Furniture— Christie's 
—The London Club Houses — Steam — Different Trade Customs--Exhibitions in France 
and England — Harry Rogers' work — The late Queen's cradle — State of Art in England 
during the first part of Queen Victoria's reign — Continental designs -Italian carving- 
Cabinet work — General remarks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201 


The Great Exhibition : -Exhibitors and contemporary Cabinet Makers — Exhibition of 1862, 
London; 1867, Paris ; and subsequently — Description of Illustrations— Fourdinois, Wright 
and Mansfield— The South Kensington Museum— Talbert's Work — Revival of Marquetry 
— Comparison of Present Day with that of a Hundred Years ago— ^Estheticism— Traditions 
— Trades-Unionism — The Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society — Kensington School of 
Woodcarving— Independence of Furniture— Present Fashions — Writers on Design— The 
New Renaissance — " Trade " Journals— Modern Furniture in other Countries — Concluding 
Remarks .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 229 

xii. Contents. 



Lists of Artists and Manufacturers of Furniture — Woods — Tapestry used for French 

Furniture — The processes of Gilding and Polishing — The Pianoforte .. .. .. 251 

Index .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 268 

Carved Oak Napkin Press. 

Lent to the South Kensington Museum by II. Farrer, Esq. 

Early XVII. Century. 



Colored Frontispiece 

"Grandfather" Clock.. 

A Seventeenth Century Napkin Press 

Vignette of Bas-Relief— Egyptian Seated, as Ornament to Initial 

Assyrian Bronze Throne and Footstool .. 

Chairs from Khorsabad and Xanthus and Assyrian Throne 

Repose of King Asshurbanipal 

Examples of Egyptian Furniture in the British Museum : Stool 

for a Vase ; Head Rest or Pillow ; Workman's Stool ; Vase on a 

Folding Stool ; Ebony Seat inlaid with ivory 
An Egyptian of High Rank Seated 
An Egyptian Banquet 
Chair with Captives as Supports 
Bacchus and Attendants visiting Icarus.. 
Greek Bedstead with a Table 
Greek Furniture . 
Interior of an Ancient Roman House 
A Roman Study .. 
Roman Scamnum or Bench 
Roman Bisellium, or Seat for Two Persons 
Roman Couch, generally of Bronze 
Bronze Lamp and Stand 
Roman Triclinium, or Dining Room 

facing Title 









Vignette of Gothic Oak Armoire, as Ornament to Initial Letter 

Chair of St. Peter, Rome 

Dagobert Chair .. 

A Carved Norwegian Doorway 

Scandinavian Chair 

Cover of a Casket carved in Whalebone 

Saxon House (IX. Century) 

Anglo-Saxon Furniture of about the X. Century 

The Seat on the Dais 

Saxon State Bed.. 

English Folding Chair (XIV. Century) 

Cradle of Henry V. 

Coronation Chair, Westminster Abbey 

Chair in York Minster.. 

Two Chairs of the XV. Century 

Table at Penshurst 




Bedroom (XIV. Century) 

Carved Oak Bedstead and Chair 

Interior of a Bedroom — "The New Born Infant" 

Portrait of Christine de Pisan 

State Banquet, with Attendant Musicians (two woodcuts) 

A High Backed Chair (XV. Century) 

Medieval Bed and Bedroom 
A Scribe or Copyist 
Two German Chairs 

Carved Oak Buffet (French Gothic) 

Old English Oak Buffet 

Flemish Buffet .. 

A Tapestried Room 

A Carved Oak Seat 

Interior of Apothecary's Shop 

Dwelling Room of a French Chateau 

Court of the Ladies of Queen Anne of Brittany 


. facing 



folloiving 46 


Vignette of the Caryatides Cabinets, as Ornament to Init 
Reproduction of Decoration by Raffaelle 

Salon of M. Bonaffe 

A Sixteenth Century Room 

Chair in Carved Walnut 

Venetian Centre Table 

Marriage Coffer in Carved Walnut 

Marriage Coffer 

Pair of Italian Carved Bellows 

Carved Italian Mirror Frame, XVI. Century 

A Sixteenth Century Coffre-fort 

Italian Coffer 
Italian Chairs 
Ebony Cabinet 

Venetian State Chair 

Ornamental Panelling in St. Vincent's Church, Rouen 

Chimney Piece (Fontainebleau) 

Carved Oak Panel (1577) 

Fac Similes of Engravings on Wood 
Carved Oak Bedstead of Jeanne D'Albret 

Carved Oak Cabinet, XVI. Century 

Carved Oak Cabinet (Lyons) 

Louis XIII. and His Court 

Decoration of a Salon in Louis XIII. Style 

An Ebony Armoire (Flemish Renaissance) 

A Barber's Shop and a Flemish Workshop (XVI. Century) 

A Flemish Citizen at Meals.. 

Sedan Chair of Charles V. . . 

Silver Table (Windsor Castle) 

Chair of Walnut or Chestnut Wood, Spanish, with Embosse 


















.. facing 














. . facing 







d Leather 1 



Wooden Coffer (XVI. Century) 
The Steel Chair (Longford Castle) 
German Carved Oak Buffet 
Carved Oak Chest 
Chair of Anna Boleyn 
Tudor Cabinet 
The Glastonbury Chair.. 
Carved Oak Elizabethan Bedstead.. 
Oak Wainscoting .. 
Dining Hall in the Charterhouse .. 
Screen in the Hall of Gray's Inn.. 
Hall of Gray's Inn- 
Carved Oak Panels (Carpenters' Hall) 
Part of an Elizabethan Staircase .. 
The Entrance Hall, Hardwick Hall 
Shakespeare's Chair 
The "Great Bed of Ware" .. 
The "Queen's Room," Penshurst Place 
Carved Oak Chimney Piece in Speke Hall 








facing 88 



A Chair of XVII. Century, as Ornament to Initial Letter 

Oak Chimney Piece in Sir W. Raleigh's House 

Chimney Piece in Byfleet House 

"The King's Chamber," Ford Castle 

Centre Table (Carpenters' Hall) 

Carved Oak Chairs 

Oak Chimney Piece from Lime Street, City 

Oak Sideboard 

Seats at Knole 

Arm Chair, Knole 

The "Spangle" Bedroom, Knole 

Couch, Chair, and Single Chair (Penshurst Place) 

"Folding" and " Drawinge " Table 

Chairs, Stuart Period .. 

Chair used by Charles I. during his Trial 

Settle of Carvfd Oak .. 

Two Carved Oak Chairs 

Staircase in General Ireton's House 

Settee and Chair (Penshurst Place) 

Sedes Busbiana 

The Master's Chair in the Brewers' Hall 

Carved Oak "Livery" Cupboard 

Three Chairs from Hampton Court, Hardwicke, and 

Carved Oak Screen in Stationers' Hall.. 

Silver Furniture at Knole 

Three Chimney Pieces by James Gibbs 

Chair in Holland House, designed by Cleyn .. 


er .. 








• facing 



. facing 




. facing 




. facing 





. facing 


■ facing 





Pattern of a Chinese Lac Screen 

An Eastern (Saracenic) Table, as Ornament to Initial Letter 

Japanese Cabinet of Red Chased Lacquer-work 

Casket of Indian Lacquer Work 

Door of Carved Sandal Wood from Travancore 

Persian Incense Burner of Engraved Brass 

Governor's Palace, Manfalut 

Specimen of Saracenic Panelling 

Carved Door of Syrian Work 

Shaped Panel of Saracenic Work .. 


I2 4 
I 4 I 


Boule Armoire (Hamilton Palace) 

Vignette of a Louis Quatorze Commode, as O 

Boule Armoire (Jones Collection) 

Pedestal Cabinet by Boule (Jones Collection) 

A Concert in the Reign of Louis XIV. . . 

A Boudoir (Louis XIV. Period) 

Decoration of a Salon in the Louis XIV. Sty 

A Boule Commode 

French Sedan Chair 

A Screen Panel by Watteau.. 

Carved and Gilt Console Table 

Louis XV. " Fauteuil " (Carved and Gilt) 

Louis XV. Commode (Jones Collection) 

A Parqueterie Commode 

Part of a Salon (Louis XV.) 

"Bureau du Roi " 

Part of a Salon in Louis XVI. Style 

A Marqueterie Cabinet (Jones Collection) . . 

Writing Table (Riesener) 

The "Marie Antoinette" Writing Table 

Bedstead of Marie Antoinette 

A Cylinder Secretaire (Rothschild Collection) 

An Arm Chair (Louis XVI.) 

Carved and Gilt Settee and Arm Chair . . 

A Sofa en Suite 

A Marqueterie Escritoire (Jones Collection) 
A Norse Interior, shewing French Influence 
A Secretaire with Sevres Plaques.. 
A Clock by Robin (Jones Collection) 
Harpsichord, about 1750 

nament to In 


Letter .. 









Vignette of a Chippendale Girandole, as Ornament to Initial Letter . . 173 

Fac-Simile of Drawings by Robert Adam.. .. .. .. .. .. 175 

English Satin Wood Dressing Table following 176 


Chimney-piece and Overmantel, designed by W. Thomas .. following 

Two Chippendale Chairs in the "Chinese" Style 

Fac simile of Title Page of Chippendale's " Gentleman and Cabinet 

Maker's Director".. 
Two Book Cases from Chippendale's "Director" .. .. .. facing 

Tea Caddy Carved in the French Style (Chippendale) 

A Bureau from Chippendale's "Director" 

A Design for a State Bed from Chippendale's "Director" following 

" French " Commode and Lamp Stands 

Bed Pillars 

Chimney-piece and Mirror 

Parlour Chairs by Chippendale 

Clock Case by Chippendale 

China Shelves, designed by W. Ince 

Girandoles and Pier Table, designed by W. Thomas.. 

Parlour Chairs, designed by W. Ince 

Ladies' Secretaires, designed by W. Ince 

Desk and Bookcase, designed by W. Ince 

China Cabinet, designed by J. Mayhew .. 

"Dressing Chairs," designed by J. Mayhew 

Designs of Furniture from Hepplewhite's "Guide".. 

Plan of a Room (Hepplewhite) 

Inlaid Tea Caddy and Tops of Pier Tables, from I 

" Guide " 
Kneehole Table by Sheraton 
Chairs by Sheraton- 
Cabinet and Bookcase with Secretaire, by Sheraton 
Chair Backs, from Sheraton's "Cabinet Maker" 
A Sidebboard in the Style of Robert Adam 
Toilet Glass and Urn Stands 
Carved Jardiniere by Chippendale . . 

.. facing 









Vignette of an Empire Tripod, as Ornament to Initial Letter 
Cabinet Presented to Marie Louise 
Stool and Arm Chair (Napoleon I. Period) 
Nelson's Chairs by Sheraton- 
Drawing Room Chair, designed by Sheraton- 
Drawing Room Chair 
"Canopy Bed" by Sheraton .. 
"Sisters' Cylinder Bookcase" by Sheraton- 
Sideboard and Sofa Table (Sheraton) 
Design of a Room by T. Hope 

Library Fauteuil, from Smith's "Book of Designs".. 
Parlor Chairs 
Bookcase by Sheraton 

Drawing Room Chairs, from Smith's Book 
Prie-Dieu in Carved Oak, designed by Mr. Pugin 
Secretaire and Bookcase (German Gothic Style) 




. . facini 




2I 4 


Cradle for H.M. Queen Victoria, by H. Rogers 

Design for a Tea Caddy by J. Strudwick 

Design for one of the Wings of a Sideboard by W. Holmes 

Design for a Work Table by H. Fitzcook 

Venetian Stool of Carved Walnut 





Examples of Design in Furniture in the 1S51 Exhibition: — 

Sideboard, in Carved Oak, by Gillow .. .. .. following 228 

Chimney-Piece and Bookcase by Holland and Sons .. ,, 228 

Cabinet by Crace .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ,, 228 

Bookcase by Jackson and Graham .. .. .. .. ,, 228 

Grand Pianoforte by Broadwood .. .. .. .. ,, 228 

Vignette of a Cabinet, Modern Jacobean Style, as Ornament to Initial 

Letter.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 229 

Lady's Escritoire by Wettli, Berne.. .. .. .. .. .. 230 

Lady's Work Table and Screen in Papier Mache . . . . . . 232 

Sideboard (Sir Walter Scott) by Cookes, Warwick . . following 232 

A State Chair by Jancowski, York .. .. .. .. ,, 232 

Sideboard, in Carved Oak, by Durant, Paris .. .. ,, 232 

Bedstead, in Carved Ebony, by Roule, Antwerp.. .. ,, 232 

Pianoforte, by Leistler, Vienna .. .. .. .. ,, 232 

Bookcase in Lime Tree, by Leistler, Vienna .. .. ,, 232 

Cabinet, with Bronze and Porcelain, by Gambs, St. Petersburg ,, 232 

Casket of Ivory, with Ormolu Mountings, by Matifat, Paris . . 233 

Table and Chair, in the Classic Style, by Capello, Turin . . . . 234 

Cabinet of Ebony, with Carnelions, by Litchfield and Radclyffe (1862 

Exhibition, Paris) .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 235 

Cabinet of Ebony, with Boxwood Carvings, by Fourdinois, Paris (1867 

Exhibition, London) .. .. .. .. .. .. .. following 236 

Cabinet of Satinwood, with Wedgwood Plaques, by Wright and 

Mansfield (1867 Exhibition, Paris) .. .. .. .. following 236 

Cabinet of Ebony and Ivory by Andrea Picchi, Florence (1867 Exhibition, 

Paris) .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. following 236 

Dining Room by Bruce J. Talbert .. .. .. .. .. .. facing 238 

The Ellesmere Cabinet .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 243 

The Saloon at Sandringham House . . . . . . . . folloaing 244 

The Drawing Room at Sandringham House .. .. .. ,, 244 

Carved Frame by Radspieler, Munich .. .. .. .. .. .. 24S 


Hncient jfurnituve. 

Biblical Refer knces : Solomon's House and Temple — Palace of Ahasuerus. Assyrian 
Furniture: Nimrod's Palace — Mr. George Smith quoted. Egyptian Furniture: 
Specimens in the British Museum — The Workman's Stool — Various Articles of Domestic 
Furniture — Dr. Birch quoted. Greek Furniture : The Bas-reliefs in the British 
Museum — The Chest of Cypselus — Laws and Customs of the Greeks — House of Alcibiades — 
Plutarch quoted. Roman Furniture : Position of Rome — The Roman House — Cicero's 
Table — Thyine Wood — Customs of wealthy Romans — Downfall of the Empire. 


H E first well-known reference to woodwork is 
to be found in the Book of Genesis, in 
the instructions given to Noah to make 
an Ark of gopher* wood, " to make a 
window," to " pitch it within and without 
with pitch," and to observe definite 
measurements. From the specific direc- 
tions thus handed down to us, we may 
gather that mankind had acquired at a 
very early period of the world's history 
a knowledge of the different kinds of 
wood, and of the use of tools. 

We know, too, from the bas-reliefs 
and papyri in the British Museum, how 
'advanced were the Ancient Egyptians in 
the arts of civilization, and that the 
manufacture of comfortable and even luxurious furniture was not 
neglected. In them, the Hebrews must have had excellent workmen for 
teachers and taskmasters, to have enabled them to acquire sufficient skill 
and experience to earn- out such precise instructions as were given for 
the erection of the Tabernacle, some 1,500 years before Christ — as to 
the kinds of wood, measurements, ornaments, fastenings (" loops and 

* Gopher is supposed to mean cypress wood. See Notes on Woods (Appendix). 


taches "), curtains of linen, and coverings of dried skins. We have only 
to turn for a moment to the 25th chapter of Exodus to be convinced 
that all the directions there mentioned were given to a people who had 
considerable experience in the methods of carrying out work, which must 
have resulted from some generations of carpenters, joiners, weavers, dyers, 
goldsmiths, and other craftsmen. 

A thousand years before Christ, we have those descriptions of the 
building and fitting by Solomon of the glorious work of his reign, the 
great Temple, and of his own, " the King's house," which gathered from 
different countries the most skilful artificers of the time, an event which 
marks an era of advance in the knowledge and skill of those who were thus 
brought together to do their best work towards carrying out the grand 
scheme. It is worth while, too, when we are referring to Old Testament 
information bearing upon the subject, to notice some details of furniture 
which are given, with their approximate dates as generally accepted, 
not because there is any particular importance attached to the precise 
chronology of the events concerned, but because, speaking generally, they 
form landmarks in the history of furniture. One of these is the verse 
(2 Kings chap, iv.) which tells us the contents of the " little chamber 
in the wall," when Elisha visited the Shunammite, about B.C. S95 ; and 
we are told of the preparations for the reception of the prophet : " And 
let us set for him there a bed and a table and a stool and a 
candlestick." Another incident is some 420 years later, when, in the 
allusion to the grandeur of the Palace of Ahasuerus, we catch a glimpse 
of Eastern magnificence in the description of the drapery which furnished 
the apartment : " Where were white, green, and blue hangings, fastened 
with cords of fine linen and purple, to silver rings and pillars of marble ; 
the beds were of gold and silver, upon a pavement of red and blue and 
white and black marble." (Esther i. 6.) 

There are, unfortunately, no trustworthy descriptions of ancient 
Hebrew furniture. The illustrations in Kitto's Bible, Mr. Henry Soltau's 
"The Tabernacle, the Priesthood, and the Offerings," and other similar 
books, are apparently drawn from imagination, founded on descriptions in 
the Old Testament. In these, the "table for shew-bread " is generally 
represented as having legs partly turned, with the upper portions square, 
to which rings were attached for the poles by which it was carried. As a 
nomadic people, their furniture would be but primitive, and we may take it 
that as the Jews and Assyrians came from the same stock, and spoke the 
same language, such ornamental furniture as there was would, with the 
exception of the representations of figures of men or of animals, be of 
a similar character. 


The discoveries which have been made in the oldest seat of monarchical 
government in the world, by such enterprising travellers as Sir Austin 
Layard, Mr. George Smith, and others who have thrown so much light 
upon domestic life in Nineveh, are full of interest in connection with 
this branch of the subject. We learn from these authorities that the 
furniture was ornamented with the heads of lions, bulls, and rams ; tables 

^J=*-- • 

Part of Assyrian Bronze Throne and Footstool, about b.c. 888, Reign of Asshurnazirpal. 
(Front a Photo by Man sell &■ Co. of the Original in the British Museum ) 

thrones, and couches were made of metal and wood, and probably inlaid 
with ivory ; the earliest chair, according to Sir Austin Layard, having 
been made without a back, and the legs terminating in lion's feet or 
bull's hoofs. Some were of gold, others of silver and bronze. On the 
monuments of Rhorsabad, representations have been discovered of chairs 
supported by animals, and by human figures, probably those of prisoners. 


In the British Museum is a bronze throne, found by Sir A. Layard 
amidst the ruins of Nimrod's Palace, which shews ability of high order 
for skilled metal work. 

Mr. Smith, the famous Assyrian excavator and translator of cuniform 
inscriptions, has told us in his "Assyrian Antiquities" of his finding close 
to the site of Nineveh, portions of a crystal throne somewhat similar in 
design to the bronze one mentioned above, and in another part of this 
interesting book we have a description of an interior that is useful in 
assisting us to form an idea of the condition of houses of a date which 
can be correctly assigned to B.C. 860 : — " Altogether in this place I 
opened six chambers, all of the same character, the entrances ornamented 
by clusters of square pilasters, and recesses in the rooms in the same 
style ; the walls were colored in horizontal bands of red, green, and 

Assyrian Chair from 
(In the British Museum.) 

Assyrian Chair from 


(In the British Museum.) 

Assyrian Throne. 
(In the British Museum. 

yellow, and where the lower parts of the chambers were panelled with 
small stone slabs, the plaster and colours were continued over these." 
Then follows a description of the drainage arrangements, and finally we 
have Mr. Smith's conclusion that this was a private dwelling for the wives 
and families of kings, together with the fact that on the other side of 
the bricks he found the legend of Shalmeneser II. (b.c. 860), who probably 
built this palace. 

In the British Museum is an elaborate piece of carved ivory, with 
depressions to hold colored glass, etc., from Nineveh, which once formed 
part of the inlaid ornament of a throne, shewing how richly such objects 
were ornamented. This carving is said by the authorities to be of 


Egyptian origin. The treatment of figures by the Assyrians was more 
clumsy and more rigid, and their furniture generally was more massive 
than that of the Egyptians. 

An ornament often introduced into the designs of thrones and chairs 
is a conventional treatment of the tree sacred to Asshur, the Assyrian 
Jupiter; the pine cone, another sacred emblem, is also found, sometimes 
as in the illustration of the Khorsabad chair on page 4, forming an 
ornamental foot, and sometimes being part of the merely decorative 

The bronze throne, illustrated on page 3, appears to have been of 
sufficient height to require a footstool, and in "Nineveh and its Remains" 
these footstools are specially alluded to. " The feet were ornamented, like 
those of the chair, with the feet of lions or the hoofs of bulls." 

The furniture represented in the following illustration, from a bas- 
relief in the British Museum, is said to be of a period some two hundred 
zvears later than the bronze throne and footstool. 

Repose of King Asshurbanipal. 
(From a Bas-relief in the British Museum ) 



In the consideration of ancient Egyptian furniture we find valuable 
assistance in the examples carefully preserved to us, and accessible to 
every one in the British Museum, and one or two of these deserve passing 



Stand for a Vase. 
Head Rest or Pillow. 

Workman's Stool. Vase on a Stand. 

Folding Stool. Ebony Seat inlaid with Ivory. 

(From Photos by Mansell ev Co. of the Originals in the British Museum.) 

notice. Nothing can be more suitable for its purpose than the " Work- 
man's Stool :" the seat is precisely like that of a modern kitchen chair 
(all wood), slightly concaved to promote the sitter's comfort, and supported 
by three legs curving outwards. This is simple, convenient, and admirably 
adapted for long service. For a specimen of more ornamental work, the 
folding stool in the same glass case should be examined ; the supports 


(From a Photo by Man sell <~ Co. of the Original Wall Painting in ihe British Museum.) 
Period : B.C. 1500-1400. 


are crossed in a similar way to those of a modern camp-stool and the 
lower parts of the legs carved as heads of geese, with inlayings of ivory 
to assist the design and give richness to its execution. 

Portions of legs and rails, turned as if by a modern lathe, mortice 
holes and tenons, fill us with wonder as we look upon work which, at the 
most modern computation, must be 3,000 years old, and may be of a date 
still more remote. 

In the same room, arranged in cases round the wall, is a collection 
of several objects which, if scarcely to be classed under the head of 

An Egyptian Banquet. 
(From a Wall Painting at Thebes.) 

furniture, are articles of luxury and comfort, and demonstrate the 
extraordinary state of civilisation enjoyed by the old Egyptians, and 
help us to form a picture of their domestic habits. 

Amongst these are boxes, some inlaid with various woods, and also with 
little squares of bright turquoise blue pottery let in as a relief; others 
veneered with ivory ; wooden spoons carved in most intricate designs, of 
which one, representing a girl amongst lotus flowers, is a work of great 
artistic skill; boats of wood, head rests, and models of parts of houses 
and granaries, together with writing materials, different kinds of tools and 
implements, and a quantity of personal ornaments and requisites. 


" For furniture, various woods were employed, ebony, acacia, or sont, 
cedar, sycamore, and others of species not determined. Ivory, both of 
the hippopotamus and elephant, were used for inlaying, as also were glass 
pastes ; and specimens of marquetry are not uncommon. In the paintings 
in the tombs, gorgeous pictures and gilded furniture are depicted. For 
cushions and mattresses, linen cloth and colored stuffs, filled with feathers 
of the waterfowl, appear to have been used, while seats have plaited 
bottoms of linen cord or tanned and dyed leather thrown over them, and 
sometimes the skins of panthers served this purpose. For carpets they 
used mats of palm fibre, on which they often sat. On the whole an 
Egyptian house was lightly furnished, and not encumbered with so many 
articles as are in use at the present da}-." 

The above paragraph forms part of the notice with which the late 
Dr. Birch, the eminent antiquarian, formerly at the head of this depart- 
ment of the British Museum, has prefaced a catalogue of the antiquities 
alluded to. The visitor to the Museum should be careful to procure one 
of these useful and inexpensive guides to this portion of its contents. 

Some illustrations taken from ancient statues and bas-reliefs in the 
British Museum, from copies of wall paintings at Thebes and other 
sources, give us a good idea of the furniture of this ancient people. 
Amongst the group of illustrations on p. 6 will be seen a representation 
of a wooden head-rest, which prevented the disarrangement of the coiffure 
of an Egyptian lady of rank. A very similar head-rest, with a cushion 
attached for comfort to the neck, is still in common use by the Japanese 
of the present day. 

Chair with Captives as Supports. 
(From Papyrus in Biitish Museum.) 



An early reference to Greek furniture is made by Homer, who describes 
coverlids of dyed wool, tapestries, carpets, and other accessories, which 
must therefore have formed part of the contents of a great man's 
residence centuries before the period which we recognise as the 
"meridian" of Greek Art. 

In the second Vase-room of the British Museum the painting on one 
of these vases represents two persons sitting on a couch, upon which is 
a cushion of rich material, while for the comfort of the sitters there is a 
footstool, probably of ivory. Facing page 8 there is an illustration 
of a bas-relief in stone, " Bacchus received as a guest by Icarus," in 

Greek Bedstead with a Table. 
(From an old Wall Painting.) 

which the couch has turned legs and the feet are ornamented with carved 
leaf work. Illustrations of tripods used for sacred or other purposes, and 
as supports for braziers, lead us to the conclusion that tables were made 
of wood, of marble, and of metal ; also folding chairs, and couches for 
sleeping and resting, but not for reclining at meals, as was the fashion at 
a later period. In most of the designs for these various articles of 
furniture there is a similarity of treatment of the head, legs, and feet of 



Greek Furniture. 
(From Antique Bas-reliefs ) 


lions, leopards, and sphinxes to that which we have noticed in the 
Assyrian patterns. 

The description of an interesting piece of furniture may be noticed 
here, because its date is verified by its historical associations, and it was 
seen and described by Pausanias about 800 years afterwards. This is the 
famous chest of Cypselus of Corinth, the story of which runs that when 
his mother's relations, having been warned by the Oracle of Delphi, that 
her son would prove formidable to the ruling party, sought to murder 
him, his life was saved by his concealment in this chest, and he became 
ruler of Corinth for some 30 years (B.C. 655-6.25). It is said to 
have been made of cedar, carved and decorated with figures and bas- 
reliefs, some in ivory, some in gold or ivory part gilt, and inlaid on 
all four sides and on the top. 

The peculiar laws and customs of the Greeks at the time of their 
greatest prosperity were not calculated to encourage display or luxury in 
private life, or the collection of sumptuous furniture. Their manners were 
simple and their discipline was very severe. Statuary, sculpture of the 
best kind, painting of the highest merit — in a word, the best that Art 
could produce — were all dedicated to the national service in the enrich- 
ment of Temples and other public buildings, the State having indefinite 
and almost unlimited power over the property of all wealthy citizens. The 
public surroundings of an influential Athenian were therefore in direct 
contrast to the simplicity of his home, which contained the most meagre 
supply of chairs and tables, while the chefs d'ceuvre of Phidias, Apelles 
and Praxiteles adorned the Senate House, the Theatre, and the Temple. 

There were some exceptions to this rule, and we have records that 
during the later years of Greek prosperity such simplicity was not 
observed. Alcibiades is said to have been the first to have his house 
painted and decorated, and Plutarch tells us that he kept the painter 
Agatharcus a prisoner until his task was done, and then dismissed him 
with an appropriate reward. Another ancient writer relates that " The 
guest of a private house was enjoined to praise the decorations of the 
ceilings and the beauty of the curtains suspended from between the 
columns." This occurs, according to Mr. Perkins, the American translator 
of Dr. Falke's German book " Kunst im Hause," in the " Wasps of 
Aristophanes," written B.C. 422. 

The illustrations, taken from the best authorities in the British 
Museum, the National Library of Paris, and other sources, shew the 
severe style adopted by the Greeks in their furniture. 



As we are accustomed to look to Greece in the time of Pericles 
for purity of style and perfection of taste in Art, so do we naturally 
expect its gradual demoralisation in its transfer to the great Roman 
Empire. From that little village on the Palatine Hill, founded some 750 
years B.C., Rome had spread and conquered in every direction, until in the 
time of Augustus she was mistress of the whole civilized world, herself 
the centre of wealth, civilisation, luxury, and power. Antioch in the 
East, and Alexandria in the South, ranked next to her as great cities of 
the world. 

From the excavations of Herculaneum and Pompeii we have learned 
enough to conceive some general idea of the social life of a wealthy 
Roman in the time of Rome's highest prosperity. The houses had no 
upper story, but enclosed two or more quadrangles, or courts, with 
arcades into which the rooms opened, receiving air and ventilation from 
the centre open court. The illustration opposite p. 12 will give an idea 
of this arrangement. 

In Mr. Hungerford Pollen's useful handbook there is a description 
of each room in a Roman house, with its proper Latin title and 
purpose : and we know from other descriptions of Ancient Rome that 
the residences in the Imperial City were divided into two distinct 
classes — that of donius and insula, the former being the dwellings of the 
Roman nobles, and corresponding to the modern Palazzi, while the latter 
were the habitations of the middle and lower classes. Each insula 
consisted of several sets of apartments, generally let out to different 
families, and was frequently surrounded by shops. The houses described 
by Mr. Pollen appear to have had no upper story, but as ground 
became .more valuable in Rome, houses were built to such a height as 
to be a source of danger, and in the time of Augustus there were not 
only strict regulations as to building, but the height was limited to 
70 feet. The Roman furniture of the time was of the most costly kind. 
Tables were made of marble, gold, silver, and bronze, and were engraved, 
damascened, plated, and enriched with precious stones. The chief 
woods used were cedar, pine, elm, olive, ash, ilex, beech, and maple. 
Ivor}- was much used, and not onlv were the arms and legs of couches 
and chairs carved to represent the limbs of animals, as has been noted 
in the Assyrian, Egyptian, and Greek designs, but other parts of furniture 
were ornamented by carvings in bas-relief of subjects taken from Greek 
mythology and legend. Veneers were cut and applied, . not as some have 
supposed for the purpose of economy, but because by this means the 



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most beautifully marked or figured specimens of the woods could be 
chosen, and a much richer and more decorative effect produced than 
would be possible when only solid timber was used. As a prominent 
instance of the extent to which the Romans carried the costliness of 
some special pieces of furniture, we have it recorded on good authority 
(Mr. Pollen) that the table made for Cicero cost a million sesterces, a 
sum equal to about £9,000, and that one belonging to King Juba was 
sold by auction for the equivalent of £10,000. 

A Roman Study. 
Shewing Scrolls or Books in a " Scrinium ; " also Lamp, Writing Tables, etc. 

Cicero's table was made of a wood called Thyine — wood which 
was brought from Africa and held in the highest esteem. It was valued 
not only on account of its beauty but also from superstitious or religious 
reasons. The possession of thyine wood was supposed to bring good luck, 
and its sacredness arose from the fact that from it was produced the 
incense used by the priests. Dr. Edward Clapton, of St. Thomas' 
Hospital, who made a collection of woods named in the Scriptures, 
managed to secure a specimen of thyine, which a friend of his obtained 
on the Atlas Mountains. It resembles the woods which we know as 
tuyere and amboyna." 

* See also Notes on Woods (Appendix). 



Roman, -like Greek houses, were divided into two portions — the 
front for the reception of guests and the duties of society, with the back 
for household purposes, and the occupation of the wife and family; for 
although the position of the Roman wife was superior to that of her 
Greek contemporary, which was little better than that of a slave, still it 
was very different to its later development. 

The illustration following p. 16, of a repast in the house of Sallust, 
represents the host and his eight male guests reclining on the seats of 
the period, each of which held three persons, and was called a triclinium, 
making up the favourite number of a Roman dinner party, and possibly 
giving us the proverbial saying — " Not less than the Graces nor more 
than the Muses " — which is still held to be a popular regulation for a 
dinner party. 


Roman Scamnum or Bench. 

Roman Bisellium, or Seat for Two Persons. 

ay < 

But generally occupied by one, on occasions of 
"s, etc. 

From discoveries at Herculaneum and Pompeii a great deal of 
information has been gained of the domestic life of the wealthier Roman 
citizens, and there is a useful illustration on the preceding page of the 
furniture of a library or study in which the designs are very similar to 
the Greek ones we have noticed ; it is not improbable the}' were made 
and executed by Greek workmen. 

It will be seen that the books such as were then used, instead of 
being placed on shelves or in a bookcase, were kept in round boxes called 
Scrinia, which were generally of beech wood, and could be locked or 
sealed when required. The books in rolls or sewn together were thus 
easily carried about by the owner on his journeys. 

Mr. Hungerford Pollen mentions that wearing apparel was kept in 
vestiaria, or wardrobe rooms, and he quotes Plutarch's anecdote of the 
purple cloaks of Lucullus, which were so numerous that they must have 
been stored in capacious hanging closets rather than in chests. 

In the atrium, or public reception room, was probably the best 
furniture in the house. According to Moule's " Essay on Roman Villas," 
" it was here that numbers assembled daily to pay their respects to their 


patron, to consult the legislator, to attract the notice of the statesman, or 
to derive importance in the eyes of the public from the apparent intimacy 
with a man in power.'' 

The growth of the Roman Empire eastward, the colonisation of 
Oriental countries, and subsequently the establishment of an Eastern 
Empire, produced gradually an alteration in Greek design, and though, if 
we were discussing the merits of design and the canons of taste, this 
might be considered a decline, still its influence on furniture was doubt- 
less to produce more ease and luxury, more warmth and comfort, than 
would be possible if the outline of every article of useful furniture were 
decided by a rigid adherence to classical principles. We have seen that 
this was more consonant with the public life of an Athenian ; but the 
Romans, in the later period of the Empire, with their wealth, their 
extravagance, their slaves, their immorality and gross sensuality, lived in 
a splendour and with a prodigality that well accorded with the gorgeous 
coloring of Eastern hangings and embroideries, of rich carpets and 
comfortable cushions, of the lavish use of gold and silver, and meretricious 
and redundant ornament. 

Roman Couch, generally of Bronze. 
(From an Antique Bas-relief.) 

This slight sketch, brief and inadequate as it is, of a history of 
furniture from the earliest time of which we have any record, until from 
the extraordinary growth of the vast Roman Empire, the arts and manu- 
factures of every country became as it were centralised and focussed in 
the palaces of the wealthy Romans, brings us down to the commencement 
of what has been deservedly called "the greatest event in history" — the 
decline and fall of this enormous empire. For fifteen generations, for 
some five hundred years, did this decay, this vast revolution, proceed to 
its conclusion. Barbarian hosts settled down in provinces the}- had 
overrun and conquered, the old Pagan world died as it were, and the 
new Christian era dawned. From the latter end of the second century 



until the last of the Western Caesars, in a.d. 476, it is, with the exception 
of a short interval when the strong hand of the great Theodosius stayed 
the avalanche of Rome's invaders, one long story of the defeat and 
humiliation of the citizens of the greatest power the world has ever 
known. It is a vast drama that the genius and patience of a Gibbon 
has alone been able to deal with, defying almost by its gigantic 
catastrophes and ever raging turbulence the pen of history to chronicle 
and arrange. When the curtain rises on a new order of things, the age 
of Paganism has passed away, and the period of the Middle Ages will 
have commenced. 

Roman Bkonze Lamp and Stand. 

(Found in Pompeii.) 

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XLbe fllMbble Hoes. 

Period of 1,000 years from Fall of Rome, ad. 476, to Capture of Constantinople, 1453 — 
The Crusades — Influence of Christianity — Chairs of St. Peter and Maximian at Rome, 
Ravenna, and Venice — Edict of Leo III. prohibiting Image worship -The Rise of Venice — 
Charlemagne and his successors — The Chair of Dagobert — Byzantine character of Furniture 
— Norwegian carving — Russian and Scandinavian — The Anglo-Saxons — Sir Walter Scott 
quoted— Descriptions of Anglo-Saxon Houses and Customs— Art in Flemish Cities — Gothic 
Architecture— The Coronation Chair at Westminster Abbey — Penshurst — French Furniture 
in the 14th Century- Description of rooms — The South Kensington Museum - Transition 
from Gothic to Renaissance — German carved work; the Credence, the Buffet, and Dressoir. 

HE history of furniture is so thoroughly a 
part of the history of the manners and 
customs of different peoples, that one can 
only understand and appreciate the several 
changes in style, sometimes gradual and 
sometimes rapid, by reference to certain 
historical events and influences by which 
such changes were effected. 

Thus, we have during the space of 
time known as the Middle Ages, a stretch 
of some 1,000 years, dating from the fall 
of Rome itself, in A.D. 476 to the capture 
of Constantinople by the Turks under 
Mahomet II. in 1453, an historical pano- 
rama of striking incidents and great 
social changes bearing upon our subject. 
It was a turbulent and violent period, 
which saw the completion of Rome's downfall, the rise of the 
Carlovingian family, the subjection of Britain by the Saxons, the Danes, 
and the Normans ; the extraordinary career and fortunes of Mahomet ; 
the conquest of Spain and a great part of Africa by the Moors ; and the 
Crusades, which united in a common cause the swords and spears of 
friend and foe. 


It was the age of monasteries and convents, of religious persecutions 
and of heroic struggles of the Christian Church. It was the age of feudalism, 
chivalry, and war, but towards its close a time of comparative civilisa- 
tion and progress, of darkness giving way to the light which followed; 
the night of the Middle Ages preceding the dawn of the Renaissance. 

With the growing importance of Constantinople, the capital of the 
Eastern Empire, families of well-to-do citizens flocked thither from other 
parts, bringing with them all their most valuable possessions : and the 
houses of the great became rich in ornamental furniture, the style of which 
was a mixture of Eastern and Roman, — that is, a corruption of the early 
Classic Greek developing into the style known as Byzantine. The influence 
of Christianity upon the position of women materially affected the customs 
and habits of the people. Ladies were allowed to be seen in chariots 
and open carriages, the designs of which, therefore, improved and became 
more varied ; the old custom of reclining at meals ceased, and guests sat 
on benches ; and though we have, with certain exceptions, such as the 
chair of St. Peter at Rome, and that of Maximian in the Cathedral 
at Ravenna, no specimens of furniture of this time, we have in the old 
Byzantine ivory bas-reliefs such representations of circular throne chairs 
and of ecclesiastical furniture, as suffice to show the class of woodwork 
then in vogue. 

The chair of St. Peter is one of the most interesting relics of the 
Middle Ages. The woodcut will shew the design, which is, like other 
work of the period, Byzantine, and the following description is taken from 
Mr. Hungerford Pollen's introduction to the South Kensington catalogue : — ■ 
" The chair is constructed of wood, overlaid with carved ivory work and 
gold. The back is bound together with iron. It is a square with solid 
front and arms. The width in front is 39 inches ; the height in front 30 
inches, shewing that a scabellum or footstool must have belonged to it 

In the front are 18 groups or compositions from the Gospels, 

carved in ivory with exquisite fineness, and worked with inlay of the purest 
gold. On the outer sides are several little figures carved in ivory. It 
formed, according to tradition, part of the furniture of the house of the 
Senator Pudens, an early convert to the Christian faith. It is he who 
gave to the Church his house in Rome, of which much that remains is 
covered by the Church of St. Pudenziana. Pudens gave this chair to St. 
Peter, and it became the throne of the See. It was kept in the old 
Basilica of St. Peter's." Since then it has been transferred from place to 
place, until now it remains in the present Church of St. Peter's, but is 
completely hidden from view by the seat or covering made in 1667, by 
Bernini, out of bronze taken from the Pantheon. 


Much has been written about this famous chair. Cardinal Wiseman 
and the Cavaliere de Rossi have defended its reputation and its history, 
and Mr. Nesbitt, some years ago, read a paper on the subject before the 
Society of Antiquaries. 

Chair of St. Peter, Rome. 

Formerly there was in Venice another "chair of St. Peter, 1 ' of which 
there is a sketch from a photograph in Mrs. Oliphant's " Makers of 
Venice." It is said to have been a present from the Emperor Michael, 
son of Theophilus (824-864), to the Venetian Republic in recognition of, 
services rendered, by either the Doge Gradonico, who died in 864, or his 
predecessor, against the Mahommedan incursions. Fragments only now 
remain, and these are preserved in the Church of St. Pietro, at Castello. 

There is also a chair of historic fame preserved in Venice, and now 
kept in the treasury of St. Mark's. Originally in Alexandria, it was sent 
to Constantinople and formed part of the spoils taken by the Venetians 
in 1204. Like both the other chairs, this was also ornamented with ivory 
plaques, but these have been replaced by ornamental marble. 


The earliest of the before-mentioned chairs, namely, the one at Ravenna, 
was made for the Archbishop about 546 to 556, and is thus described in 
Mr. Maskell's " Handbook on Ivories," in the Science and Art series : — 
" The chair has a high back, round in shape, and is entirely covered 
with plaques of ivory arranged in panels carved in high relief with scenes 
from the Gospels and with figures of saints. The plaques have borders 
with foliated ornaments, birds and animals ; flowers and fruits filling 
the intermediate spaces. Du Sommerard names amongst the most 
remarkable subjects, the Annunciation, the Adoration of the Wise Men, 
the Flight into Egypt, and the Baptism of Our Lord." The chair has 
also been described by Passeri, the famous Italian antiquary, and a 
paper upon it was read by Sir Digby Wyatt, before the Arundel Society, 
in which he remarked that as it had been fortunately preserved as a 
holy relic, it wore almost the same appearance as when used by the 
prelate for whom it was made, save for the beautiful tint with which 
time had invested it. 

Long before the general break up of the vast Roman Empire, 
influences had been at work to decentralise Art, and cause the migration 
of trained and skilful artisans to countries where their work would build 
up fresh industries, and give an impetus to progress, where hitherto there 
had been stagnation. One of these influences was the decree issued in 
a.d. 726 by Leo III., Emperor of the Eastern Empire, prohibiting all 
image worship. The consequences to Art of such a decree were doubtless 
similar to the fanatical proceedings of the English Puritans of the 
seventeenth century ; and artists, driven from their homes, were scattered 
to the different European capitals, where they were gladly received and 
found employment and patronage. 

It should be borne in mind that at this time Venice was gradually 
rising to that marvellous position of wealth and power which she after- 
wards held. 

" A ruler of the waters and their powers : 
And such she was; — her daughters had their dowers 
From spoils of nations, and the exhaustless East 
Pour'd in her lap all gems in sparkling showers ; 
In purple was she robed and of her feasts 
Monarchs partook, and deemed their dignity increased." 

Her wealthy merchants were well acquainted with the arts and 
manufactures of other countries, and Venice would be just one of those 
cities to attract the artist refugee. It is indeed here that wood carving 
as an Art may be said to have specially developed itself, and though, 
from its destructible nature, there are very few specimens extant dating 
from this early time, yet we shall see that two or three hundred years 


later, ornamental woodwork flourished in a state of perfection which must 
have required a long probationary period. 

Turning from Venice. During the latter end of the eighth century 
the star of Charlemagne was in the ascendant, and though we have no 
authentic specimen, and scarcely a picture of any wooden furniture of this 
reign, we know that, in appropriating the property of the Gallo-Romans, 
the Frank Emperor-King and his chiefs were in some degree educating 
themselves to higher notions of luxury and civilisation. Paul Lacroix, in 

Dagobert Chair. 

Chair of Dagobert, of gilt bronze, now in the Musee de Souverains, Paris. Originally as a folding 

chair said to be the work of St. Eloi, 7th century ; back and arms added by the Abbe Suger in 12th century. 

There is an electrotype reproduction in the South Kensington Museum. 

" Manners, Customs, and Dress of the Middle Ages," tells us that the 
trichorum, or dining room, was generally the largest hall in the palace: 
two rows of columns divided it into three parts, one for the royal family, 
one for the officers of the household, and the third for the guests, who 
were generally numerous. No person of rank who visited the King 
could leave without sitting at his table or at least draining a cup to his 


health. The King's hospitality was magnificent, especially on great 
religious festivals, such as Christmas and Easter. 

In other portions of this work of reference we read of "boxes" 
to hold articles of value, and of rich hangings, but beyond such allusions 
little can be gleaned of any furniture besides. The celebrated chair 
of Dagobert (illustrated on p. 21). now in the Louvre, and of which there 
is a cast in the South Kensington Museum, dates from some 150 
years before Charlemagne, and is probably the only specimen of 
furniture belonging to this period which has been handed down to us. 
It is made of gilt bronze, and is said to be the work of a monk. 

For the designs of furniture of the tenth to the fourteenth centuries 
we are in a great measure dependent upon old illuminated manuscripts 
and missals of these remote times. There are some illustrations of the 
seats of State used by sovereigns on the occasions of grand banquets, or 
of some ecclesiastical function, to be found in the valuable collections of 
old documents in the British Museum and the National Libraries of Paris 
and Brussels. It is evident from these authorities that the designs of State 
furniture in France and other countries dominated by the Carlovingian 
monarchs were of Byzantine character, that pseudo-classic style which 
was the prototype of furniture of about a thousand years later, when the 
Caesarism of Napoleon I., during the early years of the nineteenth century, 
produced so many designs which we now recognise as " Empire." 

No history of mediaeval woodwork would be complete without noticing 
the Scandinavian furniture and ornamental wood carving of the tenth to 
the fifteenth centuries. There are in the South Kensington Museum 
plaster casts of some three or four carved doorways of Norwegian 
workmanship, of the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth centuries, in which 
scrolls are entwined with contorted monsters, or, to quote Mr. Lovett's 
description, " dragons of hideous aspect and serpents of more than usually 
tortuous proclivities." The woodcut of a carved lintel conveys a fair 
idea of this work, and also of the old juniper wood tankards of a much 
later time. 

There are also at Kensington other casts of curious Scandinavian 
woodwork of more Byzantine treatment, the originals of which are in 
the Museums of Stockholm and Copenhagen, where the collection of 
antique woodwork of native production is very large and interesting, 
and proves how wood carving, as an industrial Art, has flourished in 
Scandinavia from the early Viking times. One can still see in the old 
churches of Borgund and Hitterdal much of the carved woodwork of 
the seventh and eighth centuries ; and lintels and porches full of national 
character are to be found in Thelemarken. 

Period : X. to XI. Century. 



Under the heading of " Scandinavian " may be included the very early 
Russian school of ornamental woodwork. Before the accession of the 
Romanoff dynasty in the sixteenth century, the Ruric race of kings 
came originally from Finland, then a province of Sweden ; and so far 
as one can see from old illuminated manuscripts, there was a similarity 
of design to those of the early Norwegian and Swedish carved lintels 
which have been noticed above. 

Carved Wood Chair, Scandinavian Work. 
Period: 12th and 13th' Century. 

The coffers and caskets of early mediaeval times were no inconsider- 
able items in the valuable furniture of a period when the list of articles 
coming under that definition was so limited. These were made in oak 
for general use, and some were of good workmanship: but of the very 
earliest none remain. There were, however, others, smaller and of a 
special character, made in ivory of the walrus and elephant, of horn and 
whalebone, besides those of metal. In the British Museum is one of 
these, of which the cover is illustrated on the following page, representing 
a man defending his house against an attack by enemies armed with 
spears and shields. Other parts of the casket are carved with subjects 
and runic inscriptions which have enabled Mr. Stephens, an authority on 


this period of archaeology, to assign its date to the eighth century, and 
its manufacture to that of Northumbria. It most probably represents a 
local incident, and part of the inscription refers to a word signifying 
"treachery."* It was purchased by the late Sir A. W. Franks, F.S.A.. 
and is one of the many valuable specimens given to the British Museum 
bv its generous curator. 

Cover of a Casket carved in Whalebone. 
(Northumbrian, 8th Century. British Museum.) 

Of the furniture of our own country previous to the eleventh or 
twelfth centuries we know but little. The habits of the Anglo-Saxons 
were rude and simple, and they advanced but slowly in civilisation 
until after the Norman invasion. To convey, however, to our minds 
some idea of the interior of a Saxon thane's castle, we may avail 
ourselves of Sir Walter Scott's antiquarian research, and borrow his 
description of the chief apartment in Rotherwood. the hospitable hall 
of Cedric the Saxon. Though the time treated of in •"Ivanhoe" is 
quite at the end of the twelfth century, yet we have in Cedric a type of 
man who would have gloried in retaining the customs of his ancestors. 
who detested and despised the new-fashioned manners of his conquerors, 
and who came of a race that had probably done very little in the way of 
" refurnishing " for some generations. If, therefore, we have the reader's 
pardon for relying upon the misc en scene of a novel for an authority, 
we shall imagine the more easily what kind of furniture our Anglo-Saxon 
forefathers indulged in. 

" In a hall, the height of which was greatly disproportioned to its 
extreme length and width, a long oaken table — formed of planks rough 
hewn from the forest, and which had scarcely received any polish — 

stood ready prepared for the evening meal On the sides 

of the apartment hung implements of war and of the chase, and there 
were at each corner folding doors which gave access to the other parts 
of the extensive building. 



" The other appointments of the mansion partook of the rude simplicity 
of the Saxon period, which Cedric piqued himself upon maintaining. The 
floor was composed of earth mixed with lime, trodden into a hard 
substance, such as is often employed in flooring our modern barns. 
For about one quarter of the length of the apartment, the floor was 
raised by a step, and this space, which was called the dais, was occupied 
only by the principal members of the family and visitors of distinction. 
For this purpose a table richly covered with scarlet cloth was placed 

Saxon House of 9TH or ioth Century. 
(From the Harleian MSS. in the Btitish Museum.) 

transversely across the platform, from the middle of which ran the 
longer and lower board, at which the domestic and inferior persons 
fed, down towards the bottom of the hall. The whole resembled the 
form of the letter T, or some of those ancient dinner tables which, 
arranged on the same principles, may still be seen in the ancient 
colleges of Oxford and Cambridge. Massive chairs and settles of carved 
oak were placed upon the dais, and over these seats and the elevated 
tables was fastened a canopy of cloth, which served in some degree 
JPrto protect the dignitaries who occupied that distinguished station 
from the weather, and especially from the rain, which in some places 
found its way through the ill-constructed roof. The walls of this upper 
end of the hall, as far as the dais extended, were covered with hangings 


or curtains, and upon the floor there was a carpet, both of which were 
adorned with some attempts at tapestry or embroidery, executed with 
brilliant or rather gaudy colouring. Over the lower range of table the 
roof had no covering, the rough plastered walls were left bare, the rude 
earthen floor was uncarpeted, the board was uncovered by a cloth, and 
rude massive benches supplied the place of chairs. In the centre of the 
upper table were placed two chairs more elevated than the rest, for 
the master and mistress of the family. To each of these was added 
a footstool curiously carved and inlaid with ivory, which mark of 
distinction was peculiar to them." 

A drawing in the Harleian MSS. in the British Museum is shewn on 
page 25, illustrating a Saxon mansion in the ninth or tenth century. 
There is the hall in the centre, with " chamber " and " bower " on either 
side ; there being only a ground floor, as in the earlier Roman houses. 
According to Mr. Wright, F.S.A., who has written on the subject of 
Anglo-Saxon manners and customs, there was only one instance recorded 
of an upper floor at this period, and that was in an account of an 
accident which happened to the house in which the Witan or Council of 
St. Dunstan met, when, according to the ancient chronicle which he 
quotes, the Council fell from an upper floor, and St. Dunstan saved 
himself from a similar fate by supporting his weight on a beam. 

The illustration here given shews the Anglo-Saxon chieftain standing 
at the door of his hall, with his lady, distributing food to the needy 
poor. Other woodcuts represent Anglo-Saxon bedsteads, which were 
little better than raised wooden boxes, with sacks of straw placed therein, 
and these were generally in recesses. There are old inventories and wills 
in existence which shew that some value and importance was attached 
to these primitive contrivances, which at this early period in our history 
were the luxuries of only a few persons of high rank. A certain will 
recites that the " bedclothes (bed-reafs) with a curtain (hyrfte) and 
sheet (hepp-scrytan), and all that thereto belongs," should be given to his 

In the account of the murder of King Athelbert by the Oueen of 
King Offa, as told by Roger of Wendover, we read of the Queen ordering 
a chamber to be made ready for the Royal guest, which was adorned for 
the occasion with what was then considered sumptuous furniture. " Near 
the King's bed she caused a seat to be prepared, magnificently decked 
and surrounded with curtains, and underneath it the wicked woman 
caused a deep pit to be dug.*' The author from whom the above 
translation is quoted adds with grim humour. " It is clear that this 
room was on the ground floor." 



Anglo-Saxon Furniture of about the ioth Century. 
(From old MSS. in the British Museum.) 

1. A Drinking Party. 

2. A Dinner Party, in which the attendants are serving the meal on 

the spits on which it has been cooked. 

3. Anglo-Saxon Beds 



There are in the British Museum other old manuscripts whose 
illustrations have been laid under contribution, representing more innocent 
occupations of our Anglo-Saxon forefathers. " The seat on the dais," " an 
Anglo-Saxon drinking party," and other illustrations which are in existence, 
prove generally that, when the meal had finished, the table was removed 
and drinking vessels were handed round from guest to guest ; the story- 
tellers, the minstrels, and the gleemen (conjurers) or jesters, beguiling the 
festive hour with their different performances. 

The Seat on the Da 

Saxon State Bed 

Some of these Anglo-Saxon houses had formerly been the villas of 
the Romans during their occupation, which were altered and modified 
to suit the habits and tastes of their later possessors. Lord Lytton 
has given us, in the first chapter of his novel " Harold," the description 
of one of such Saxonized Roman houses, in his reference to Hilda's 

The gradual influence of Norman civilisation, however, had its effect, 
though the unsettled state of the country prevented any rapid develop- 
ment of industrial arts. The feudal system, by which every powerful 
baron became a petty sovereign, often at war with his neighbour, 
rendered it necessary that household treasures should be few and easily 



transported or hidden, and the earliest oak chests which are still preserved 
date from about this time. Bedsteads were not usual, except for kings, 
queens, and great ladies ; tapestry covered the walls, and the floors were 
generally sanded. As the country became more calm, and security for 
property more assured, this comfortless state of living disappeared; the 
dress of the ladies was richer, and the general habits of the upper classes 
were more refined. Stairs were introduced into houses, the "parloir" or 
" talking room " was added, and fire places of brick or stonework were 
made in some of the rooms, where previously the smoke was allowed to 
escape through an aperture in the roof. Bedsteads were carved and draped 
with rich hangings. Armoires made of oak and enriched with carvings, 
and " Presses " date from about the end of the eleventh century. 


English Folding Chair, 14TH Century 

Cradle of Henry V. 

It was during the reign of Henry III., 1216-1272, that wood- 
panelling was first used for rooms, and considerable progress generally 
appears to have been made about this period. Eleanor of Provence, 
whom the King married in 1236, encouraged more luxury in the homes 
of the barons and courtiers. Mr. Hungerford Pollen has quoted a royal 
precept which was promulgated in this year, and it plainly shews that our 
ancestors were becoming more refined in their tastes. The terms of 
this precept were as follows, viz., " The King's great chamber at West- 
minster to be painted a green colour like a curtain, that in the great 
gable or frontispiece of the said chamber, a French inscription should 
be painted, and that the King's little wardrobe should be painted of a 
green colour to imitate a curtain." 

In another 100 or 150 years we find mediaeval Art approaching its 
best period, not only in England, but in the great Flemish cities, such 
as Bruges and Ghent, which in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries 


played so important a part in the history of that time. The taste for 
Gothic architecture had now well set in, and we find that in this, as 
in every change of style, the fashion in woodwork naturally followed 
that of ornament in stone ; indeed, in many cases it is more than 
probable that the same hands which planned the cathedral or monastery 
also drew the designs for furniture, especially as the finest specimens 
of wood carving were' devoted to the service of the church. 

The examples, therefore, of the woodwork of this period to which 
we have access are found to be mostly of Gothic pattern, with quaint 
distorted conceptions of animals and reptiles, adapted to ornament the 
structural part of the furniture, or for the enrichment of the panels. 

To the end of the thirteenth century belongs the Coronation Chair 
made for King Edward I., 1296-1300, and now in Westminster Abbey. 
This historic relic is of oak, and the woodcut on the opposite page gives 
an idea of the design and decorative carving. It is said that the 
pinnacles on each side of the gabled back were formerly surmounted 
by two leopards, of which only small portions remain. The famous 
Coronation Stone, which, according to ancient legend, is the identical 
one on which the patriarch Jacob rested his head at Bethel, when " he 
tarried there all night because the sun was set, and he took of the stones 
of that place and put them up for his pillows " (Gen. xxviii.), can be 
seen through the quatrefoil openings under the seat.* 

The carved lions which support the chair are not original, but 
modern work ; and were re-gilt in honour of the Jubilee of Her Majesty 
in 1887, when the chair was last used. The rest of the chair now shews 
the natural colour of the oak, except the arms, which have a slight 
padding on them. The wood was, however, formerly covered with a 
coating of plaster, gilded over, and it is probably due to this protection 
that it is now in such excellent preservation. 

Standing by its side in Henry III.'s Chapel in Westminster Abbey 
is another chair, similar, but lacking the trefoil Gothic arches, which are 
carved on the sides of the original chair ; this was made for and used by 
Mary, daughter of James II. and wife of William III., on the occasion 
of their double coronation. Mr. Hungerford Pollen has given us a long 
description of this chair, with quotations from the different historical 
notices which have appeared concerning it. The following is an extract 
which he has taken from an old writer: — 

" It appears that the King intended, in the first instance, to make 
the chair in bronze, and that Eldam, the King's workman, had actually 

* Those who would read a very interesting account of the history of this stone are referred 
to the late Dean Stanley's "Historical Memorials of Westminster Abbey." 



begun it. Indeed, some parts were even finished, and tools bought for 
the clearing up of the casting. However, the King changed his mind, 
and we have accordingly 100s. paid for a chair in wood, made after the 
same pattern as the one which was to be cast in copper ; also 13s. 4d. 
for carving, painting, and gilding two small leopards in wood, which 
were delivered to Master Walter, the King's painter, to be placed upon 

Coronation Chair, Westminster Abbey 

and on either side of the chair made by him. The wardrobe account 
of 29th Ed. I. shows that Master Walter was paid £1 19s. yd. ' for 
making a step at the foot of the new chair in which the Scottish stone- 
is placed ; and for the wages of the carpenters and of the painters, and 
for colours and gold employed, and for the making a covering to cover 
the said chair.'" 


In 1328, June 1, there was a royal writ ordering the abbot to deliver 
up the stone to the Sheriff of London, to be carried to the Queen- 
Mother ; however, it was not sent. The chair has been used upon the 
occasion of every coronation since that time, except in the case of 
Mary, who is said to have used a chair specially sent by the Pope for 
the occasion. 

Chair in the Vestry of York Minster. 
Late 14th Century. 

The above drawing of a chair in York Minster, and the two more 
throne-like seats on a full-page illustration, will serve to shew the best 
kind of ornamental Ecclesiastical furniture of the fourteenth century. In 
the choir of Canterbury Cathedral there is a chair which has played 
its part in history, and, although earlier than the above, it may be 
conveniently mentioned here. This is the Archbishop's throne, and it 
is also called the chair of St. Augustine. According to legend, the 
Saxon kings were crowned thereon, but it is probably not earlier than 
the thirteenth century. It is an excellent piece of stonework, with a 
shaped back and arms, relieved from being quite plain by the back and 
sides being panelled with a carved moulding. 

Penshurst Place, near Tonbridge, the residence of the late Lord de ITsle 
and Dudley, the historic home of the Sydneys, is almost an unique example 
of what a wealthy English gentleman's country house was about the 



time of which we are writing, say the middle of the fourteenth century, or 
during the reign of Edward III. By the courtesy of the late Lord de l'lsle. 

the writer was allowed to examine many objects of great interest 
there, and from the careful preservation of many original fittings and 



articles of furniture, one may still gain some idea of the " hall '-' as it 
appeared when that part of the house was the scene of the chief events 
in the daily life of the family— the raised dais for host and honoured 
guests, the better table which was placed there (illustrated on the 
preceding page), and the commoner ones for the body of the hall ; and 
though the ancient buffet which displayed the gold and silver cups is 
gone, one can see where it would have stood. Penshurst is said to 

Bedroom in which a Knight and his Lady are seated 
(From a Miniature in " Othea," a Poem by Christine dc Pisan. XIV. Century, French.) 

possess the only hearth of that period now remaining in England, an 
octagonal space edged with stone in the centre of the hall, over which 
was once the simple opening for the outlet of smoke through the roof; 
and the old andirons or firedogs are still there. 

An idea of the furniture of an apartment in France during the 
fourteenth century is conveyed by the illustration on this page, and it is 
very useful, because, although we have on record many descriptions of 



the appearance of the furniture of state apartments, we have very 
few authenticated accounts of the way in which such domestic 
chambers as the one occupied by "a knight and his ladv " were 

Bedstead and Chair in Carved Oak. 

(From Miniatures in the Royal Library, Brussels, i 

Period: XIV. Century. 

arranged. The prie-dieu chair was generally at the bedside, and had 
a seat which lifted up, the lower part forming a boxlike receptacle 
for devotional books, then so regularly used by a lady of the time. 


Towards the end of the fourteenth century there was in high quarters 
a taste for bright and rich coloring; we have the testimony of an 
old writer who describes the interior of the Hotel de Boheme, which, 
after having been the residence of several great personages, was given 
by Charles VI. of France in 1388 to his brother the Duke of Orleans. 
" In this palace was a room used by the duke, hung with cloth of 
gold, bordered with vermilion velvet embroidered with roses : the 
Duchess had a room hung with vermilion satin embroidered with 
crossbows, which were on her coat of arms ; that of the Duke of 
Burgundv was hung with cloth of gold embroidered with windmills. 
There were besides eight carpets of glossy texture with gold flowers, 
one representing ' the seven virtues and seven vices,' another the 
history of Charlemagne, another that of Saint Louis. There were also 
cushions of cloth of gold, twenty-four pieces of vermilion leather of 
Aragon, and four carpets of Aragon leather, ' to be placed on the 
floor of rooms in summer.' The favourite arm-chair of the Princess 
is thus described in an inventor}- — ' a chamber chair with four supports, 
painted in fine vermilion, the seat and arms of which are covered in 
vermilion morocco, or cordovan, worked and stamped with designs 
representing the sun, birds, and other devices bordered with fringes of 
silk and studded with nails.' " 

The thirteenth and fourteenth centuries had been remarkable for 
a general development of commerce : merchants of Venice. Genoa. 
Florence, Milan, Ghent, Bruges. Antwerp, and many other famous cities 
had traded extensively with the East and had grown opulent, and their 
homes naturally shewed signs of wealth and comfort that in former times 
had been impossible to any but princes and rich nobles. Laws had been 
made in compliance with the complaints of the aristocracy, to place some 
curb on the growing ambition of the " bourgeoisie " ; thus we find an old 
edict in the reign of Philippe the Fair (1285-1314) — " No bourgeois shall 
have a chariot, nor wear gold, precious stones, nor crowns of gold and 
silver. Bourgeois not being prelates or dignitaries of state shall not 
have tapers of wax. A bourgeois possessing 2.000 pounds (tournois.) 
or more, may order for himself a dress of 12 sous* 6 deniers. and 
for his wife one worth 16 sous at the most." etc.. etc., etc. 

This and many other similar regulations were made in vain : the 
trading classes became more and more powerful, and we quote the 

* The sous, which was but nominal money, may be reckoned as representing 20 francs, the 
denier 1 franc, but allowance must be made for the enormous difference in the value of silver, 
which would make 20 francs in the thirteenth century represent upwards of 200 francs in the 
present century. 



description of a furnished apartment from P. Lacroix's " Manners and 
Customs of the Middle Ages." 

" The walls were hung with precious tapestry of Cyprus, on which 
the initials and motto of the lady were embroidered, the sheets were of 
fine linen of Rheims, and had cost more than 300 pounds, the quilt was 
a new invention of silk and silver tissue, the carpet was like gold. The 
lady wore an elegant dress of crimson silk, and rested her head and arms 
on pillows ornamented with buttons of oriental pearls. It should be 
remarked that this ladv was not the wife of a threat merchant, such as 

"The New Born Infant." 

Shewing the interior of an Apartment at the end of the 14th or commencement of the 15th century. 

(From a Miniature in " Histoire de la Belle Helaine," National Library of Paris.) 

those of Venice and Genoa, but of a simple retail dealer who was not 
above selling articles for 4 sous ; such being the case, we cannot wonder 
that Christine de Pisan should have considered the anecdote ' worthy of 
being immortalized in a book.' " 

As we approach the end of the fourteenth century, we find canopies 
added to the " chaires " or " chayers a dorseret," which were carved in 
oak or chestnut, and sometimes elaborately gilded and picked out in 
color. The canopied seats were very bulky and throne-like constructions, 




and were abandoned towards the end of the fifteenth century ; and it is 
worthy of notice that though we have retained our word " chair," 
adopted from the Norman French, the French people discarded their 
synonym in favour of its diminutive " chaise " to describe the somewhat 
smaller and less massive seat which came into use in the sixteenth 

Portrait of Christine de Pisan. 

Seated on a Canopied Chair of carved wood the back lined with tapestry. 

(From Miniature on MS., in the Burgundy Library, Brussels.) 

Period: XV. Century. 

The skilled artisans of Paris had arrived at a very high degree of 
excellence in the fourteenth century, and in old documents describing 
valuable articles of furniture, care is taken to note that they are of 
Parisian workmanship. According to Lacroix, there is an account of the 
court silversmith, Etienne La Fontaine, which gives us an idea of the 



amount of extravagance sometimes committed in the manufacture and 
decorations of a chair, into which it was then the fashion to introduce 
the incrustations of precious stones ; thus for making a silver arm chair 
and ornamenting it with pearls,, crystals, and other stones, he charged the 
King of France, in 1352, no less a sum than 774 louis. 

The use of rich embroideries at state banquets and on grand occasions 
appears to have commenced during the reign of Louis IX. — Saint Louis, 
as he is called — and these were richly emblazoned with arms and devices. 
Indeed, it was probably due to the fashion for rich stuffs and coverings 
of tables, and of velvet embroidered cushions for the chairs, that the 
practice of making furniture of the precious metals died out, and carved 
wood came into favour. 

State Banquet, with Attendant Musicians. 

{From Miniatures in the National Library, Paris.) 

Period: XV. Century. 

Chairs of this period appear only to have been used on very special 
occasions ; indeed, they were too cumbersome to be easily moved from 
place to place, and in a miniature from some MSS. of the early part 
of the fifteenth century, which represents a state banquet, the guests are 
seated on a long bench with the back carved in Gothic ornament of 
the time. In Skeat's Dictionary, our modern word " banquet " is said 
to be derived from the " bancs " or benches used on these occasions. 



The great hall of the King's Palace, where such an entertainment as 
that given by Charles V. to the Emperor Charles of Luxemburg would 
have taken place, was also furnished with three " dressoirs " for the display 
of the gold and silver drinking cups, and vases of the time ; the repast 

A High Backed Chair in Carved Oak (Gothic Style). 
Period: XV. Ckntury. French. 




LU ->, 


a 9 
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itself was served upon a marble table, and above the seat of each of the 
Princes present was a separate canopy of gold cloth embroidered with 
fleur de lis. 

The furniture of ordinary houses of this period was very simple. 
Chests, more or less carved, and ornamented with iron work, settles of 
oak or of chestnut, stools or benches with carved supports, a bedstead 
and a prie-dieu chair, a table with plain slab supported on shaped 
standards, would nearly complete the inventory of the furniture of the chief 
room in a house of a well-to-do merchant in France until the fourteenth 

Scribe or Copyist 

Working at his desk in a room in which are a reading desk and a chest with manuscript. 

(From an Old Miniature.) 

Period : XV. Centlrv. 

century had turned. The table was narrow, apparently not more than 
some 30 inches wide, and guests sat on one side only, the service taking 
place from the unoccupied side of the table. In palaces and baronial 
halls, the servants with dishes were followed by musicians, as shewn in 
an old miniature of the time, reproduced on page 39. 

Turning to German work of the fifteenth century, there is, in the 
South Kensington Museum, a cast of the famous choir stalls in the 
Cathedral of Ulm, which are considered to be the finest work of the 
Swabian school of German wood carving. The magnificent panel of 
foliage on the front, the Gothic triple canopy with the busts of Isaiah, 
David, and Daniel, are thoroughly characteristic specimens of design ; the 
signature of the artist, Jorg Syrlin, with date 1468, are carved on the 
work. There were originally 89 choir stalls, and the work occupied the 
master from the date mentioned, 1468, until 1474. 



The illustrations of the two chairs of German Gothic furniture, 
formerly in some of the old castles, are good examples of their time, 
and are from drawings made on the spot by Prof. Heideloff. 

There are in our South Kensington Museum some full sized plaster 
casts of important specimens of woodwork of the fifteenth and two 
previous centuries, and being of authenticated dates, we can compare 
them with the work of the same countries after the Renaissance had 
been adopted and had completely altered the design. Thus in Italy there 
was, until the latter part of the fifteenth century, a mixture of Byzantine 
and Gothic, of which we can see a capital example in the casts ot the 
celebrated Pulpit in the Baptistry of Pisa, the date of which is 1260. 


Two German Chairs, Late 15TH Century. 
(From Draivings made in Old German Castles by Prof. Heideloff.) 

The pillars are supported by lions, which, instead of being introduced 
heraldically into the design, as would be the case some two hundred 
years later, are bearing the whole weight of the pillars and an enormous 
superstructure on the hollow of their backs in a most impossible manner. 
The spandril of each arch is filled with a saint in a grotesque position 
amongst Gothic foliage, and there is in many respects a marked contrast to 
the casts of examples of the Renaissance period which are in the Museum. 
This transition from Mediaeval and Gothic, to Renaissance, is clearly 
noticeable in the woodwork of many cathedrals and churches in England 
and in continental cities. It is evident that the chairs, stalls, and 
pulpits in many of these buildings have been executed at different times, 



and the change from one style to another is more or less marked. The 
Flemish buffet illustrated (opposite page 44) is an example of this transition, 

Carved Oak Buffet in Gothic Style (Viollet le Due). 
Period: XV. Century. Fkicnch. 

and may be contrasted with the French Gothic buffet illustrated on page 43, 
and referred to on page 44. There is also in the central hall of the South 



Kensington Museum a plaster cast of a carved wood altar stall in the 
Abbey of Saint Denis, France : the pilasters at the sides have the familiar 
Gothic pinnacles, while the panels are ornamented with arabesques, scrolls, 
and an interior in the Renaissance style ; the date of this is late in the 
fifteenth century. 

English examples of this period are very scarce, and the buffet 
illustrated here is a favourable specimen of our national work late in the 
fifteenth century. While the crocketted enrichment in the brackets shews 
the Gothic taste, there are mouldings and some flutings in the upper 
part which mark the tendency to adopt classic ornament, which came 


Old English Oak Buffet, 15TH Century. 
(Drawn from the original in the possession of Seymour Lueas, Esq., R.A.) 

in at the end of the fifteenth century. It was probably made for one of 
our old abbeys, but Mr. Seymour Lucas, R.A., to whom it belongs, 
and from whose drawing the illustration is made, says it was for a long 
time at Freenes Court, Sutton, the ancient seat of Sir Henry Linger. 

The buffet on page 43 is an excellent example of the best fifteenth 
century French Gothic oak work, and the woodcut shews the arrange- 
ment of gold and silver plate on the white linen cloth with embroidered 
ends, in use at this time. 


Of Carved Oak ; open below, with panelled cupboards above. The back evidently of later 

work, after the Renaissance had set in. 

(From a Photo by Messrs. R. Sutton &> Co. from the Original in the S. Kensington Museum.) 
Period: Gothic to Renaissance. XV. Century. 

3 £ 



We have now arrived at a period in the history of furniture which 
is confused, and difficult to arrange and classify. From the end of the 
fourteenth century to the Renaissance is a time of transition, and specimens 
may be easily mistaken as being of an earlier or later date than they 
really are. M. Jacquemart notices this "gap," though he fixes its duration 
from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century, and he quotes as an instance 
of the indecision which characterised this interval, that workers in 
furniture were described in different terms: the words coffer maker, 
carpenter, and huchier (trunk-maker) frequently occurring to describe 
the same class of artisan. 

It is only later that the word " menuisier," or joiner, appears, and we must enter upon 
the period of the Renaissance before we find the term "cabinet maker," and later still, after 
the end of the seventeenth century, we have such masters of their craft as Kiesener described 
as " ebenistes," the word being derived from ebony, which, with other eastern woods, came 
into use after the Dutch settlement in Ceylon. Jacquemart also notices the fact that as 
early as 1360 we^have record of a specialist, " Jehan Petrot," as a "chessboard maker." 

Interior of ax Apothecary's Shop. 

Late XIV. or Early ^XV. Century. Flemish. 

(From tin Old Painting.! 


(From a Miniature in the Library of St. Petersburg.) 

Representing the Queen weeping on account of her Husband's absence during the 
Italian War. 

Period : XV. Century. 


Zhe IRenatssance, 

The Renaissance in Italy: Leonardo da Vinci and Raffaelle — Church of St. Peter, contem- 
porary great artists— The Italian Palazzo — Methods of gilding, inlaying and mounting 
Furniture — Pietra-dura and other enrichments — Ruskin's criticism The Renaissance in 
France: Francois I. and the Chateau of Fontainebleau -Influence on Courtiers -Chairs of 
the time - Design of Cabinets — M. E. Bonnaffe on The Renaissance — Bedstead of Jeanne 
d'Albret — Deterioration of taste in time of Henry IV. — Louis XIII. Furniture — Brittany 
woodwork. The Renaissance in the Netherlands : Influence of the House of Burgundy 
on Art— The Chimney-piece at Bruges, and other casts of specimens at South Kensington 
Mustum. The Renaissance in Spain : The resources of Spain in the sixteenth and 
seventeenth centuries — Influence of Saracenic Art, high-backed leather chairs, the Carthusian 
Convent at Granada. The Renaissance in Germany : Albrecht Diirer — Famous Steel 
Chair of Augsburg — German seventeenth century carving in St. Saviour's Hospital. The 
Renaissance in England: Influence of Foreign Artists in the time of Henry VIII.— End 
of Feudalism — Hampton Court Palace — Linen Pattern Panels -Woodwork in the Henry VII. 
Chapel at Westminster Abbey — Livery Cupboards at Hengrave— Harrison quoted — The 
"parler," alteration in English customs — Chairs of the sixteenth century — Coverings and 
Cushions of the time, extract from old inventory — South Kensington cabinet — Elizabethan 
Mirror at Goodrich Court — Shaw's "Ancient Furniture" — The Glastonbury Chair — Introduc- 
tions of Frames into England — Characteristics of Native Woodwork — Famous Country 
Mansions, alteration in design of Woodwork and Furniture - Panelled Rooms at South 
Kensington — The Charterhouse— Gray's Inn Hall and Middle Temple — The Hall of the 
Carpenters' Company — The Great Bed of Ware — Shakespeare's Chair — Penhurst Place. 

T IS impossible to write about the period of the 
Renaissance without grave misgivings as to the 
) Jm ability to render justice to a period which has 
employed the pens of many cultivated writers, and 
to which whole volumes, innumerable, have been 
devoted. Within the limited space of a single 
chapter all that can be attempted is a brief glance 
at the influence on design by which furniture and 
woodwork were affected. Perhaps the simplest way 
of understanding the changes which occurred, first 
in Italy, and subsequently in other countries, is to 
divide the chapter on this period into a series of 
short notes arranged in the order in which Italian 
influence would seem to have affected the designers 
'ITPfMlSft Eyi'pl'i^, an d craftsmen of several European nations. 

Towards the end of the fifteenth century there 
appears to have been an almost universal rage for 
classical literature, and we believe some attempt was made to introduce 
Latin as a universal language ; it is certain that Italian Art was adopted 


by nation after nation, and a well-known writer on architecture (Mr. 
Parker) has observed : " It was not until the middle of the nineteenth 
century that the national styles of the different countries of Modern 
Europe were revived." 

As we look back upon the history of Art, assisted by the numerous 
examples in our Museums, one is struck by the want of novelty in the 
imagination of mankind. The glorious antique has always been our classic 
standard, and it seems only to have been a question of time as to when 
and how a return was made to the old designs of the Greek artists, then 
to wander from them awhile, and again to return when the world, weary 
of over-abundance of ornament, longed for the repose of simpler lines on 
the principles which governed the Athenian artists of old. 


Italy was the birthplace of the Renaissance. Leonardo da Vinci and 
Raffaelle may be said to have guided, or led, the natural artistic instincts 
of their countrymen to discard the Byzantine-Gothic which, as M. 
Bonnaffe has said, was adopted by the Italians not as a permanent 
institution, but " faute de mieux " as a passing fashion. 

It is difficult to say with any certainty when the first commencement 
of a new era actually takes place, but there is an incident related in 
Michael Bryan's biographical notice of Leonardo da Vinci which gives 
us an approximate date. Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, had appointed 
this great master Director of Painting and Architecture in his academy 
in 1494, and, says Bryan, who obtained his information from contemporary 
writers, " Leonardo no sooner entered on his office, than he banished 
all the Gothic principles established by his predecessor, Michaelino, and 
introduced the beautiful simplicity and purity of the Grecian and Roman 

A few years after this date, Pope Julius II. commenced to build the 
present magnificent Church of St. Peter's, designed by Bramante d'Urbino, 
kinsman and friend of Raffaelle, to whose superintendence Pope Leo X. 
confided the work on the death of the architect in 1514. Michael 
Angelo had the charge committed to him some years after Raffaelle's 

These dates give us a very fair idea of the time at which this 
important revolution in taste was taking place in Italy, at the end of the 
fifteenth and the commencement of the following century, and carved 
woodwork followed the new direction. 

Leo X. was Pope in 1513. The period of peace which then ensued 
after war, which for so many decades had disturbed Italy, as France or 


In the Loggie of the Vatican. 
Period: Italian Renaissance. 

Decorated and Furnished in the Renaissance Style. 

2 * 

§ * 


S < 

5 ° 

z - 

co o 


-I 1 ) 

Germany had in turn striven to acquire her fertile soil, gave the. princes 
and nobles leisure to rebuild and adorn their palaces ; and the excava- 
tions which were then made, brought to light many of the Works of Art 
which had remained buried since the time when Rome was mistress of 
the world. Leo X. was a member of that remarkable and powerful family 
the Medicis, the very mention of which is to suggest the Renaissance, 
and under his patronage, and with the co-operation of the reigning dukes 
and princes of the different Italian states, artists were given encourage- 
ment and scope for the employment of their talents. Michael Angelo, 
Titian, Raffaelle Sanzio, Andrea del Sarto, Correggio, and many other 
great artists were raising up monuments of everlasting fame ; Palladio 

Chair in Carved Walnut. 
l ; ound in the house of Michael Angelo. 

was re-building the palaces of Italy, which were then the wonder of the 
world ; Benvenuto Cellini and Lorenzo Ghiberti were designing those 
marvellous chefs d'ceuvre in gold, silver, and bronze which are now so 
rare ; and a host of illustrious artists were producing work which has 
made the sixteenth century famous for all time. 

The circumstances of the Italian noble caused him to be very 
amenable to Art influence. Living chiefly out of doors, his climate 
rendered him less dependent on the comforts of small rooms, to which 
more northern people were attached, and his ideas would naturally incline 
towards pomp and elegance, rather than to home life and utility. Instead 
of the warm chimney corner and the comfortable seat, he preferred furniture 



of a more palatial character for the adornment of the lofty and spacious 
saloons of his palace, and therefore we find the buffet elaborately carved 
with a free treatment of the classic antique which marks the time ; it was 
frequently " garnished " with the beautiful majolica of Urbino, of Pesaro, 
and of Gubbio. The sarcophagus, or cmsoiie, of oak, or more commonly 
of chestnut or walnut, sometimes painted and gilded, sometimes carved 
with scrolls and figures ; the cabinet designed with architectural outline, 
and fitted up inside with steps and pillars like a temple ; chairs which 
are wonderful to look upon as guardians of a stately doorway, but 
uninviting as seats ; tables inlaid, gilded, and carved, with slabs of 
marble or of Florentine mosaic work, but which from their height are 
as a rule impossible to use for any domestic purpose; mirrors with 
richly carved and gilded frames : these are all so many evidences of a 
style which is palatial rather than domestic, in design as in proportion. 

Venetian Centre Table, Carved and Gilt. 

(In the South Kensington Museum.) 

The walls of these handsome saloons or galleries were hung with 
rich velvet of Genoese manufacture, with stamped and gilt leather, and 
a composition ornament was also applied to woodwork, and then gilded 
and painted, a kind of decoration termed "gesso work." 

A rich effect was produced on the carved console tables, chairs, 
stools and frames intended for gilding, by the method employed by the 
Venetian and Florentine craftsmen, the gold leaf being laid on a red 
preparation, and then the chief portions highly burnished. There are 



in the South Kensington Museum several specimens of such work, and 
now that time and wear have caused this red groundwork to shew 

Pair of Italian Carved Bellows, in Walnut Wood. 

(South Kensington Museum). 

through the faded gold, the harmony of color is very satisfactory. 
Other examples of fifteenth century Italian carving, such as the old 



Cassone fronts, are picked out with gold, the remainder of the work 
displaying the rich warm color of the walnut or chestnut wood, either 
of which was most invariably used. 

Of the smaller articles of furniture, the il bellows " and wall brackets 
of this period deserve mention : the carving of these is very carefully 
finished, and is frequently very elaborate. The illustration on page 51 
is that of a pair bellows in the South Kensington Collection. In the 
famous Magniac Collection, which was sold in July, 1892, a pair of very 
finely carved Venetian bellows of this description realised the high price 
of 455 guineas. 

Carved Italian Mirror Frame, iGth Century 
(In the South Kensington Museum). 

The enrichment of woodwork, by means of inlaying, deserves 
mention. In the chapter on Ancient Furniture we have seen that ivory 
was used as an inlaid ornament as early as six centuries before Christ, 
but its revival and development in Europe probably commenced in 
Venice about the end of the thirteenth century, in copies of geometrical 
designs, let into ebony and brown walnut, and into a wood something 
like rosewood ; parts of boxes and chests of these materials are still in 



existence. Mr. Maskell tells us in his Handbook on " Ivories," that 
probably owing to the difficulty of procuring ivory in Italy, bone of fine 
quality was frequently used in its place. All this class of work was known 

A Sixteenth Century " Coffre-fort." 

as " Tarsia," " Intarsia." or " Certosina," a word supposed to be derived 
from the name of the well-known religious community — the Carthusians — 
on account of the dexteritv of those monks at this work.* 

* The panels of the high screen or back to the stalls in " La Certosa di Pavia " (a Carthusian 
Monastery suppressed by Joseph II.) are famous examples of early intarsia. In an essay on the 
subject written by Mr T. G. Jackson, A.R.A., they are said to be the work of one Bartolommeo, an 
Istrian artist, and to date from i486. The same writer mentions still more elaborate examples of 
pictorial " intarsia " in the choir stalls of Sta. Maria. Maggoire, in Bergamo. 


Towards the end of the fourteenth century, makers of ornamental 
furniture began to copy marble mosaic work, by making similar patterns 
of different woods, and subsequently this branch of industrial Art 
developed from such modest beginnings as the simple pattern of a star, 
or bandings of different kinds of wood in the panel of a door, to 
elaborate picture making, in which landscapes, views of churches, houses, 
and picturesque ruins were copied, figures and animals being also intro- 
duced. This work was naturally facilitated and encouraged by increasing 
commerce between different nations, which rendered available a greater 
variety of woods. In some of the early Italian "intarsia" the decoration 
was cut into the surface of the panel, piece by piece. As artists became 
more skilful, veneers were applied, and the effect was heightened by 
burning with hot sand the parts requiring shading: and the lines caused 
by the thickness of the. sawcuts were filled in with black wood or stained 
glue, to define the design more clearly. 

The "mounting" of articles of furniture with metal enrichments 
doubtless originated in the iron corner pieces and hinge plates which 
were used to strengthen the old chests, of which mention has been 
already made, and as the artificers began to render their productions 
decorative as well as useful, what more natural progress than that the 
iron corners, bandings, or fastenings, should be of ornamental forged or 
engraved iron. In the sixteenth century, metal workers reached a 
point of excellence which has never been surpassed, and those marvels 
of mountings in steel, iron and brass were produced in Italy and 
Germany, which are far more important as works of Art than the plain 
and unpretending productions of the coffer maker, which are their raisou 
d'etre. The woodcut on p. 53 represents a very good example of a " Coffre- 
fort " in the South Kensington Collection. The decoration is bitten in 
with acids so as to present the appearance of its being damascened, and 
the complicated lock, shewn on the inside of the lid, is characteristic of 
those safeguards for valuable documents at a time when the modern 
burglar-proof safe had not been invented. 

The illustration on the following page is from an example in the 
same Museum, shewing a different decoration, the oval plaques of figures 
and coats of arms being of carved ivory let into the surface of the coffer. 
This is an early specimen, and belongs as much to the period treated in 
the previous chapter as to that now under consideration. 

" Pietra-dura," as an ornament, was first introduced into Italy during 
the sixteenth century and became a fashion. This was an inlay of 
highly-polished rare marbles, agates, hard pebbles, lapis lazuli, and 
other stones ; ivory was also carved and applied as a bas-relief, as well 



as inlaid in arabesques of the most elaborate designs ; tortoise-shell, 
brass, mother-of-pearl, and other costly materials, were introduced, as 
enrichments in the decoration of cabinets and of caskets. Silver plaques 
embossed and engraved were pressed into the service as the native 
princes of Florence, Urbino, Ferrara, and other independent cities vied 
with Rome, Venice, and Naples in sumptuousness of ornament, and 
lavishness of expense, until the inevitable period of decline supervened 
in which exaggeration of ornament and prodigality of decoration gave 
the eye no repose. 

Italian Coffer with Medallions of Ivory. 15TH Century. 

(South Kensington Museum.) 

Edmond Bonnaffe, contrasting the latter period of Italian Renaissance 
with that of sixteenth century French woodwork, has pithily remarked : 
" Chez eux, I'art du buis consiste a le dissimuler chez nous a Ic /aire valoir." 

Mr. Ruskin, in his " Stones of Venice," alludes to this over- 
ornamentation of the later Renaissance in severe terms. After describing 
the progress of Art in Venice from Byzantine to Gothic, and from 
Gothic to Renaissance, he sub-divides the latter period into three 
classes : — 1. Renaissance grafted on Byzantine. 2. Renaissance grafted 
on Gothic. 3. Renaissance grafted on Renaissance ; and this last the 
veteran Art critic calls " double darkness,'* one of his characteristic terms 



of condemnation which many of us cannot follow, but the spirit of 
which we can appreciate. 

Speaking generally of the character of ornament, we find that 
whereas in the furniture of the Middle Ages, the subjects for carving 
were taken from the lives of the saints or from metrical romance, 
the Renaissance carvers illustrated scenes from classical mythology and 
allegories, such as representations of the elements, seasons, months. 

Carved Walnut Wood Italian Chairs. ioth Century. 
(From Drawings of the Originals in the South Kensington Museum.) 

the cardinal virtues, or the battle scenes and triumphal processions of 
earlier times. 

The outlines and general designs of the earlier Renaissance cabinets 
were apparently suggested by the old Roman triumphal arches and 
sarcophagi ; afterwards these were modified and became varied, elegant 


With marble mosaics, and bronze gilt ornaments, Florentine work. 

Period : XVII. Century. 



and graceful, but latterly as the period of decline was marked, the 
outlines, as shewn in the two chairs on the preceding page, became 
confused and dissipated by over-decoration. 

The illustrations given of specimens of furniture of Italian Renaissance 
render lengthy descriptions unnecessary. So far as it has been possible 
to do so, a selection has been made to represent the different classes of 
work, and as there are in the South Kensington Museum numerous 

Venetian State Chair. 

Carved and Gilt Frame, Upholstered with Embroidered Velvet. Date about 1670. 
(In the possession of H.M. the King at Windsor Castle. 1 

examples of cassone fronts, panels, chairs, and cabinets which can be 
examined, it is easy to form an idea of the decorative woodwork made in 
Italy during the period we have been considering. 

From Italy the great revival of industrial Art travelled to France. 
Charles VIII., who for two years had held Naples (1494-96), brought 


among other artists from Italy, Bernadino de Brescia and Domenico de 
Cortona; and Art, which at this time was in a feeble, languishing state 
in France, began to revive. Francis I. employed an Italian architect to 
build the chateau of Fontainebleau, which had hitherto been but an 
old-fashioned hunting-box in the middle of the forest, and Leonardo 
da Yiuci and Andrea del Sarto came from Florence to decorate the 
interior. Guilio Romano, who had assisted Raffaelle to paint the loggie 
of the Vatican, exercised an influence in France, which was transmitted 
by his pupils for generations. The marriage of Henry II. with Catherine 
de Medici increased the influence of Italian Art, and the subsequent 
union of Marie de Medici with Henri Ouatre continued that influence. 
Diane de Poictiers, mistress of Henry II., was the patroness of artists; 
and Fontainebleau has been well said to " reflect the glories of gay 
and splendour loving kings, from Francois Premier to Henri Quatre." 

Besides Fontainebleau, Francis I. built the Chateau of Chambord,* 
that of Chenonceaux on the Loire, the Chateau de Madrid, and others, 
and commenced the Louvre. 

Following their King's example, the more wealthy of his subjects 
rebuilt or altered their chateaux and hotels, decorated them in the 
Italian style, and furnished them with cabinets, chairs, coffers, armoires, 
tables, and various other articles, designed after the Italian models. 

The character of the woodwork naturally accompanied the design of 
the building. Fireplaces, which until the end of the fifteenth century had 
been of stone, were now made of oak, richly carved and ornamented with 
the armorial bearings of the " seigneur." The Prie dieu chair, which Yiollet 
le Due tells us came into use in the fifteenth century, was now made 
larger and more ornate, in some cases becoming what might almost be 
termed a small oratory, the back being carved in the form of an altar, 
and the utmost care lavished on the work. It must be remembered that 
in France, until the end of the fifteenth century, there were no benches 
or seats in the churches, and therefore, prayers were said by the 
aristocracy in the private chapel of the chateau, and by the middle 
classes in the chief room of the house. 

The large high-backed chair of the sixteenth century " chaire a haul 
dossier," the arm chair "chaire a bras," "chaire tour n ante, ," for domestic 
use, are all of this time, and some illustrations will shew the highly 
finished carved work of Renaissance style which prevailed. 

* Writers of authority on architecture have noticed that the chief characteristic in style of 
the French Renaissance, as contrasted with the Italian, is that in the latter the details and 
ornament of the new school were imposed on the old foundations of the Gothic character. The 
Chateau of Chambord is given as an instance of this combination. 


In the Gallery of Henri II , Chateau of Fontainebleau 

Period: French Renaissance, Early XVI. Century. 



Besides the " chaire" which was reserved for the "seigneur," there 
were smaller and more convenient stools, the J-^ form supports of which 
were also carved. 

Carved Oak Panel, dated 1577- 

Cabinets were made with an upper and lower part ; sometimes the 
latter was in the form of a stand with caryatides figures like the 
famous cabinet in the Chateau Fontainebleau, a vignette of which forms 
the initial letter of this chapter ; or were enclosed by doors generallv 
decorated with carving, the upper part having richly carved panels, which 
when opened disclosed drawers with fronts minutely carved. 

M. Edmond Bonnaffe, in his work on the sixteenth century furniture 
of France, gives no less than 120 illustrations of "tables, coffres, armoires, 
dressoirs, sieges, et bancs, manufactured at Orleans. Anjou. Maine. Touraine, 
Le Berri, Lorraine, Burgundy, Lyons. Provence, Auvergne, Languedoc, 
and other towns and districts, besides the Capital, which excelled in the 
reputation of her l> menuisiers," certain articles of furniture being 
particularised in old documents as "fait a Paris." 

He also mentions that Francis I. preferred to employ native 
workmen, and that the Italians were retained onlv to furnish the 



designs and lead the new style : and in giving the names of the most 
noted French cabinet makers and carvers of this time, he adds that 
Jacques Lardant and Michel Bourdin received no less than 15,700 
livres for a number of "buffets de salles," ''tables gkrnies de leur treteaux." 
"chandeliers de bois," and other articles. 

Fac Similes of Engravings on Wood. 
By J. Amman, in the 16th century, shewing interiors of Workshops of the period. 

The bedstead, of which there is an illustration on the opposite page, 
is a good representation of French Renaissance. It formed part of the 
contents of the Chateau of Pau, and belonged to Jeanne d'Albret, mother 
of Henri Ouatre, who was born at Pau in 1553. The bedstead is of 
oak, and by time has acquired a rich warm tint, the details of the 
carving remaining sharp and clear. On the lower cornice moulding. 
the date 1562 is carved. 

This, like other furniture and contents of Palaces in France, 
forms part of the State or National Collection, of which there are 
excellent illustrations and descriptions in M. Williamson's " Mobilier 
National " a valuable contribution to the literature of this subject which 
should be consulted. 

Another example of four-post bedsteads of French sixteenth century 
work is that of the one in the Cluny Museum, which is probably some 
years later than the one at Pau, and in the carved members of the two 
lower posts more resembles our English Elizabethan work. 

From the Chateau of Pau. (Collection " Mobilier National. 
Period: French Rexaissanxe (Date 1562). 


In the Musee du Louvre. (Collection Sauvageot ) 

Period : Early XVI. Century. 

(Reproduced by permission of Messrs. Boussod Valadon et Cie.) 


Made at Lyons. 

Period : Latter Part of XVI. Century. 


An important collection of carved furniture of French Renaissance 
was exhibited in V exposition retrospective de Lyon, held in that city in 1877, 
and M. J. F>. Giraud, conservatcur of the Archaeological Museums of Lyons, 
has reproduced some fifty of the more important specimens in his 
valuable work,* published in 1880, giving the name of the lender of each 
example and other details. The " Lyons " cabinet, of which there is an 
illustration, following p. 60, is one of these, and is in the Collection of 
Mr. E. Aynard. The " Spitzer " Collection, sold in Paris in 1893, 
contained several fine examples of French Renaissance oak furniture, which 
realised large prices. 

Towards the latter part of the reign of Henri IV. the style of 
decorative Art in France became debased and inconsistent. Construction 
and ornamentation were guided by no principle, but followed the caprice 
of the individual. Meaningless pilasters, entablatures, and contorted 
cornices replaced the simpler outline and subordinate enrichment of the 
time of Henri II., and until the great revival of taste under the "grand 
monarque," there was in France a period of richly ornamented but ill- 
designed decorative furniture. An example of this can be seen at South 
Kensington in a plaster cast of a large chimney piece from the Chateau 
of the Seigneur de Villeroy, near Menecy, by German Pillon, who died 
in 1590. In this the failings mentioned above will be readily recognized, 
and also in another example, namely, that of a carved oak door from 
the Church of St. Maclou, Rouen, by Jean Goujon, in which the work 
is very fine, but somewhat overdone with enrichment. 

During the " Louis Trieze " period, chairs became more comfortable 
than those of an earlier time. The word " chaise " as a diminutive of 
"chaire" found its way into the French vocabulary to denote the less 
thronelike seat which was in more ordinary use, and, instead of 
being at this period entirely carved, it was upholstered in velvet, tapestry, 
or needlework ; the frame was covered, and only the legs and arms were 
visible and slightly carved. In the illustration on p. 62, the King and 
his courtiers are seated on chairs such as have been described. Marqueterie 
was more common ; large ar moires, chests of drawers and knee-hole 
writing tables were covered with an inlay of vases of flowers and birds, 
of a brownish wood, with enrichments of bone and ivory, inserted in a 
black ground of stained wood, very much like the Dutch inlaid furniture 
of some years later, but with less color in the various veneers than is 
found in the Dutch work. Mirrors became larger, the decoration of rooms 
had ornamental friezes with lower portions of the walls panelled, and the 
bedrooms of ladies of position began to be more luxuriously furnished. 

* " Meubles en bois sculpte ayant figure a l'exposition retrospective de Lyon en 1S77," 
par J. 13. Giraud. 



It is somewhat singular that while Normandy very quickly adopted 
the new designs in her buildings and her furniture, and Rouen carvers 
and joiners became famous for their work, the neighbouring province, 
Brittany, was conservative of her earlier designs. The sturdy Breton 
has through all changes of style preserved much of the rustic quaintness 
of his furniture, and when some years ago the writer was stranded in a 
sailing trip up the Ranee, owing to the shallow state of the river, and 
had an opportunity of visiting some of the farm houses in the country 
district a few miles from Dinah, there were still to be seen many 

Louis XIII. and his Court in a Hall witnessing a Play. 

/From a Miniature dated 16-13.) 

examples of this quaint rustic furniture. Curious beds, consisting of 
shelves for parents and children, form a cupboard in the wall and are 
shut in. during the day, by a pair of lattice doors of Moorish design, 
with the wheel pattern and spindle perforations. These, with the armoire 
of similar design, and the " huche " or chest with relief carving, of a 
design part Moorish, part Byzantine, used as a step to mount to the bed 
and also as a table, are still the garniture of a good farm house in Brittany. 


The earliest date of this quaint furniture is about the middle of the 
fifteenth century, and has been handed down from father to son by 
the more well-to-do farmers. The manufacture of armoires, cupboards, 
tables, and doors, is still carried on near St. Malo, where also some of 
the old specimens may be found. 


In the Netherlands, the reigning princes of the great House of 
Burgundy had prepared the soil for the Renaissance, and, by the marriage 
of Mary of Burgundy with the Archduke Maximilian, the countries which 
then were called Flanders and Holland passed under the Austrian rule. 
This influence was continued by the taste and liberality of Margaret of 
Austria, who, being appointed " Governor " of the Low Countries in 
1507, seems to have introduced Italian artists and to have encouraged 
native craftsmen. We are told that Corneille Floris introduced Italian 
ornamentation and grotesque borders ; that Pierre Coech, architect and 
painter, adopted and popularised the designs of Vitruvius and Serlio. 
Wood carvers multiplied and embellished churches and palaces, houses of 
Burgomasters, Town Halls, and residences of wealthy citizens. 

Oak, at first almost the only wood used, became monotonous, and as 
a relief, ebony and other rare woods, introduced by the then commencing 
commerce with the Indies, were made available for the embellishments 
of furniture and woodwork of this time. 

One of the most famous examples of rich wood carving is the 
well known hall and chimney piece at Bruges with its group of cupidons 
and armorial bearings, amongst an abundance of floral detail. This 
over ornate chef cfceuvre was designed by Lancelot Blondel and Guyot 
de Beauregrant, and^ its carving was the combined work of three craftsmen 
celebrated in their day, Herman Glosencamp, Andre Rash and Roger de 
Smet. There is in the South Kensington Museum a full-sized plaster 
cast of this gigantic chimney piece, the lower part being colored black 
to indicate the marble of which it was composed, with panels of alabaster 
carved in relief, while the whole of the upper portion of the richly carved 
ceiling of the room is of oak. This chimney piece is noteworthy, not only 
artistically but historically, as being a monument in its way, in celebration 
of the victory gained by Charles V. over Francis I. of France, in 1529, 
at Pavia, the victorious sovereign being at this time not only Emperor 
of Germany, but also enjoying amongst other titles those of Duke of 
Burgundy, Count of Flanders, King of Spain and the Indies, etc., etc. 
The large statues of the Emperor, of Ferdinand and Isabella, with some 
thirty-seven heraldic shields of the different roval families with which 



the conqueror claimed connection, are prominent features in the intricate 
and elaborate design. 

There is in the same part of the Museum a cast of the oak door of 
the Council Chamber of the Hotel de Ville at Oudenarde, of a much less 
elaborate character. Plain mullions divide sixteen panels carved in the 
orthodox Renaissance style, with cupids bearing tablets, from which are 
depending floral scrolls, and at the sides the supports are columns, with 
the lower parts carved and standing on square pedestals. The date of 
this work is 1534, somewhat later than the Bruges carving, and is a 
representative specimen of the Flemish work of this period. 

An Ebony Armoire, Richly Carved. Flemish Renaissance 
fin South Kensington Museum.) 

The clever Flemish artist so thoroughly copied the models of his 
different masters, that it has become exceedingly difficult to speak 
positively as to the identity of much of the woodwork, and to distinguish 
it from German, English, or Italian, although as regards the latter we 
have seen that walnut wood was employed very generally, whereas in 
Flanders, oak was nearly always used for figure work. 

After the period of the purer forms of the first Renaissance, the best 
time for carved woodwork and decorative furniture in the Netherlands 
was probably the seventeenth century, when the Flemish designers and 
craftsmen had ceased to copy the Italian patterns, and had established 
the style which we recognise as " Flemish Renaissance." 



Lucas Faydherde, architect and sculptor (16 17-1694)— whose boxwood 
group of the death of John the Baptist is in the South Kensington 
Museum — both the Verbruggens, and Albert Bruhl, who carved the choir 
work of St. Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, are amongst the most celebrated 
Flemish wood carvers of this time. Vriedman de Vriesse and Crispin 
de Passe, although they worked in France, belong to Flanders and to the 
century. Some of the most famous painters — Francis Hals, Jordaens, 

A Barber's Shop. 

Shewing Furn 
(From Wood Engravings by 

A Flemish Workshop. 
■e of the time. 
Amman. 16th Century.) 

Rembrandt, Metsu, Van Mieris — all belong to this time, and in some of 
the fine interiors represented by these Old Masters, in which embroidered 
curtains and rich coverings relieve the sombre colors of the dark carved 
oak furniture, there is a richness of effect which the artist could scarcely 
have imagined, but which he must have observed in the houses of the 
rich burghers of prosperous Flanders. 

In the chapter on Jacobean furniture, we shall see the influence and 
assistance which England gained from Flemish woodworkers ; and the 
similarity of the treatment in both countries will be noticed in some of 
the South Kensington Museum specimens of English marqueterie, made 
at the end of the seventeenth century. The figure work in Holland has 
always been of high order, and, although as the seventeenth century 
advanced, this perhaps became less refined, the proportions have always 
been well preserved, and the attitudes are free and unconstrained. 



A very characteristic article of seventeenth century Dutch furniture 
is the large and massive wardrobe, with the doors handsomely carved, 
not infrequently having three columns, one in the centre and one at each 
side, generally forming part of the doors, which are also enriched with 
square panels, carved in the centre and finished with mouldings. There 
are specimens in the South Kensington Museum of these, and also of 
some of earlier Flemish work when the Renaissance was purer in style 
and, as has been observed, of less national character. 

The marqueterie of this period is extremely rich, the designs are less 
severe, but the coloring of the woods is varied, and the effect is heightened 
by the addition of small pieces of mother of pearl and ivory. Later, 
this marqueterie became florid, badly finished, and the coloring of the 
veneers crude and gaud}'. Old pieces of plain mahogany furniture were 
decorated with a thin layer of highly colored veneering, a meretricious 
ornamentation altogether lacking refinement. 

There is, however, a peculiarity and character about some of the 
furniture of North Holland, in the town of Alkmaar, Hoorn, and others 
in this district, which is worth noticing. The treatment has always been 
more primitive and quaint than in the Flemish cities to which allusion 
has been made — and it was here that the old farmhouses of the Nord- 
Hollander were furnished with the rush-bottomed chairs, painted green ; 
with three-legged tables, and dower chests painted in flowers and figures 
of a rude description ; the coloring of which is chiefly green and bright 
red, and is extremely effective. 

A Flemish Citizen at Meals. 
(From a XVI. Century MS.) 




We have seen that Spain, as well as Germany and the Low Countries, 
was under the rule of the Emperor Charles V., and therefore it is 
unnecessary to look further for the sources of influence which carried 
the wave of Renaissance to the Spanish carvers and cabinet makers. 

After Van Eyck was sent for to paint the portrait of King John's 
daughter, the Low Countries continued to export to the Peninsula 
painters, sculptors, tapestry weavers, and books on Art. French 
artists also found employment in Spain, and the older Gothic became 

Sedan Chair of Charles V. 

Probably made in the Netherlands. Arranged with movable back 
and uprights to form a canopy when desired. 

(In the Royal Armoury, Madrid.) 

superseded as in other countries. Berruguete, a Spaniard, who had 
studied in the atelier of Michael Angelo, returned to his own country 
with the new influence strong upon him, and the vast wealth and 
resources of Spain at this period of her history enabled her nobles to 
indulge their taste in cabinets, richly ornamented with repousse plaques 
of silver, and later of tortoise-shell, of ebony, and of scarce woods from 
her Indian possessions; though in a more general way chestnut was still 
a favorite medium. 



Contemporaneously with decorative woodwork of Moorish design there 
was also a great deal of carving, and of furniture made, after designs 
brought from Italy and the North of Europe ; and Mr. J. H. Pollen, 
quoting a trustworthy Spanish writer, Senor J. F. Riano, says: — "The 
brilliant epoch of sculpture (in wood) belongs to the sixteenth century, and 
was due to the great impulse it received from the works of Berruguete 
and Felipe de Borgonu. He was the chief promoter of the Italian style, 

Silver Table, Late i6th or Early 17TH Century. 
(In the King's Collection, Windsor Castle. I 

and the choir of the Cathedral of Toledo, where he worked so much, 
is the finest specimen of the kind in Spain. Toledo, Seville, and 
Valladolid were at the time great productive and artistic centres." 

The same writer, after discussing the characteristic Spanish cabinets, 
decorated outside with fine ironwork and inside with columns of bone 
painted and gilt, which were called " Vargueiios," says: — "The other 
cabinets or escritoires belonging to that period (sixteenth century) were to 
a large extent imported from Germany and Italy, while others were made 
in Spain in imitation of these, and as the copies were very similar it 
is difficult to classifv them." * 


Covered in Leather, with embossed pattern. Spanish. (Collection of Baron de Valliere.) 
Period : Early XVII. Century. 


With wrought iron mounts and falling flap, on carved stand. 
(Collection of M. Monbrison.) 

Period : XVII. Century. 



" Besides these inlaid cabinets, others must have been made in the 
sixteenth century inlaid with silver. An Edict was issued in 1594, 
prohibiting, with the utmost rigour, the making and selling of this kind 
of merchandise, in order not to increase the scarcity of silver." The 
Edict says that " no cabinets, desks, coffers, braziers, shoes, tables, 
or other articles decorated with stamped, raised, carved, or plain silver 
should be manufactured." 

The beautiful silver table in His Majesty's collection at Windsor 
Castle, illustrated on page 68, is probably one of Spanish make of late 
sixteenth or early seventeenth century. 

Although not strictly within the period treated of in this chapter, 
it is convenient to observe that much later, in the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries, one finds the Spanish cabinet maker ornamenting 
his productions with an inlay of ivory let into tortoise-shell, representing 
episodes in the history of Don Quichottc, and scenes from the National 
pastime of bull-fighting. These cabinets generally have simple rectangular 
outlines with numerous drawers, the fronts of which are decorated in 
the manner described, and when the stands are original they are formed 
of turned legs of ebony or stained wood. In many Spanish cabinets 
the influence of Saracenic Art is very dominant ; these have generally 
a plain exterior, the front is hinged as a fall-down flap, and discloses 
a decorative effect which reminds one of some of the Alhambra work — 
quaint arches inlaid with ivory, of a somewhat bizarre coloring of 
blue and vermilion — altogether a rather barbarous but rich and effective 

To the seventeenth century also belonged the high-backed Spanish 
and Portuguese chairs, of dark brown leather, stamped with numerous 
figures, birds and floral scrolls, studded with brass nails and ornaments, 
while the legs and arms are alone visible as woodwork. They are made 
of chestnut, with some leafwork or scroll carving. There is a good 
representative woodcut of one of these chairs. 

Until Baron Davillier wrote his work on Spanish Art, very little 
was known of the various peculiarities by which we can now distinguish 
examples of woodwork and furniture of that country from many Italian 
or Flemish contemporary productions. Some of the Museum specimens 
will assist the reader to mark some of these characteristics, and it may be 
observed generally that in the treatment of figure subjects in the carved 
work, the attitudes are somewhat strained and, as has been stated, the 
outlines of the cabinets are without any special feature. Besides the 
Spanish chestnut (noyer), which is singularly lustrous and was much used, 
one also finds cedar, cypress wood and pine. 


In the Chapel of Saint Bruno, attached to the Carthusian Convent 
at Granada, the doors and interior fittings are excellent examples of 
inlaid Spanish work of the seventeenth century ; the monks of this order 
at a somewhat earlier date are said to have produced the " tarsia," or 
inlaid work, to which some allusion has already been made. 


German Renaissance may be said to have made its debut under 
Albrecht Durer. There was already in many of the German cities a 
disposition to copy Flemish artists, but under Diirer's influence this 
new departure became developed in a high degree, and, as the sixteenth 
century advanced, the Gothic designs of an earlier period were abandoned 
in favour of the more free treatment of figure ornament, scrolls, enriched 
panels and mouldings, which mark the new era in all Art work. 

Many remarkable specimens of German carving are to be met 
with in Augsburg, Aschaffenburg, Berlin, Cologne, Dresden, Gotha, 
Munich, Manheim, Nuremberg, Ulm, Regensburg, and other old German 

Although made of steel, the celebrated chair at Longford Castle in 
Wiltshire is worth}' of some notice as a remarkable specimen of German 
Renaissance. It is fully described in Richardson's " Studies from Old 
English Mansions." It was the work of Thomas Rukers, and was 
presented by the city of Augsburg to the Emperor of Germany in 1577. 
The city arms are at the back, and also the bust of the Emperor. The 
other minute and carefully finished decorative subjects represent various 
events in history ; a triumphal procession of Caesar, the Prophet Daniel 
explaining his dream, the landing of iEneas, and other events. The 
Emperor Rudolphus placed the chair in the City of Prague, Gustavus 
Adolphus plundered the city and removed it to Sweden, whence it was 
brought by Mr. Gustavus Brander about 100 years ago, and sold by him 
to Lord Radnor. 

As is the case with Flemish wood-carving, it is often difficult to 
identify German work, but its chief characteristics may be described as 
an exuberant realism and a fondness for minute detail. M. Bonnaffe has 
described this work in a telling phrase : " V ensemble est iourmente, laborieux, 
tuuffu tumultuetix:" 

There is a remarkable example of rather late German Renaissance 
oak carving in the private chapel of S. Saviour's Hospital, in Osnaburg 
Street, Regent's Park, London. The choir stalls, some 31 in number, and 
the massive doorway, formed part of a Carthusian monastery at Buxheim, 


At Longford Castle, Wiltshire. 



Bavaria, which was sold and brought to London after the monastery had 
been secularised and had passed into the possession of the territorial 
landlords, the Bassenheim family. At first intended to ornament one 
of the Colleges at Oxford, it was afterwards resold and purchased by the 
author, and fitted to the interior of S. Saviour's, and, so far as the 
proportions of the chapel would admit of such an arrangement, the relative 
positions of the different parts are maintained. The figures of the twelve 
apostles — of David, Eleazer, Moses, Aaron, and of the eighteen saints 
at the back of the choir stalls, are marvellous work, and the whole must 
have been a harmonious and well-considered arrangement of ornament. 
The work, executed by the monks themselves, is said to have been 
commenced in 1600, and to have been completed in 165 1, and though 
a little later than, according to some authorities, the best time of the 
Renaissance, is so good a representation of German work of this period 
that it will well repay an examination. As the author was responsible for 
its arrangement in its present position, he has the permission of the 
authorities of S. Saviour's to say that anyone who is interested in Art 
will be allowed to see the chapel. 

German Carved Oak Buffet, 17TH Century 
(I''ioin a Drawing by Prof. Heidehff.) 

7 2 



England under Henry the Eighth was peaceful and prosperous, and 
the King was ambitious to outvie his French contemporary, Francois I., 
in the sumptuousness of his palaces. John of Padua, Holbein, Havernius 
of Cleves, and other artists, were induced to come to England and to 
introduce the new style. It, however, was of slow growth, and we have 
in the mixture of Gothic, Italian, and Flemish ornament, the style which 
is known as " Tudor." 

It has been well said that " Feudalism was ruined by gunpowder." 
The old-fashioned feudal castle was certainly no longer proof against 
cannon, and with the new order of things, threatening walls and serried 
battlements gave way as if by magic to the pomp and grace of the 
Italian mansion. . High roofed gables, rows of windows and glittering 
oriels looking down on terraced gardens, with vases and fountains, mark 
the new epoch. 

Oak Chest 

the Style of Holi 

The joiner's work plays a very important part in the interior 
decoration of the castles and country seats of this time, and the roofs 
were magnificently timbered with native oak, which was available in longer 
lengths than that of foreign growth. The great Hall in Hampton 
Court Palace, which was built by Cardinal Wolsey and presented to 
his master, the halls of Oxford, and many other public buildings which 
remain to us, are examples of fine woodwork in the roofs. Oak 
panelling was largely used to line the walls of the great halls, the 


" linen scroll pattern " being a favorite form of ornament. This term 
describes a panel carved to represent a napkin folded in close convolutions, 
and appears to have been adopted from German work ; specimens of this 
can be seen at Hampton Court, and in old churches decorated in the 
early part of the sixteenth century. There is also some fine panelling of 
this date in King's College, Cambridge. 

In this class of work, which accompanied the style known in architec- 
ture as the " Perpendicular," some of the finest specimens of ornamented 
interiors are to be found, that of the roof and choir stalls in the beautiful 
Chapel of Henry VII. in Westminster Abbey being world famous. The 
carved enrichments of the under parts of the seats, or " misericords," are 
remarkably minute, the subjects apparently being taken from old German 
engravings. This work was done in England before architecture and 
wood carving had altogether flung aside their Gothic trammels, and 
shews an admixture of the new Italian style which was afterwards so 
generally adopted. 

There are in the British Museum some interesting records of contracts 
made in the ninth year of Henry VIII. 's reign for joyner's work at 
Hengrave, in which the making of " livery " or service cupboards is 

" Ye cobards they be made ye facyon of livery y is w th out 

These were fitted up by the ordinary house carpenters, and consisted 
of three stages or shelves standing on four turned legs, with a drawer 
for table linen. They were at this period not enclosed, but the mugs 
or drinking vessels were hung on hooks, and were taken down and 
replaced after use : a ewer and basin was also part of the complement 
of a livery cupboard, for cleansing these cups. In Harrison's description 
of England in the latter part of the sixteenth century the custom is thus 
described : 

" Each one as necessitie urgeth, calleth for a cup of such drinke 
as him liketh, so when he hath tasted it, he delivereth the cup again 
to some one of the standers by, who maketh it clean by pouring out 
the drinke that remaineth, restoreth it to the cupboard from whence he 
fetched the same." 

It must be borne in mind, in considering the furniture of the 
earlier part of the sixteenth century, that the religious persecutions of 
the time, together with the general break up of the feudal system, had 
gradually brought about the disuse of the old custom of the master of 
the house taking his meals in the large hall or " houseplace," together 
with his retainers and dependants ; and a smaller room leading from 



the great hall was fitted up with a " dressoir " or " service cupboard," 
for the drinking vessels in the manner just described, with a bed- 
stead, and a chair, some benches, and the board on trestles, which 
formed the table of the period. This room, called a " parler " or 
" privee parloir," was the part of the house where the family enjoyed 
domestic life, and it is a singular fact that the Clerics of the time, 
and also the Court party, saw in this tendency towards private life 
so grave an objection that, in 1526, this change in fashion was the 
subject of a Court ordinance, and also of a special Pastoral from 
Bishop Grosbeste. The text runs thus : " Sundrie noblemen and 

Chair said to have belonged to Anna Bolevx, Hever Castle. 
{From the Collection of Mr. Godwin, F.S.A.) 

gentlemen and others doe much delighte to dyne in corners and secret 
places," and the reason given, was that it was a bad influence, dividing 
class from class : the real reason was probably that by more private 
and domestic life, the power of the Church over her members was 



In spite, however, of opposition in high places, the custom of using 
the smaller rooms became more common, and we shall find the furniture, 
as time goes on, designed accordingly. 

Tudor Cabinet in~the South Kensington Museum. 
{Described below.) 

In the South Kensington Museum there is a very remarkable 
cabinet, the decoration of which points to its being made in England 
at this time — that is, about the middle, or during the latter half of the 
sixteenth century ; but the highly finished and intricate marqueterie and 


carving would seem to prove that Italian or German craftsmen had 
executed the work. It should be carefully examined as a very interesting 
specimen. The Tudor arms, the rose and portcullis, are inlaid on the 
stand. The arched panels in the folding doors and at the ends of 
the cabinet are in high relief, representing battle scenes, and bear 
some resemblance to Holbein's style. The general arrangement of 
the design reminds one of a Roman triumphal arch. The woods 
employed are chiefly pear tree, inlaid with coromandel and other woods. 
Its height is 4ft. 7m. and width 3ft. iin., but there is in it an 
immense amount of careful detail which could only be the work of 
the most skilful craftsmen of the day, and it was evidently intended 
for a room of moderate dimensions where the intricacies of design 
could be observed. Mr. Hungerford Pollen has described this cabinet 
fully, giving the subjects of the ornament, the Latin mottoes and 
inscriptions, and other details, which occupy over four closely-printed 
pages of his Museum catalogue. It cost the nation £500, and was a 
very judicious purchase. 

Chairs were during the first half of the sixteenth century very 
scarce articles, and, as we have seen with other countries, only used 
for the master or mistress of the house. The chair which is said to 
have belonged to Anna Boleyn, of which an illustration is given on page 74, 
is from the collection of the late Mr. Geo. Godwin, F.S.A., formerly 
editor of " The Builder," and was part of the contents of Hever Castle, 
in Kent. It is of carved oak, inlaid with ebony and boxwood, and was 
probably made by an Italian workman. " Settles " were largely used, and 
both these and such chairs as then existed, were dependent, for richness 
of effect, upon the loose cushions with which they were furnished. 

If we attempt to gain a knowledge of the designs of the tables of the 
sixteenth, and the early part of the seventeenth centuries, from interiors 
represented in paintings of this period, the visit to the picture gallery 
will be almost in vain, for in nearly every case the table is covered 
by a cloth. As these cloths or " carpets," as they were then termed, 
to distinguish them from the " tapet " or floor covering, often cost far 
more than the articles they covered, a word about them may be 

Most of the old inventories from 1590, after mentioning the "framed" 
or " joyned " table, name the " carpett of Turky werke " which covered 
it, and in many cases there was still another covering to protect the best 
one, and when Frederick, Duke of Wurtemburg, visited England in 1592, 
he noted a very extravagant " carpett " at Hampton Court, which was 
embroidered with pearls and cost 50,000 crowns. 


The cushions or "quysshens" for the chairs, of embroidered velvet, 
were also very important appendages to the otherwise hard oaken and 
ebonv seats, and as the actual date of the will of Alderman Glasseor 
quoted below is 1589, we may gather from the extract given, some- 
thing of the character and value of these ornamental accessories which 
would probably have been in use for some five and twenty or thirty 
years previously. 

" Inventory of the contents of the parler of St. Jone's, within the 
cittie of Chester," of which place Alderman Glasseor was vice-cham- 
berlain : — 

"A drawinge table of joyned work with a frame," valued at " xl shillings," equilius 

Labour £20 your present money. 
Two formes covered with Turkey work to the same belonginge xiij shillings and iiij 

A joyned frame xvjrf. 
A bord ijs. \]d. 

A little side table with a frame ijs. v'yl. 
A pair of virginalls with the frame xxxs. 
Six joyned stooles covr'd with nedle werke xvs. 
Sixe other joyned stooles vjs. 
One cheare of nedle werke iijs. iiij</. 
Two little fote stooles iiiji. 
One longe carpett of Turky werke \\li. 
A shortte carpett of the same work xijs. i\\]d. 
One cupbord carpett of the same xs. 
Sixe quysshens of Turkye xijs. 
Sixe quysshens of tapestree xxs. 

And others of velvet "embroidered wt gold and silver armes in the middesle." 
Eight pictures xls. Maps, a pedigree of Earl Leicester in "joyned frame" and a list 

of books. 

This Alderman Glasseor was apparently a man of taste and culture 
for those days ; he had " casting bottles " of silver for sprinkling perfumes 
after dinner, and he also had a country house " at the sea," where 
his parlour was furnished with a " canapy bedd." 

As the century advances, and we get well into Elizabeth's reign, 
wood carving becomes more ambitious, and although it is impossible to 
distinguish the work of Flemish carvers who had settled in England 
from that of our native craftsmen, these doubtless had acquired from the 
former much of their skill. In the costumes and in the faces of figures 
or busts, produced in the highly ornamental oak chimney pieces of the 
time, or in the carved portions of the fourpost bedsteads, the national 
characteristics are preserved, and, with a certain grotesqueness introduced 
into the treatment of accessories, combine to distinguish the English 
school of Elizabethan ornament from other contemporary work. 

Knole, Longleat, Burleigh, Hatfield, Hardwick, and Audley End are 
familiar instances of the change in interior decoration which accompanied 
that in architecture ; terminal figures, that is, pedestals diminishing 


towards their bases, surmounted by busts of men or women, elaborate 
interlaced strap work carved in low relief, trophies of fruit and flowers, 
take the places of the more Gothic treatment formerly in vogue. The 
change in the design of furniture naturally followed, for when Flemish 
or Italian carvers were not employed, the actual execution was often bv 
the hand of the house carpenter, who was influenced by what he saw 
around him. 

The great chimney-piece in Speke Hall, near Liverpool, portions of 
the staircase of Hatfield, and of other English mansions before mentioned, 
are good examples of the wood carving of this period, and the illustrations 
from authenticated examples which are given will assist the reader to 
follow these remarks. 

The Glastonbury Chair. 
(In the Palace of the Bishop of Bath and Wells.) 

There is a mirror frame at Goodrich Court of early Elizabethan 
work, carved in oak and partly gilt ; the design is in the best style 
of Renaissance, and more like Italian or French, than English work. 
Architectural mouldings, wreaths of flowers, cupids, and an allegorical 
figure of Faith are harmoniously combined in the design, the size of 
the whole frame being 4ft. 5ms. by 3ft. bins. It bears the initials 
R.M., and is dated 1359, the year in which Roland Meyrick became 
Bishop of Bangor ; it is still in the possession of the Meyrick family. 
A careful drawing of this frame was made by Henry Shaw, F.S.A., 
and published in " Specimens of Ancient Furniture drawn from existing 
Authorities,'* in 1836. This valuable work of reference also contains finished 
drawings of other noteworthy examples of the sixteenth century furniture 
and woodwork. Amongst these is one of the Abbot's chair at Glastonbury, 
temp. Henry VIII., the original of the chair familiar to us now in the 
chancel of most churches ; also a chair in the State-room of Hardwick Hall, 


Derbyshire, covered with crimson velvet embroidered with silver tissue, 
and others, very interesting to refer to because the illustrations are all 
drawn from the articles themselves, and their descriptions are written 
by an excellent antiquarian and collector, Sir Samuel Rush Meyrick. 

The mirror frame just described was probably one of the first of 
its size and kind in England. It was the custom, as has been already 
stated, to paint the walls with subjects from history or Scripture, and 
there are many precepts in existence from early times until about the 
beginning of Henry VIII. 's reign, directing how certain walls were to be 
decorated. The discontinuance of this fashion brought about the framing 
of pictures, and some of the paintings by Holbein, who came to this 
country about 1511, and received the patronage of Henry VIII. some 
fourteen or fifteen years later, are probably the first pictures that were 
framed in England. There are some two or three of these at Hampton 
Court Palace, the ornament being a scroll in gold on a black background, 
the width of the frame very small in comparison with its canvas. Some 
of the old wall paintings were on a small scale, and, where long stories 
were represented, the subjects, instead of occupying the whole flank of the 
wall, had been divided into rows some three feet or less in height, these 
being separated by battens, and therefore the first frames would appear to 
be really little more than the addition of vertical sides to the horizontal 
top and bottom which such battens had formed. Subsequently, frames 
became more ornate and elaborate. After their application to pictures, 
their use for mirrors was but a step in advance, and the mirror in a 
carved and gilt or decorated frame, probably at first imported and 
afterwards copied, came to replace the older mirror of very small 
dimensions which had been used for toilet purposes. 

Until early in the fifteenth century, mirrors of polished steel in the 
antique style, framed in silver and ivory, had been used ; in the wardrobe 
account of Edward I. the item occurs: "A comb and a mirror of silver 
gilt," and we have an extract from the privy purse of expenses of 
Henry VIII. which mentions the payment "to a Frenchman for certayne 
loking glasses," which would probably be a novelty then brought to his 
Majesty's notice. 

Indeed, there was no glass used for windows* previous to the 
fifteenth century, the substitute being shaved horn, parchment, and some- 
times mica, let into the shutters which enclosed the window opening. 

The oak panelling of rooms during the reign of Elizabeth was very 
handsome, and in the example at South Kensington, of which there is 

* Dr. Jacob von Falke states that the first mention of glass as an extraordinary product 
occurs in a register of 1239. 



here an illustration, the country possesses a very excellent representative 
specimen. This was removed from an old house at Exeter, and its date 
is given by Mr. Hungerford Pollen as from 1550-75. The pilasters and 
carved panels under the cornice are very rich, and in the best style of 
Elizabethan Renaissance, while the panels themselves, being plain, afford 
repose, and bring the ornament into relief. The entire length is 52ft., 
and average height 8ft. 3m. If this panelling could be arranged as it 
was fitted originally in the house of one of Elizabeth's subjects, with 

Carved Oak Elizabethan Bedstead. 

models of fireplace, moulded ceiling, and accessories added, we should 
then have an object lesson of value, and be able to picture a Drake or a 
Raleigh in his West of England home. 

A later purchase by the Science and Art Department, which was 
added to the Museum in 1891 for the extremely moderate price of -£"1,000, 
is the panelling of a room some 23ft. square and 12ft. 6in. high, from 
Sizergh Castle, Westmoreland. The chimney piece was unfortunately 
not purchased, but the Department has arranged the panelling as a room 
with a plaster model of the extremely handsome ceiling. The panelling 


From an old house in Exeter. S. Kensington Museur 
Period: English Renaissance (about 1550-75.) 


is of richly figured oak, entirely devoid of polish, and is inlaid with black 
bog oak and holly, in geometrical designs, being divided at intervals by tall 
pilasters with flutings of bog oak and having Ionic capitals. The work 
was probably done locally, and from wood grown on the estate, and is 
one of the most remarkable examples in existence. The date is about 
1560 to 1570, and it has been described in local literature as of nearly 
200 years' age. 

While we are on the subject of panelling, it may be worth while 
to point out that with regard to old English work of this date, one may 
safely take it for granted that where, as in the South Kensington (Exeter) 
example, the pilasters, frieze, and frame-work are enriched, and the panels 
plain, the work was designed and made for the house, but when the 
panels are carved and the rest plain, they were bought, and then fitted 
up by the local carpenter. 

Another Museum specimen of Elizabethan carved oak is a fourpost 
bedstead, with the arms of the Countess of Devon, which bears date 
T 593> an< i nas a ^ t ne characteristics of the time. 

There is also a good example of Elizabethan woodwork in part 
of the interior of the Charterhouse, immortalised by Thackeray, when, 
as " Greyfriars," in the " Newcomes," he described it as the old school 
" where the colonel, and Clive, and I were brought up, and it was 
here that, as a " poor brother," the old colonel had returned to spend 
the evening of his gentle life, and, to quote Thackeray's pathetic lines, 
" when the chapel bell began to toll, he lifted up his head a little, and said 
' Adsum ! ' It was the word we used at school when names were called." 

This famous relic of old London, which fortunately escaped the 
Great Fire in 1666, was formerly an old monastery, which Henry VIII. 
dissolved in 1537, and the house was given some few years later to 
Sir Edward, afterwards Lord North, from whom the Duke of Norfolk 
purchased it in 1565, and the handsome staircase, carved with terminal 
figures and Renaissance ornament, was probably built either by Lord 
North or his successor. The woodwork of the Great Hall, where the 
pensioners still dine every day, is very rich, the fluted columns with 
Corinthian capitals, the interlaced strap work, and other details of 
carved oak, are characteristic of the best sixteenth century woodwork 
in England; the shield bears the date of 1571. This was the year 
when the Duke of Norfolk, who was afterwards beheaded, was released 
from the Tower on a kind of furlough, and probably amused himself 
with the enrichment of his mansion, then called Howard House. In 
the old Governors' room, formerly the drawing room of the Howards, 
there is a specimen of the large wooden chimney-piece of the end of the 



sixteenth century, painted instead of carved. After the Duke of Norfolk's 
death, the house was granted by the Crown to his son, the Earl of 
Suffolk, who sold it in 1611 to the founder of the present hospital, 

Dining Hall in the Charterhousk. 

Shewing Oak Screen and front of Minstrels' Gallery, dated 1571. 

Period: Elizabethan. 

Sir Thomas Sutton, a citizen who was reputed to be one of the wealthiest 
of his time. Some of the furniture given by him will be found noticed 
in the chapter on the Jacobean period. 

/ / 

O " 




There are in London other excellent examples of Elizabethan oak 
carving. Amongst those easily accessible and valuable for reference, are 
the Hall of Gray's Inn, built in 1560, the second year of the Queen's 
reign, and Middle Temple Hall, built in 1570-2. By permission of 
Mr. William R. Douthwaite, librarian of " Gray's Inn," and author of 
"Gray's Inn, its History and Associations," we are enabled to give 
illustrations of the interior of the Hall, and also of the carved screen 
supporting the Minstrels' Gallery. The interlaced strap work, generally 
found in Elizabethan carving, encircles the shafts of the columns as a 
decoration. The table in the centre has also some low relief carving 

Hall of Gray's Inn. 

Shewing Tables and Benches. 

on the drawer front which forms its frieze, but the straight and severe 
style of leg leads us to place its date at some fifty years later than the 
Hall. The desk on the left, and the table on the right, are probably 
of a still later period. It may be mentioned here, too, that the long 
table which stands at the opposite end of the Hall, on the dais, said to 
have been presented by Queen Elizabeth, is not of the design with which 
the furniture of her reign is associated by experts; the heavy cabriole 
legs, with bent knees, corresponding with the legs of the chairs (also on 


the dais) are of unmistakable Dutch origin, and so far as the writer's 
observations and investigations have gone, were probably introduced into 
England about the time of William III. 

The same remarks apply to a table in Middle Temple Hall, also said 
to have been there during Elizabeth's time. Mr. Douthwaite alludes 
to the rumour of the Queen's gift in his book, and endeavoured to 
substantiate it from records at his command, but in vain. The authorities 
at Middle Temple are also, so far as we have been able to ascertain, 
without any documentary evidence to prove the claim of their table to 
any greater age than the end of the seventeenth century. 

The carved oak screen of Middle Temple Hall is magnificent, and no 
one should miss seeing it. Terminal figures, fluted columns, panels 
broken up into smaller divisions, and carved enrichments of various 
devices, are all combined in a harmonious design, rich without being 
overcrowded, and its effect is enhanced by the rich color given to it by 
age, by the excellent proportions of the Hall, by the plain panelling of 
the three other sides, and above all by the grand oak roof, which is 
certainly one of the finest of its kind in England. Some of the tables 
and forms are of a much later date, but an interest attaches even to this 
furniture from the fact of its having been made from oak grown close to 
the Hall; and as one of the tables has a slab composed of an oak plank 
nearly thirty inches wide, we can imagine what fine old trees once grew 
and flourished close to the now busy Fleet Street, and the bustling 
Strand. There are frames, too, in Middle Temple made from the oaken 
timbers which once formed the piles in the Thames on which rested 
" the Temple Stairs." 

In Mr. Herbert's "•Antiquities of the Inns of Court and Chancery," 
there are several facts of interest in connection with the woodwork of 
Middle Temple. He mentions that the screen was paid for by contribu- 
tions from each bencher of twenty shillings, each barrister of ten shillings, 
and every other member of six shillings and eightpence ; that the Hall 
was founded in 1562, and furnished ten years later, the screen being 
put up in 1574: and that the memorials of some two hundred and fifty 
" Readers " which decorate the otherwise plain oak panelling, date from 
1597 to 1804, the year in which Mr. Herbert's book was published. 
Referring to the furniture, he says: — "The massy oak tables and benches 
with which this apartment was anciently furnished, still remain, and so 
may do for centuries, unless violently destroyed, being of wonderful 
strength." Mr. Herbert also mentions the masks and revels held in this 
famous Hall in the time of Elizabeth : he also gives a list of quantities 
and prices of materials used in the decoration of Gray's Inn Hall. 



Three Carved Oak Panels. 

Now in the Court Room of the Hall of the Carpenters' Company. Removed from the former Hall. 

Pekiod: Elizabethan. 



In the Hall of the Carpenters* Company, in Throgmorton Avenue, 

are three curious carved oak panels, worth noticing here, as they are 

of a date bringing them well into this period. They were formerly in 

the old Hall, which escaped the Great Fire, and in the account books 

of the Corporation is the following record of the cost of one of these 

panels : — 

" Paide for a planke to carve the arms of the Companie iijs." 

" Paide to the Carver for carving the arms of the Companie xxiijs. iiijd." 

The price of material (3s.) and workmanship (23s. 4d.) was certainly 

not excessive. All three panels are in excellent preservation, and the 

design of a harp, being a rebus of the Master's name, is a quaint relic of 

old customs. Some other oak furniture, in the Hall of this ancient 

Company, will be noticed in the following chapter. Mr. Jupp, a former 

Clerk of the Company, has written an historical account of the 

" Carpenters," which contains man}- facts of interest. The office of King's 

Carpenter or Surveyor, the powers of the Carpenters to search, examine, 

and impose fines for inefficient work, and the trade disputes with the 

" Joyners," the " Sawyers," and the " Woodmongers," are all entertaining 

reading, and throw many side-lights on the woodwork of the sixteenth 

and seventeenth centuries. 

Part of an Elizabethan Staircase. 

The illustration of Hardwick Hall shews oak panelling and decoration 
of a somewhat earlier, and also somewhat later, time than Elizabeth, while 
the carved oak chairs are of Jacobean style. At Hardwick is still kept 
the historic chair in which it is said that William, fourth Earl of 
Devonshire, sat when he and his friends compassed the downfall of 

S > 
1 I 


James II. In the curious little chapel, hung with ancient tapestry, and 
containing the original Bible and Prayer Book of Charles I., are other 
quaint chairs covered with cushions of sixteenth or earl}- seventeenth 
century needlework. 

Before concluding the remarks on this period of English woodwork 
and furniture, further mention should be made of Penshurst Place, to 
which there has been already some reference in the chapter on the period 
of the Middle Ages. It was here that Sir Philip Sydney spent much of 
his time, and produced his best literary work, during the period of his 
retirement when he had lost the favour of Elizabeth : and in the room known 
as the " Queen's Room," illustrated on page 89, some of the furniture 
is of this period. The crystal chandeliers are said to have been given 
by Leicester to his Royal Mistress, and some of the chairs and tables 
were sent down by the Queen, and presented to Sir Henry Sydney 
(Philip's father) when she stayed at Penshurst during one of her Royal 
progresses. The room, with its vases and bowls of old Oriental china 
and the contemporary portraits on the walls, gives us a good idea of the 
very best effect that was attainable with the material then available. 

Richardson's " Studies " contains, amongst other examples of furniture, 
and carved oak decorations of English Renaissance, interiors of Little 
Charlton, East Sutton Place, Stockton House, Wilts, Audley End, Essex, 
and the Great Hall, Crewe, with its beautiful hall screens and famous 
carved " parloir," all notable mansions of the sixteenth century. 

To this period of English furniture belongs the celebrated " Great 
Bed of Ware," of which there is an illustration. This was formerly at 
the " Saracen's Head " at Ware, but has been removed to Rye House, 
about two miles away. Shakespeare's allusion to it in the " Twelfth 
Night " has identified the approximate date and gives the bed a character. 
The following are the lines : — 

Sir Toby Belch. — And as many lies as shall lie in thy sheet of paper 
altho' the sheet were big enough for the Bed of Ware in England, set era down, 
go about it. 

Another illustration shews the chair which is said to have belonged 
to William Shakespeare : it may or may not be the actual one used 
by the poet, but it is most probably a genuine specimen of about his 
time, though perhaps not made in England. There is a manuscript 
on its back which states that it was known in 1769 as the Shakespeare 
Chair, when Garrick borrowed it from its owner, Mr. James Bacon, of 
Barnet, and since that time its history is well known. The carved 
ornament is in low relief, and represents a rough idea of the dome of 
S. Marc and the Campanile Tower. 



We have now briefly and roughly traced the advance of what may 
be termed the flood-tide of Art from its birthplace in Italy to France, 
the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, and England; and by explanation and 
description, assisted by illustrations, have endeavoured to show how the 
Gothic of the latter part of the Middle Ages gave way before the 
revival of classic forms and arabesque ornament, with the many details 
and peculiarities characteristic of each different nationality which had 

■ • i i' jij |j|i|":j V'i, 

Shakespeare's Chair. 

adopted the general change. During this period the " bahut " or chest has 
become a cabinet with all its varieties ; the simple prie dieu chair, as a 
devotional piece of furniture, has been elaborated into almost an oratory, 

the end of the period, become more ornate, and made as solid pieces 
of furniture, instead of the planks and tressels which we found when the 
Renaissance commenced. Chimney pieces, which in the fourteenth century 
were merely stone smoke shafts or hoods supported by corbels, have been 
replaced by handsome carved oak erections, ornamenting the hall or room 


Formerly at the Saracen's Head, Ware, but now at Rye House, Broxbourne, Herts. 

Period : XVI. Century. 



from floor to ceiling, and the English livery cupboard, with its foreign 
contemporary the buffet, is the forerunner of the sideboard of the future. 
Carved oak panelling has replaced the old arras- and ruder wood 
lining of an earlier time, and with the departure of the old feudal customs 
and the indulgence in greater luxuries of the more wealthy nobles and 
merchants in Italy, Flanders, France, German}', Spain, and England, we 
have the elegances and grace with which Art, and increased means of 
gratifying taste, enabled the sixteenth century virtuoso to adorn his 

The "Queen's Room," Penshurst Place. 
(Reproduced from "Historic Houses of the United Kingdom," by permission of Messrs. Casscll & Co., Limited.) 

I i 


Jacobean jfuunfture. 

English Home Life in the Reign of James I. — Sir Henry Wotton quoted — Inigo Jcnes and his 
work— Ford Castle- Chimney Pieces in South Kensington Museum— Table in the Carpenters' 
Hall— Hall of the Barbers' Company — The Charterhouse — Time of Charles I. — Furniture 
at Knole — Eagle House, Wimbledon — Mr. Charles Eastlake — Monuments at Canterbury and 
Westminster- Settles, Couches, and Chairs of the Stuart period— Sir Paul Pindar's House — 
Cromwellian Furniture — The Restoration — Indo-Portuguese Furniture — Hampton Court 
Palace — Evelyn's description — The Great Fire of London — Hall of the Brewers' Company — 
Oak Panelling of the time— Grinling Gibbons and his work— The Edict of Nantes - Silver 
Furniture at Knole— William III. and Dutch influence— Queen Anne— Sideboards, Bureaus, 
and Grandfathers' Clocks — Furniture at Hampton Court. 

N the chapter on " Renaissance " the great Art 
revival in England has been noticed; in the 
Elizabethan oak work of chimney pieces, panelling, 
and furniture, are to be found varying forms of 
the free classic style which the Renaissance had 
brought about. These fluctuating changes in 
fashion continued in England from the time of 
Elizabeth until the middle of the eighteenth 
century, when, as will be shewn presently, a 
distinct alteration in the design of furniture took 

The domestic habits of Englishmen were 
getting more established. We have seen how 
religious persecution during preceding reigns, at 
the time of the Reformation, had encouraged 
private domestic life of families in the smaller 
rooms and apart from the gossiping retainer, 
who might at an}' time bring destruction upon the 
household by giving information about items of conversation he had over- 
heard. There is a quaint passage in one of Sir Henry Wotton's letters, 
written in 1600, which shews that this home life was now becoming a 
settled characteristic of his countrymen. 

" Every man's proper mansion house and home, being the theatre 
of his hospitality, the seate of his selfe fruition, the comfortable part 
of his own life, the noblest of his son's inheritance, a kind of private 
princedom, nay the possession thereof an epitome of the whole world 

9 2 


may well deserve by these attributes, according to the degree of the 
master, to be delightfully adorned." 

Sir Henry Wotton was Ambassador in Venice in 1604, and is said 
to have been the author of the well-known definition of an ambassador's 

Oak Chimney Place in Sir Walter Raleigh's House, Youghal, Ireland. 

Said to be the work of a Flemish Artist, who was brought over for the purpose of 

executing this and other carved work at Youghal. 

calling, namely, "an honest man sent to lie abroad for his country's 
good." This offended the piety of James I., and caused him for sometime 
to be in disgrace. He also published, some 20 years later, " Elements of 
Architecture," and being an antiquarian and man of taste, sent home 
man}' specimens of the famous Italian wood carving. 

It was during the reign of James I. and that of his successor that 
Inigo Jones, our English Yitruvius, was making his great reputation ; he 
had returned from Italy full of enthusiasm for the Renaissance of Palladio 
and his school, and of knowledge and taste gained by a diligent study 



of the ancient classic buildings of Rome. His influence would be 

speedily felt in the design of woodwork fittings, for the interiors of his 

edifices. There is a note in his own copy of Palladio, which is now 

in the library of Worcester College, Oxford, which is worth quoting : — 

"In the name of God: Amen. The 2 of January, 1614, I being in Rome compared 
these desines following, with the Ruines themselves. — Inigo Jones " 

In the following year he returned from Italy on his appointment 
as King's Surveyor of Works, and until his death in 1652 was full of 
work, although unfortunately for us, much that he designed was never 
carried out, and much that he carried out has been destroyed by 
fire. The Banqueting Hall of Whitehall, now Whitehall Chapel ; St. 
Paul's, Covent Garden ; the old water gate originally intended as the 


Chimney Piece in Bvfleet House. 
Early Jacobean. 

entrance to the first Duke of Buckingham's Palace, close to Charing 
Cross ; Nos. 55 and 56, on the south side of Great Queen Street, 
Lincoln's Inn ; and one or two monuments and porches, are amongst the 
examples that remain to us of this great master's work ; and of interiors, 
that of Ashburnham House is left to remind us, with its quiet dignity of 
style, of this great master. It has been said in speaking of the staircase, 
plaster ornament, and woodwork of this interior, " upon the whole is set 
the seal of the time of Charles I." As the work was probably finished 
during the King's reign, the impression intended to be conveyed was 
that after wood carving had rather run riot towards the end of the 



sixteenth century, we had now in the interior designed by Inigo Jones, 
or influenced by his school, a more quiet and sober style. 

Chamber, Ford Castl 

The above woodcut shews a portion of the King's room, in Ford 
Castle, which still contains souvenirs of Flodden Field — according to an 
article in the Magazine of A rt. The room is in the northernmost tower, 
which still preserves externally the stern, grim character of the border 
fortress; and the room looks towards the famous battle-field. The chair 
shews a date 1638, and there is another of Dutch design of about fifty 


or sixty years later ; but the carved oak bedstead, with tapestry hangings, 
and the oak press, which the writer of the article mentions as forming 
part of the old furniture of the room, scarcely appear in the illustration. 

Mr. Hungerford Pollen tells us that the majority of so-called Tudor 
houses were actually built during the reign of James I., and this may 
probably be accepted as an explanation of the otherwise curious fact 
of there being much in the architecture and woodwork of this time which 
would seem to belong to the earlier period. 

The illustrations of wooden chimney pieces will shew this change. 
There are in the South Kensington Museum some three or four chimney 
pieces of stone, having the upper portions of carved oak, the dates of which 
have been ascertained to be about 1620 ; these were removed from an old 
house in Lime Street, City, and give us an idea of the interior decoration 
of a residence of a London merchant. The one illustrated is some- 
what richer than the others, the columns supporting the cornice of 
the others being almost plain pillars with Ionic or Doric capitals, and the 
carving of the panels of all of them is in less relief, and simpler in 
character, than those which occur in the latter part of Elizabeth's time. 

Carved Oak Centre Table. 

In the Hall of the Carpenters' Company. 

The earliest dated piece of Jacobean furniture which has come under 
the writer's observation is the octagonal table belonging to the Carpenters' 
Company. The illustration, taken from Mr. Jupp's book referred to in 
the last chapter, hardly does the table justice ; it is really a very 
handsome piece of furniture, and measures about 3 feet 3 inches in 
diameter. In the spandrils of the arches between the legs are the 
letters R.W., G.I., J.R., and W.W., being the initials of Richard Wyatt, 
George Isack, John Reeve, and William Willson, who were Master and 
Wardens of the Company in 1606, which date is carved in two of the 
spandrils. While the ornamental legs shew some of the characteristics 
of Elizabethan work, the treatment is less bold, the large acorn-shaped 
member has become more refined and attenuated, and the ornament is 

9 6 


altogether more subdued. This is a remarkable specimen of early 
Jacobean furniture, and is the only one of the shape and kind known to 
the writer ; it is in excellent preservation, save that the top is split. It 
shews signs of having been made with considerable skill and care. 

The Science and Art Department keep for reference an album con- 
taining photographs, not only of many of the specimens in the different 
museums under its control, but also of some of those which have been 

Carved Oak Chair. Carved Oak Chair. 

From Abingdon Park. In the Carpenters' Hall. 

(From Photos in the S. Kensington Museum Album.) 

Early XVII. Century. English. 

lent for a temporary exhibition. The illustration of the above two chairs 
is taken from this source, the album having been placed at the writer's 
disposal by the courtesy of Mr. Jones, of the Photographic Department. 
The left-hand chair, from Abingdon Park, is said to have belonged to 
Lady Barnard, Shakespeare's grand-daughter, and the other may still be 
seen in the Hall of the Carpenters' Company. 

In the Hall of the Barbers' Company in Monkswell Street, the Court 
room, which is lighted with an octagonal cupola, was designed by Inigo 
Jones as a Theatre of Anatomy, when the Barbers and Surgeons were one 


Removed from an old house in Lime Street, City. 

(South Kensington Museum). 

Period: James I. 



corporation. There are some three or four tables ot this period in the 
Hall, having four legs connected by stretchers, quite plain ; the moulded 
edges of the table tops are also without enrichment. These plain oak 
slabs, and also the stretchers, have been renewed, but in exactly the same 
style as the original work ; the legs, however, are the old ones, and are 
simple columns with plain turned capitals and bases. Other tables of this 
period are to be found in a few old country mansions; there is one in 
Longleat, which, the writer has been told, has a small drawer at the end, 

Oak Sideboard in the S. Kensington Museum. 
Period : William III. 

to hold the copper coins with which the retainers of the Marquis of 
Bath's ancestors used to play a game of shovel penny. In the Chapter 
House in Westminster Abbey, there is also one of these plain substantial 
James I. tables, which is singular in being nearly double the width of 
those which were usually made at this time. As the Chapter House was, 
until comparatively recent years, used as a room for the storage of 
records, this table was probably made, not as a dining table, but for 
some other purpose requiring greater width. 


In the chapter on Renaissance there was an allusion to Charterhouse, 
which was purchased for its present purpose by Thomas Sutton in 1611, 
and in the chapel may be seen to-day the original communion table 
placed there by the founder. It is of carved oak, with a row of legs 
running lengthways underneath the middle, and lour others at the corners; 
these, while being cast in the simple lines already noticed in describing 
the tables in the Barbers' Hall, and the Chapter House, Westminster 
Abbey, are enriched by carving from the base, to the third of the height of 
the leg, and the frieze of the table is also carved in low relief. The rich 
carved wood screen which supports the organ loft is also of Jacobean work. 

There is in the South Kensington Museum a carved oak chest, with a 
centre panel representing the Adoration of the Magi, of about this date, 
1615-20: it is mounted on a stand which has three feet in front and two 
behind, which are much more primitive and quaint than the ornate 
supports of Elizabethan carving : while the only ornaments on the drawer 
fronts which form the frieze of the stand are moulded panels, in the 
centre of each of which there is a turned knob by which to open the 
drawer. This chest and the table which forms its stand were probably not 
intended for each other. The illustration on the previous page shews the 
stand, which is a good representation of the carving of this time, i.e., early 
seventeenth century. The round-backed arm chair which the Museum 
purchased in 1891 from the Hailstone Collection, though dated 1614, is 
really more Elizabethan in design than one would expect. 

There is no greater storehouse for specimens of furniture in use 
during the Jacobean period than Knole, that stately mansion of the 
Sackville family, then the property of the Earls of Dorset. In the 
King's Bedroom, which is said to have been specially prepared and 
furnished for the visit of King James I., the public, owing to the 
courtesy and generous spirit of the present Lord Sackville, can still 
see the bed, originally of crimson silk, but now much faded, elaborately 
embroidered with gold. It is said to have cost £8,000, and the chairs 
and seats, which are believed to have formed part of the original 
equipment of the room, are in much the same position as they then 

In the carved work of this furniture we cannot help thinking that the 
hand of the Venetian craftsman is to be traced, and it is probable that they 
were either imported or copied from a pattern brought over for that 
purpose. A suite of furniture of that time appears to have consisted of 
six stools and two arm chairs, almost entirely covered with velvet, having 
the " ^ " form supports, which, so far as the writer's investigations have 
gone, appear to have come from Venice. In the "Leicester" gallery 



at Knole there is a portrait of the King, painted by Mytens, seated on 
such a chair, and just below the picture is placed the chair which is 

said to be identical with the one portrayed. It is similar to the one 
reproduced on page ioo from a drawing of Mr. Charles Eastlake's. 


In the same gallery also are three sofas or settees upholstered with 
crimson velvet, and one of these has an accommodating rack, by which 
either end can be lowered at will, to make a more convenient lounge. 

This excellent example of Jacobean furniture has been described and 
sketched by Mr. Charles Eastlake in " Hints on Household Taste." He 
says : " The joints are properly ' tenoned ' and pinned together in such a 

Arm Chair. 

Covered with Velvet, trimmed with Fringe, and studded with Ccpper Nails. 
Early XVII. Century. 
(From a Drawing of the Original at Knote, by Mr. Charles Eastlake.) 

manner as to ensure its constant stability. The back is formed like that 
of a chair, with a horizontal rail only at its upper edge, but it receives 
additional strength from the second rail, which is introduced at the back 
of the seat." In Marcus Stone's well-known picture of "The Stolen 
Keys," this is the sofa portrayed. The arm chair illustrated above is part 
of the same suite of furniture. The furniture of another room at Knole 
is said to have been presented by King James to the first Earl of 
Middlesex, who had married into the Dorset family. The author has 
been furnished with a photograph of this room ; and the illustration 
prepared from this will give the reader a better idea than a lengthy 


It seems from a comparison of the Knole furniture with the designs 
of some of the tables and other woodwork produced during the same 
reign, bearing the impress of the more severe style of Inigo Jones, that 
there were then in England two styles of decorative furniture. One of 
these, simple and severe, shewing a reaction from the grotesque freedom 
of Elizabethan carving, and the other, copied from Venetian ornamental 
woodwork, with cupids on scrolls forming the supports of stools, having 
these ornamental legs connected by stretchers, the design of which is, in 
the case of those in the King's Bedchamber at Knole, a couple of cnpids 
in a flying attitude holding up a crown. This kind of furniture was 
generally gilt, and under the black paint of those at Knole, traces of 
the gold are still to be seen. 

Mr. Eastlake visited Knole, and made a careful examination and 
sketches of the Jacobean furniture there, and has well described and 
illustrated it in his book just referred to; he mentions that he found 
there a slip of paper tucked beneath the webbing of a settle, with an 
inscription in Old English characters which fixed the date of some of the 
furniture at 1620. Mr. Lionel Sackville West has confirmed this date in 
a letter to the author, by a reference to the heirloom book, which also 
bears out the author's opinion that some of the more richly-carved furniture 
of this time was imported from Italy. 

In the Lady Chapel of Canterbury Cathedral there is a monument 
of Dean Boys, who died in 1625. This represents the Dean seated in his 
library, at a table with turned legs, over which there is a tapestry cover. 
Books line the walls of the section of the room shewn in the stone 
carving ; it differs little from the sanctum of a literary man of the present 
day. There are many other monuments which represent furniture of this 
period, and amongst the more curious is that of a child of King James I., 
in Westminster Abbey, close to the monument of Mary Queen of Scots. 
The child is sculptured about life size, in a carved cradle of the time. 

Holland House, Kensington, is a good example of a Jacobean 
mansion. The chief interest, inseparable from this house, is, of course, 
associated with the memory of the third Lord Holland, " nephew 
of Fox and friend of Grey," who gathered around him within its 
walls the most brilliant and distinguished society of the day, presiding 
over it with that genial courtesy which was the rich inheritance of his 

Macaulay, at the conclusion of his essay on Lord Holland, has, with 
his unrivalled power of description, told us of the charm and fascination 
of " that circle in which every talent and accomplishment, every art and 
science, had its place" — enumerating also the names of many of those 



who formed it, and expatiating on " the grace and the kindness, far more 
admirable than grace, with which the princely hospitality of that ancient 
mansion was dispensed." Princess Liechtenstein has also preserved for 
us, in " Holland House," a charming record of many of the historical 
associations of this famous old place. 

There are in the house also many objects of great interest, of various 
periods, which, by the courtesy of Lady Uchester, the writer has been 
allowed to examine. Our business, however, is with the 17th century, 
and we must now return to a consideration of the furniture and woodwork 
of that time. 

The Holland House of the time of James I. was commenced in the 
year 1607, as " Cope Castle," by Sir Walter Cope, who then owned the 
extensive " Manor " of Kensington. Cope's daughter married Sir Henry 
Rich, who became Earl of Holland in 1624, and was executed by the 
Parliamentarians in 1649. He it was who added to the house the wings 
and arcades. Princess Liechtenstein tells us the story of " the solitary 
ghost of its first lord, who, according to tradition, issues forth at 
midnight from behind a secret door, and walks slowly through the scenes 
of his former triumph with his head in his hand." 

There is some good old woodwork of the early part of the 
seventeenth century, and the panelling and chimney piece of the 
famous "white parlour" are of the times of James I., the work, still in 
good preservation, being in the best Jacobean taste. The panels are 
formed by bold uncarved mouldings, separated at intervals by flat 
pilasters with fluted shafts and carved capitals ; the panels in the frieze, 
between the trusses, which support a " dentilled " cornice, are enriched 
with fretwork ornaments in relief, and the whole has a simple but 
decorative architectural effect of the best English rendering of the 
Renaissance. The " gilt room," where the ghost is said to commence its 
nocturnal promenade, was decorated by Francesco Cleyn, an Italian, 
who also worked for the King.* The room was prepared for a ball 
which was purposed to be given in honor of the marriage of Prince 
Charles to Henrietta Maria. There are now on the chief staircase of 
Holland House, two chairs with their backs carved as shells, and with 
legs shaped and ornamented with scrollwork, and masks with swags 
of foliage, which are also attributed to Cleyn. Horace Walpole, 
in a reference to Holland House, has mentioned these chairs in 

* The present decorations of the room were painted either actually by Watts or under his 
directions, when, as favourite artist to the fourth Lord Holland, he did so much to beautify the 
house and made so many additions to its store of portraits. His work is fully described in 
" Holland House," by Princess Marie Liechtenstein. London, 1874. 


" Anecdotes of Painters.*' " Two chairs, carved and gilt, with large shells 
for backs . . . were undoubtedly from his designs, and are evidences 
of his taste.** Walpole also mentions a garden seat of similar design 
by Cleyn. A drawing of one of these chairs forms the tail piece of this 

There is another Jacobean house of considerable interest, the property 
of Mr. T. G. Jackson, A.R.A. An account of it has been written by him, 
and was read to some members of the Surrey Archaeological Society, who 
visited Eagle House, Wimbledon, in 1890. It appears to have been the 
country seat of a London merchant, who lived early in the seventeenth 
century. Mr. Jackson bears witness to the excellence of the workmanship, 
and expresses his opinion that the carved and decorated enrichments were 
executed by native and not by foreign craftsmen. He gives an illustration 
in his pamphlet of the sunk " Strap Work,"' which, though Jacobean in 
its date, is also found in the carved ornament of Elizabeth's time. 

It is very probable that had the reign of Charles I. been less 
troublous, this would have been a time of much progress in the domestic 
arts in England. The Queen was of the Medici family, Italian literature 
was in vogue, and Italian artists therefore would probably have been 
encouraged to come over and instruct our workmen. The King himself 
was an excellent mechanic, and boasted that he could earn his living at 
almost any trade save the making of hangings. His father had established 
the tapestry works at Mortlake : he himself had bought the Raffaelle 
Cartoons to encourage the work — and much was to be hoped from a 
monarch who had the taste and judgment to induce a Vandyke to settle in 
England. The Civil war, whatever it has achieved for our liberty as subjects, 
certainly hindered by many years our progress as an artistic people. 

But to consider some of the furniture of this period in detail. Until 
the sixteenth century was well advanced the word "table" in our 
language meant an index or pocket book (tablets), or a list, not an article 
of furniture. The table was, as we have noticed in the time of Elizabeth, 
composed of boards generally hinged in the middle for convenience of 
storage, and supported on trestles which were sometimes ornamented 
bv carved work. The word trestle, by the way, is said to be derived 
from the " threstule," i.e., three-footed supports, and these three-legged 
stools "and benches formed in those days the seats for everyone except 
the master of the house. Chairs were, as we have seen, scarce articles ; 
sometimes there was only one, a throne-like seat for an honoured guest 
or for the master or mistress of the house, and doubtless our present 
phrase of "taking the chair"* is a survival of the high place a chair 
then held amongst the household gods of a gentleman's mansion. 





































































Shakespeare possibly had the boards and trestles in his mind when, 

about 1596, he wrote in " Romeo and Juliet " — 

"Come, musicians, play! 
A hall! a hall ! give room and foot it, girls 
More light, ye knaves, and turn the tables up " 

And as the scene in " King Henry the Fourth " is placed some years 

earlier than that of " Romeo and Juliet," it is probable that " table " had 

then its earlier meaning, for the Archbishop of York is made to say : — 

The King is weary 
Of dainty and such picking grievances ; 
And, therefore, will he wipe his tables clean, 
And keep no tell-tale to his memory." 

Mr. Maskell, in his handbook on " Ivories," tells us that the word 
"table" was also used, in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, to denote 
the religious carvings and paintings in churches ; and he quotes Chaucer 
to show that the word was also used to describe the game of draughts. 
" They dancen and they play at chess and tables." 

Now, however, at the time of which we are writing, chairs 
were becoming more plentiful and the table was a definite article 
of furniture. In inventories of the time and for some twenty years 
previous, as has been already noticed in the preceding chapter, we find 
mention of " joyned table," framed table, " standing " and " dormant " 
table, and the word " board " had gradually disappeared. It remains to 
us, however, as a souvenir of the past, in the name we still give to a body 
of men meeting for the transaction of business, and, in connection with 
social life, in the phrase " the festive board." The width of these earlier 
tables had been about 30 inches, and guests sat on one side only, with 
their backs to the wall, in order, it may be supposed, to be the more 
ready to resist any sudden raid which might be made on the house during 
the relaxation of the supper hour, and this custom remained in use long 
after there was any necessity for its observance. 

In the time of Charles the First the width was increased, and a 
contrivance was introduced for doubling the area of the top when required, 
by drawing out two flaps from either end, and by means of a wedge- 
shaped arrangement, the centre or main table top was lowered, and the 
whole table, thus increased, became level. Illustrations taken from Mr. 
G. T. Robinson's article on furniture in the "Art Journal" of 1881, 
represent a " Drawinge table," which was the name by which these 
" latest improvements " were known. The black lines were of stained 
pear tree, let into the oak : the acorn shaped member of the leg 
is an imported Dutch design, which became very common about this 
time, and was applied to the supports of cabinets, sometimes as in the 



illustration, plainly turned, but frequently carved. Another table of this 
period was the "folding table," which was made with twelve, sixteen, or 

with twenty legs, as shewn in the illustration of this example, and which, 
as its name implies, would shut up into about one third of its extended 
size. There is one of these tables in the Stationers' Hall. 



It was probably in the early part of the seventeenth century that 
the Couch became known in England. It was not common, nor quite 
in the form in which we now recognize that luxurious article of furniture, 
but was probably a carved oak settle, with cushions so arranged as to 
form a resting lounge by day. Shakespeare speaks of the " branch'd 

Theodore Hook's Chai 

Scrowled Chair in Carved Oak. 

velvet gown " of Malvolio having come from a " day bed," and there is 

also an allusion to one in Richard III.* 

In a volume of "Notes and Queries" there is a note which would 

shew that the lady's wardrobe of this time (1622) was a very primitive 

article of furniture. Mention is made there of a list of articles of 

* The following passage occurs in one of Beaumont and Fletcher's plays: — 
"Is the great Couch up, the Duke of Medina sent?" to which the duenna replies, 
" Tis up, and ready ; " and then Marguerite asks, " And day beds in all chambers ? " 
receiving in answer, " In all, lady." 



wearing apparel belonging to a certain Lad}' Elizabeth Morgan, sister to 
Sir Nathaniel Rich, which, according to the old document there quoted, 
dated the 13th day of November, 1622, "are to be found in a great bar'd 
chest in my Ladie's Bedchamber." To judge from this list, Lady 
Morgan was a person of fashion in those days. We may also take it 
for granted that beyond the bedstead, a prie-dieu chair, a bench, some 
chests, and the indispensable mirror, there was not much else with which 
to furnish a lady's bedroom in the reign of James I. or that of his 

The "long settle" and " scrowled chair" were two other kinds of 
seats in use from the time of Charles I. to that of James II. The 
illustrations are taken from authenticated specimens in the collection 
of Mr. Ualton, of Scarborough. They are most probably of Yorkshire 
manufacture, about the middle of the seventeenth century. The 
ornament in the panel of the back of the chair is inlaid with box or 
ash, stained to a greenish black to represent green ebony, and with 
a few small pieces of rich red wood then in great favour. Mr. G. T. 
Robinson, to whose article mentioned above we are indebted for the 

Chair used by King Charles I. during his Trial. 

description, says that this wood was " probably brought by some buccaneer 
from the West." He also mentions another chair of the Stuart period, 
which formed a table, and subsequently became the property of Theodore 
Hook, who carefully preserved its pedigree. It was purchased by its late 
owner, Mr. Godwin, editor of " The Builder." A woodcut of this chair 
is on page 107. 



Another chair to which there is an historical interest attached is that 
in which Charles I. sat during his trial ; this was exhibited in the 
Stuart Exhibition in London in 1889. The illustration on page 108 is 
taken from a print in "The Illustrated London News" of the time. 

In addition to the chairs of oak, carved, inlaid, and plain, which 
were in some cases rendered more comfortable by having cushions tied 
to the backs and seats, the upholstered chair, which we have seen had 
been brought from Venice in the early part of the reign of James I., 
now came into general use. Few have survived, but there are still to 
be seen in pictures of the period, chairs represented as covered with 
crimson velvet, studded with brass nails, the seat being trimmed with 
fringe, similar to that at Knole, illustrated on page 100. 

Carved Oak Chair. Carved Oak Chair, Jacobean Style. 

Said to have been used by some of Cromwell's family. [The original in the Author's 

(The original in the possession of T. Kiiowles Parr, Esq.) possession.) 

There is in the Historical Portrait Gallery in Bethnal Green Museum, 
a painting by an unknown artist, but dated 1642, of Sir William Lenthall, 
who was Speaker of the House of Commons on the memorable occasion 
when, on the 4th of January in that year, Charles I. entered the House 
to demand the surrender of the five members. The chair on which Sir 


William is seated answers this description, and is very similar to the 
one used by Charles I. (illustrated on page 108). 

The importation of scarce foreign woods gave an impetus to inlaid 
work in England, which had been crude and rough in the time of 
Elizabeth. In the marqueterie of Italy, France, Holland, Germany, and 
Spain, considerable excellence had already been attained. Mahogany had 
been discovered by Raleigh as early as 1595, but did not come into 
general use until the middle of the eighteenth century. 

During the year 1891, owing to the extension of the Great Eastern 
Railway premises at Bishopsgate Street, an old house of antiquarian 
interest was pulled down, and generously presented by the Company to 
the South Kensington Museum. This has been erected so as to enable 
the visitor to see a good example of the exterior as well as some of the 
interior woodwork of a quaint house of the middle of the seventeenth 
century. It was the residence of Sir Paul Pindar, during the time of 
Charles I., and it contained a carved oak chimneypiece, with some other 
good ornamental woodwork of this period. 

Staircase in General Ireton's House, dated 1630. 

In the illustration of a child's chair, which is said to have been 
used by some of Cromwell's family, can be seen an example of carved 
oak of this time ; it was lent to the writer by its present owner, in 
whose family it is an heirloom, one of his ancestors having married the 


Protector's daughter. The ornament has no particular style, and it may 
be taken for granted that the period of the Commonwealth was not 
marked by any progress in decorative Art. The illustration of a staircase 
on p. no proves that there were exceptions to the prevalent Puritan 
objection to figure ornament. In one of Mrs. S. C. Hall's papers, 
" Pilgrimages to English Shrines," contributed in 1849 to " The Art 
Journal, " she describes the interior of the house which was built for 
Bridget, the Protector's daughter, who married General Ireton. The 
handsome oak staircase had the newels surmounted by carved figures, 
representing different grades of men in the General's army — a captain, 
common soldier, piper, drummer, etc., etc., while the spaces between the 
balustrades were filled in with devices emblematical of warfare, the ceiling 
being decorated in the fashion of the period. At the time Mrs. Hall 
wrote, the house bore Cromwell's name and the date 1630. 

We may date from the Commonwealth the more general use of chairs ; 
people sat as the) 7 chose, and no longer regarded the chair as the lord's 
place. A style of chair we still recognise as Cromwellian was imported 
from Holland about this time — plain square backs and seats covered with 
brown leather, studded with brass nails. The legs, which are now generally 
turned with a spiral twist, were in Cromwell's time plain and simple. 

The residence of Charles II. abroad had accustomed him and his 
friends to fhe much more luxurious furniture of France and Holland. With 
the Restoration came a foreign Queen, a foreign Court, French manners, 
and French literature. Cabinets, chairs, tables, and couches were 
imported into England from the Netherlands, France, Spain, and Portugal ; 
and our craftsmen profited by new ideas and new patterns, and what was 
of equal consequence, an increased demand for decorative articles of 
furniture. The King of Portugal had ceded Bombay, one of the Portuguese 
Indian Stations, to the new Queen of England, and there is a chair of this 
I ndo- Portuguese work, carved in ebony, now in the Museum at Oxford, 
which was given by Charles II. either to Elias Ashmole or to Evelyn. The 
chair is very similar to one at Penshurst ; it is grouped with a settee of 
like design, together with a small folding chair which Mr. G. T. Robinson, 
in his article on " Seats," has described as Italian, but which we take 
the liberty of pronouncing to be Flemish, judging by a similar one now 
in the South Kensington Museum. 

In connection with this I ndo- Portuguese furniture, it would seem 
that spiral turning became known and fashionable in England during the 
reign of Charles II., and in some chairs of English make, which have 
come under the writer's notice, the legs "have been carved to imitate 
the effects of spiral turning — an amount of superfluous labour which 


would scarcely have been incurred, but for the fact that the country 
house-carpenter of this time had an imported model, which he copied, 
without knowing how to produce by means of the lathe the effect which 
had just come into fashion. There are, too, in certain illustrations in 
" Shaw's Ancient Furniture," some lamp-holders, in which this spiral 
turning is overdone, a fault which is frequently to be met with when any 
particular kind of ornament comes into vogue. 

The suite of furniture at Penshurst Place (illustrated), which comprises 
thirteen pieces, was probably imported about this time ; two of the 
smaller chairs appear to have their original cushions, the others have been 
re-covered by the late Lord de ITsle and Dudley. The spindles of the 
backs of two of the chairs are of ivory; the carving, which is in solid 
ebony, is much finer on some than on others. 

We gather a good deal of information about the furniture of this 
period from the famous diary of Evelyn. He thus describes Hampton 
Court Palace, as it appeared to him at the time of its preparation for 
the reception of Catherine of Braganza, the bride of Charles II., who 
spent the royal honeymoon in this historic building, which had in its 
time sheltered for their brief spans of favour the six wives of Henry VIII., 
and the sickly boyhood of Edward VI. : — 

" It is as noble and uniform a pile as Gothic architecture can 
make it. There is incomparable furniture in it, especially hangings 
designed by Raphael, very rich with gold. Of the tapestries I believe 
the world can show nothing nobler of the kind than the stories of 

Abraham and Tobit.* The Queen's bed was an embroidery 

of silver on crimson velvet, and cost £8,000, being a present made by 
the States of Holland when his Majesty returned. The great looking- 
glass and toilet of beaten massive gold were given by the Queen 
Mother. The Queen brought over with her from Portugal such Indian 
cabinets as had never before been seen here." Evelyn wrote, of course, 
before Wren made his Renaissance additions to the Palace. 

After the Great Fire, which occurred in 1666, and destroyed some 
13,000 houses, and no less than 89 churches, Sir Christopher Wren was 
given an opportunity, unprecedented in history, of displaying his power 
of design and reconstruction. Writing of this great architect, Macaulay 
says, " The austere beauty of the Athenian portico, the gloomy 
sublimity of the Gothic arcade, he was, like most of his contemporaries, 
incapable of emulating, and perhaps incapable of appreciating ; but no 
man born on our side of the Alps has imitated with so much success 
the magnificence of the palace churches of Italy. Even the superb 
* This tapestry is still in the Great Hall at Hampton Court Palace. 

Sedes, ecce tfbi ! qns> tot produxit alumuos . 

Ouot gremio nutrit Graiita.quot Isis habei 

From tkt Oriuiiml by Sir'Teirr L<1v . presented tol} 'Busby byKiiiri Ch/lHa 


From a Print in the possession of J. C. Thynne, Esq 
Period: Charles IP 


Louis XIV. has left to posterity no work which can bear a comparison 
with St. Paul's." 

Wren's great masterpiece was commenced in 1675, and completed in 
1710, and its building therefore covers a period of 35 years, carrying us 
through the reigns of James II., William III. and Mary, and well on to the 
end of Anne's reign. The admirable work which he did during this time, 
and which has effected so much for the adornment of our Metropolis, had 
a marked influence on the ornamental woodwork of the second half of 
the seventeenth century : in the additions which he made to Hampton 
Court Palace, in Bow Church, in the Hospitals of Greenwich and of 
Chelsea, there is a sumptuousness of ornament in stone and marble, 
which shew the influence exercised on his mind by the desire to rival the 
grandeur of Louis XIV., the Fountain Court at Hampton being in direct 
imitation of the Palace of Versailles. The carved woodwork of the choir 
of St. Paul's, with fluted columns supporting a carved frieze ; the richly 
carved panels, and the beautiful figure work on both organ lofts, afford 
evidence that the oak enrichments followed the marble and stone ornament. 
The swags of fruit and flowers, the cherubs' heads with folded wings, and 
other details in Wren's work, closely resemble the designs executed by 
Gibbons, whose carving will be noticed later on. 

It may be mentioned here that amongst the few churches in the city 
which escaped the Great Fire, and contained woodwork of particular note, 
are St. Helen's, Bishopsgate, and the Charterhouse Chapel, which 
contain the original pulpits of about the sixteenth century. 

The famous Dr. Busby, who for 55 years was head master of 
Westminster School, was a great favourite of King Charles, and a 
picture, painted by Sir Peter Lely, is said to have been presented to 
the Doctor by His Majesty; it is called " Sedes Busbiana." Prints 
from this old picture are scarce, and the writer is indebted to Mr. John 
C. Thynne for the loan of his copy, from which the illustration is 
taken. The portrait in the centre, of the Pedagogue aspiring to the 
mitre, is that of Dr. South, who succeeded Busby, and whose monument 
in Westminster Abbey is next to his. The illustration is interesting, as 
although it may not have been actually taken from a chair itself, it 
shews a design in the mind of a contemporary artist. 

Of the Halls of the City Guilds, there is none more quaint, and in 
greater contrast to the bustle of the neighbourhood, than the Hall of the 
Brewers' Company, in Addle Street, City. This was partially destroyed, 
like most of the older Halls, by the Great Fire, but was one of the 
first to be restored and refurnished. In the kitchen are still to be seen 
the remains of an old trestle, and other relics of an earlier period, but 


the hall or dining room, and the Court Room, are complete, with very 
slight additions, since the date of their interior equipment in 1670 to 
1673. The Court Room has a richly carved chimney piece in oak, nearly 
black with age, the design of which is a shield with a winged head, 
palms, and swags of fruit and flowers, while on the shield itself is an 
inscription, stating that this room was wainscoted by Alderman Knight, 
Master of the Company, and Lord Mayor of the City of London, in the 
year 1670. The room itself is exceedingly quaint, with its high wain- 
scoting and windows, reminding one of the portholes of a ship's cabin, 
while the chief window looks out on to the old-fashioned garden, giving 
the beholder altogether a pleasing illusion, carrying him back to the days 
of Charles II. 

The chief room or Hall is still more handsomely decorated with 
carved oak of this time. The actual date, 1673, is over the doorway 
on a tablet which bears the names, in the letters of the period, of the 
master, " James Reading, Esq.," and the wardens, " Mr. Robert Lawrence," 
" Mr. Samuel Barber," and " Mr. Henry Sell." 

The names of other masters and wardens are also written over the 
carved escutcheons of their respective arms, and the whole room is one 
of the best specimens in existence of the oak carving of this date. At 
the western end is the Master's chair, of which by the courtesy of Mr. 
Higgins, Clerk to the Company, we are able to give an illustration on 
page 115 ; the shield-shaped back, the carved drapery, and the coat-of-arms 
with the company's motto, are all characteristic features, as are also the 
Corinthian columns and arched pediments in the oak decorations of the 
room. The broken swan-necked pediment, which surmounts the cornice 
of the room over the chair, is probably a more recent addition, this 
ornament having come in about thirty years later. 

There are also the old dining tables and benches : these are as 
plain and simple as possible. In the Court Room is a table, which was 
formerly in the Company's barge ; it has some good inlaid work in the 
arcading which connects the two end standards, and some old carved 
lions' feet; the top and other parts have been renewed. There is also 
an old oak fire-screen of about the end of the seventeenth century. 

Another city hall, the interior woodwork of which dates from just after 
the Great Fire, is that of the Stationers' Company, in Ave Maria Lane, 
close to Ludgate Hill. Mr. Charles Robert Rivington, the present Clerk 
to the Company, has written a pamphlet, full of very interesting records 
of this ancient and worshipful corporation, from which the following 
paragraph is a quotation : — " The first meeting of the court after the fire, 
was held at Cook's Hall, and the subsequent courts, until the hall was 



re-built, at the Lame Hospital Hall, i.e., St. Bartholomew's Hospital. 
In 1670 a committee was appointed to re-build the hall ; and in 1674 the 
Court agreed with Stephen Colledge (the famous Protestant joiner, who 
was afterwards hanged at Oxford in 1681) to wainscot the hall 'with 
well-seasoned and well-matched wainscot, according to a model delivered 
in for the sum of £300.' His work is now to be seen in excellent 


The Master's Chair. 
Hall of the Brewers' Company. (From a pen and ink sketch by H Evans.) 

Mr. Rivington read his paper to the London and Middlesex 
Archaeological Society in 1881 ; and the writer can with pleasure confirm 
his statement as to the condition, in 1899, of this fine specimen of 
seventeenth century work. Less ornate and elaborate than the Brewers' 
Hall, the panels are only slightly relieved with carved mouldings ; but the 


end of the room, or main entrance, opposite the place of the old dais 
(long since removed), is somewhat similar to that in the Brewers' Hall, 
and presents a fine architectural effect, which will be observed in the 
illustration on page 117. 

Carved Oak Livery Cupboard. 

In the Hall of the Stationers' Company. Made in 1674, the curved pediment 

added later, probably in 1788. 

There is above an illustration of one of the two livery cupboards, 
which formerly stood on the dais, and these are good examples of the 
cupboards for display of plate of this period. The lower part was formerly 
the receptacle for unused viands, which were distributed to the poor after 
the feast. In their original state these livery cupboards finished with a 
straight cornice, the broken pediments with the eagle (the Company's 
crest) having most probably been added when the Hall was, to quote an 
inscription on a shield, " repaired and beautified in the mayoralty of the 
Right Honourable William Gill, in the year 1788," when Mr. Thomas 
Hooke was Master, and Mr. Field and Mr. Rivington (the present Clerk's 
grandfather) Wardens. 



There is still preserved in a lumber room one of the old benches of 
seventeenth century work — now replaced in the hall by modern folding 
chairs. This is of oak, with turned skittle-shaped legs slanting outwards, 
and connected and strengthened by plain stretchers. The old tables are 
still in their original places. 

Carved Oak Screen. 
In the Hall of the Stationers' Company, erected in 1674 : the Royal Coat 01 Arms has been since added. 

Another example of seventeenth century oak panelling is the 
handsome chapel of the Mercers' Hall — the only city Company possessing 
their own chapel — but only the lining of the walls and the reredos are of 
the original work, the remainder having been added some ten or twelve 
years ago, when some of the original carving was made use of in the 
new work. Indeed, in this magnificent hall, about the most spacious of 
the old City Corporation Palaces, there is a great deal of new work 
mixed with old — new chimney pieces and old overmantels — some of 
Grinling Gibbons' carved enrichments, so painted and varnished as to 
have lost much of their character ; these have been applied to the oak 
panels in the large dining hall. 

The woodwork lining of living rooms had been undergoing changes 
since the commencement of the period of which we are now writing. In 


1638 a man named Christopher had taken out a patent for enamelling 
and gilding leather, which was used as a wall decoration over the oak 
panelling. This decorated leather had hitherto been imported from 
Holland and Spain ; when this was not used, and tapestry, which was 
very expensive, was not obtainable, the plaster was roughly ornamented. 
Somewhat later than this, pictures were let into the wainscot to form part 
of the decoration, for in 1669 Evelyn, when writing of the house of the 
" Earl of Norwich," in Epping Forest, says, " A good many pictures put 
into the wainscot which Mr. Baker, his lordship's predecessor, brought 
from Spaine." Indeed, subsequently the wainscot became simply the 
frame for pictures, and the same writer deplores the disuse of timber, 
and expresses his opinion that a sumptuary law ought to be passed to 
restore the " ancient use of timber." Although no law was enacted on 
the subject, yet, some twenty years later, the whirligig of fashion brought 
about the revival of the custom of lining rooms with oak panelling. 

It is said that about 1670 Evelyn found Grinling Gibbons in a small 
thatched house on the outskirts of Deptford, and introduced him to the 
King, who gave him an appointment on the Board of Works, and 
patronised him with extensive orders. The character of his carving is 
well known ; generally using lime-tree as the vehicle of his designs, 
his life-like birds and flowers, groups of fruit, and heads of cherubs, are 
easily . recognised. One of the rooms in Windsor Castle is decorated 
with the work of his chisel, which can also be seen in St. Paul's 
Cathedral, Hampton Court Palace, Chatsworth, Burleigh, and perhaps 
his best, in Petworth House, in Sussex. He also sculptured in stone. The 
base of King Charles' statue at Windsor, the font of St. James', Picca- 
dilly (round the base of which are figures -of Adam and Eve), are his 
work, as is also the lime-tree border of festoon work over the Communion 
table. Gibbons was an Englishman, but appears to have spent his boy- 
hood in Holland, where he was christened "Grinling." He died in 1721. 
His pupils were Samuel Watson, a Derbyshire man, who did much of 
the carved work at Chatsworth, Drevot of Brussels, and Lawreans of 
Mechlin. Gibbons and his pupils founded a school of carving in England 
which has been continued by tradition to the present day. 

A somewhat important immigration of French workmen occurred 
about this time, owing to the persecutions of Protestants in France, which 
followed the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, by Louis XIV., 
and these refugees bringing with them their skill, their patterns and ideas, 
influenced the carving of our ornamental frames, and the designs of some 
of our furniture. This influence is to be traced in some of the contents 
of Hampton Court Palace, particularly in the carved and gilt centre tables 

Silver Furniture at Knole. 
(From a Photo by Mr. Corhc, of Sevenoaks.) 


and the torcheres of French design but of English workmanship. It is said 
that no less than 50,000 families left France, some thousands of whom 
belonged to the industrial classes, and settled in England and Germany, 
where their descendants still remain. They introduced the manufacture 
of crystal chandeliers, and founded our Spitalfields silk industry, and other 
trades till then little practised in England. 

The beautiful silver furniture at Knole belongs to this time, having 
been made for one of the Earls of Dorset, in the reign of James II. 
The illustration is from a photograph taken by Mr. Corke, of Sevenoaks. 
Electrotypes of the originals are in the South Kensington Museum. 
From two other suites at Knole, consisting of a looking glass, a table, 
and a pair of torcheres, in the one case of plain walnut wood, and 
in the other of ebony with silver mountings, it would appear that a 
toilet suite of furniture of the time of James II. generally consisted of 
articles more or less costly, according to circumstances, but of a similar 
pattern to those shewn in the illustration. The silver table bears the 
English Hall mark of the reign. 

Specimens of English furniture, dating from about 1680 to 1700. 
distinctly shew the influence of Flemish design. The Stadtholder, King 
William III., with his Dutch friends, imported many of their household 
gods, and our English craftsmen seem to have copied these very closelv. 
The chairs and settees in the South Kensington Museum, and at Hampton 
Court Palace, have the shaped back, with a wide inlaid or carved upright 
bar : the cabriole leg and the carved shell ornament on the knee of the 
leg, and on the top of the back, which are still to be seen in many of 
the old Dutch houses. 

There are a few examples of furniture of this date, which it is almost 
impossible to distinguish from Flemish, but in some others there is a 
characteristic decoration in marqueterie, which may be described as a 
seaweed scroll in holly or box wood, inlaid on a pale walnut ground. A 
good example of this is to be seen in the upright " grandfather's clock " 
in the South Kensington Museum, the effect being a pleasing harmony of 

In the same collection there is also a walnut wood centre table, dating 
from about 1700, which has twisted legs and a stretcher, the top being 
inlaid with intersecting circles, relieved by the inlay of some stars in ivory. 

As we have observed with regard to French furniture of this time, 
mirrors came more generally into use, and the frames were both carved 
and inlaid. There are several of these at Hampton Court Palace, all with 
bevelled edged plate glass ; some have frames entirely of glass, the short 
lengths which make the frame having, in some cases, the joints covered 


by rosettes of blue glass, and in others a narrow moulding of gilt work 
on each side of the frame. In one room (the Queen's Gallery) the frames 
are painted in colors and relieved by a little gilding. 

The taste for importing old Dutch furniture, also lacquer cabinets 
from Japan, not only gave relief to the appearance of a well furnished 
apartment of this time, but also brought new ideas to our designers and 
workmen. Our collectors, too, were at this time appreciating the Oriental 
china, both blue and white, and colored, which had a good market in 
Holland, so that with the excellent silversmith's work then obtainable, it 
was possible in the time of William and Mary to arrange a room with 
more artistic effect than at an earlier period, when the tapestry and 
panelling of the the walls, a table, the livery cupboard previously described, 
and some three or four chairs, had formed almost the whole furniture of 
reception rooms. 

The first mention of corner cupboards appears to have been made 
in an advertisement of a Dutch joiner in " The Postman " of March 8th, 
171 1 ; these cupboards, with their carved pediments, being part of the 
modern fittings of a room of the time of Queen Anne. 

The oak presses common to this and earlier times are formed of 
an upper and lower part, the former sometimes being three sides of an 
octagon with the top supported by columns, while the lower half is 
straight, and the whole is carved with incised ornament. These useful 
articles of furniture, in the absence of wardrobes, are described in 
inventories of the time (1680-1720) as " press cupboards," " great cup- 
boards,'' "wainscot," and "joyned cupboards." 

The first mention of a " Buerow," as our modern word " Bureau " 
was then spelt, is said by Dr. Lyon, in his American book, "The Colonial 
Furniture of New England," to have occurred in an advertisement in 
"The Daily Post" of January 4th, 1727. The same author quotes 
Bailey's Dictionarium Britannicum, published in London, 1736, as denning 
the word " bureau " as " a cabinet or chest of drawers, or ' scrutoir ' 
for depositing papers or accounts." 

In the latter half of the eighteenth century these convenient pieces of 
furniture came into more general use, and illustrations of them as 
designed and made by Chippendale and his contemporaries will be found 
in the chapter dealing with that period. 

Dr. Lyon also quotes from an American newspaper, " The Boston 
News Letter" of April 16th, 1716, an advertisement which was evidently 
published when the tall clocks, which we now call " grandfathers' clocks," 
were a novelty, and as such were being introduced to the American 
public. We have already referred to one of those which is in the South 


Kensington Museum (date 1700), and no doubt the manufacture of 
similar clocks became more general during the first years of the eighteenth 
century. The advertisement alluded to runs, " Lately come from London, 
a parcel of very fine clocks— they go a week and repeat the hour when 
pulled " (a string caused the same action as the pressing of the handle 
of a repeating watch) "in Japan cases or wallnut." 

The style of decoration in furniture and woodwork which we recognise 
as " Queen Anne," apart from the marqueterie just described, appears, 
so far as the writer's investigations have gone, to be due to the designs 
of some eminent architects of the time. Sir James Vanbrugh was 
building Blenheim Place for the Queen's victorious general, and also 
Castle Howard. Nicholas Hawksmoor had erected St. George's, Blooms- 
bury, and James Gibbs, a Scotch architect and antiquary, St. Martin's- 
in-the-Fields, and the Royal Library at Oxford : a ponderous style 
characterises the woodwork interior of these buildings. We give an 
illustration of three designs for chimney pieces and overmantels by James 
Gibbs, the centre one of which illustrates the curved or " swan-necked " 
pediment, which became a favourite ornament about this time, until 
supplanted by the heavier triangular pediment which came in with " the 

The contents of Hampton Court Palace afford evidence of the 
transition which took place in the design of woodwork and furniture 
from the time of William III. until that of George II. There is the 
Dutch chair with cabriole leg, the plain walnut card table also of Dutch 
design, which probably came over with the Stadtholder ; then, there are 
the heavy draperies, and chairs almost completely covered by Spitalfields 
silk velvet, to be seen in the bedroom furniture of Queen Anne. Later 
on, as the heavy Georgian style predominated, there is the stiff ungainly 
gilt furniture, console tables with legs ornamented with the Greek key 
pattern badly applied, and finally, as the French school of design 
influenced our carvers, an improvement may be noticed in the tables 
and torcheres, which, but for being a trifle clumsy, might pass for the 
work of French craftsmen of the same time. The state chairs, the 
bedstead, and some stools, which are said to have belonged to Queen 
Caroline, are further examples of the adoption of French fashion. 

Nearly all writers on the subject of furniture and woodwork are 
agreed in considering that the earlier part of the period discussed in 
this chapter — namely, the seventeenth century, gives us the best examples 
of English work. As we have seen in noticing some of the earlier 
Jacobean examples already illustrated and described, it was a period 
marked by increased refinement of design, through the abandonment of 



the more grotesque and often coarse work of Elizabethan carving, and by 
soundness of construction and thorough workmanship. 

Oak furniture made in England during the seventeenth century, is 
still a credit to the painstaking craftsmen of those days, and even 
upholstered furniture, like the couches and chairs at Knole, after more 
than 250 years' service, are fit for use. When we come to deal with 
furniture of the present day, and the methods of production which are 
now in practice, a comparison will be made which must be to the credit 
of the Jacobean period. 

In the foregoing chapters an attempt has been made to preserve, 
as far as possible, a certain continuity in the history of the subject 
matter of this work from the earliest times until after the Renaissance 
had been generally adopted in Europe. In this endeavour a greater 
amount of attention has been bestowed upon the furniture of a compara- 
tively short period of English history, than upon that of other countries, 
but it is hoped that this fault will be forgiven by English readers. 

It has now become necessary to interrupt this plan, and before 
returning to the consideration of European design and work, to devote 
a short chapter to those branches of the Industrial Arts connected with 
furniture, which flourished in China and Japan, in India, Persia, and 
Arabia, at a time anterior and subsequent to the Renaissance period in 

Seventeenth Century Chair 

in Holland House. 

See pp. 103, 104. 

Pattern of a Chinese Lac Screen. 
(In the South Kensington Museum.) 


Zhc furniture of Eastern Countries. 

Chinese Furniture : Probable source of artistic taste— Sir William Chambers quoted— Raciriet's 
" Le Cosiume Historique "—Dutch Influence— The South Kensington and the late Duke of 
Edinburgh Collections— Processes of making Lacquer - Screens in the Kensington Museum. 
Japanese Furniture : Early History— Sir Rutherford Alcock and Lord Elgin — The Collection 
of the Shogun— Famous Collections— Action cf the present Government of Japan— Special 
characteristics. Indian Furniture : Early European influence— Furniture of the Moguls— 
Racinet's Work — Bombay Furniture — Ivory Chairs and Tables — Specimens in the India 
Museum. Persian Woodwork : Collection of Objets d'Art formed by General Murdoch 
Smith, RE —Industrial Arts of the Persians— Arab influence— South Kensington Specimens. 
Saracenic Woodwork: Oriental customs — Specimens in the South Kensington Museum 
of Arab Work — M. d'Aveune's Work. 


E HAVE been unable to discover when the 
Chinese first began to use state or domestic 
furniture. Whether, like the ancient Assyrians 
and Egyptians, there was an early civilization 
which included the arts of joining, carving, 
and upholstering, we do not know ; most 
probably there was ; and from the plaster 
casts which one sees in our Indian Museum, 
of the ornamental stone gateways of Sanchi 
Tope, in Bhopal, Central India, it would 
appear that, in the early part of our 
Christian era, the carvings in wood of their 
neighbours and co-religionists, the Hindoos, 
represented figures of men and animals in 
the woodwork of sacred buildings or palaces. 
The marvellous dexterity in manipulating 
wood, ivory and stone which we recognize in 
the Chinese of to-day, is probably inherited from their early ancestors. 

Sir William Chambers travelled in China in the early part of the 
eighteenth century. It was he who introduced "the Chinese style" into 
furniture and decoration, which was adopted by Chippendale and other 


makers, as will be noticed in the chapter dealing with that period of 
English furniture. He gives us the following description of the furniture 
he found in " The Flowery Land." 

" The movables of the saloon consist of chairs, stools, and tables ; 
made sometimes of rosewood, ebony, or lacquered work, and sometimes 
of bamboo only, which is cheap, and, nevertheless, very neat. When 
the movables are of wood, the seats of the stools are often of marble 
or porcelain, which, though hard to sit on, are far from unpleasant in 
a climate where the summer heats are so excessive. In the corners 
of the rooms are stands four or five feet high, on which they set 
plates of citrons, and other fragrant fruits, or branches of coral in 
vases of porcelain, and glass globes containing goldfish, together with 
a certain weed somewhat resembling fennel ; on such tables as are 
intended for ornament only they also place the little landscapes, composed 
of rocks, shrubs, and a kind of lily that grows among pebbles covered 
with water. Sometimes, also, they have artificial landscapes made of 
ivory, crystal, amber, pearls, and various stones. I have seen some of 
these that cost over 300 guineas, but they are at least mere baubles, 
and miserable imitations of Nature. Besides these landscapes they adorn 
their tables with several vases of porcelain, and little vases of copper, 
which are held in great esteem. These are generally of simple and 
pleasing forms. The Chinese say they were made two thousand years 
ago, by some of their celebrated artists, and such as are real antiques 
(for there are many counterfeits) they buy at an extravagant price, 
giving sometimes no less than £300 sterling for one of them. 

"The bedroom is divided from the saloon by a partition of folding 
doors, which, when the weather is hot, are in the night thrown open 
to admit the air. It is very small, and contains no other furniture 
than the bed, and some varnished chests in which they keep their 
apparel. The beds are very magnificent ; the bedsteads are made much 
like ours in Europe — of rosewood, carved, or lacquered work : the curtains 
are of taffeta or gauze, sometimes flowered with gold, and commonly 
either blue or purple. About the top a slip of white satin, a foot in 
breadth, runs all round, on which are painted, in panels, different 
figures — flower pieces, landscapes, and conversation pieces, interspersed 
with moral sentences and fables written in Indian ink and vermilion." 

From old paintings and engravings which date from about the four- 
teenth or fifteenth century, one gathers an idea of such furniture as 
existed in China and Japan in earlier times. In one of these, which is 
reproduced in Racinet's " Le Costume Historique," there is a Chinese 
princess reclining on a sofa which has a frame of black wood, visible, 



and slightly ornamented ; it is upholstered with rich embroidery, for 
which these artistic people seem to have been famous from a very early 
period. A servant stands by her side to hand her the pipe of opium 
with which the monotony of the day was varied — one arm rests on a 
small wooden table or stand which is placed on the sofa, and which holds 
a flower vase and a pipe stand. On another old painting two figures 
are seated on mats playing a game which resembles draughts, the pieces 
being moved about on a little table with black and white squares like a 
modern chessboard, with shaped feet to raise it a convenient height for 
the players ; on the floor, cups of tea stand ready at hand. Such pictures 
are generally ascribed to the fifteenth century, the period of the great 
Ming dynasty, which appears to have been the time of an improved 
culture and taste in China. 

From this time and a century later (the sixteenth) also date those 
beautiful cabinets of lacquered wood enriched with ivory, mother-of-pearl, 
with silver and even with gold, which have been brought to England 
occasionally ; but genuine specimens of this, and of the seventeenth 
century, are very scarce and extremely valuable. 

The older Chinese furniture which one sees generally in Europe 
dates from the eighteenth century, and was made to order and imported 
by the Dutch ; this explains the curious combination to be found of 
Oriental and European designs ; thus there are screens with views of 
Amsterdam and other cities copied from paintings sent out for the 
purpose, while the frames of the panels are of carved rosewood of the 
fretted bamboo pattern, characteristic of the Chinese. Elaborate bedsteads, 
tables, and cabinets were also made, with panels of ash stained a dark 
color, and ornamented with hunting scenes, in which the representations 
of men and horses are of ivory, or sometimes with ivory faces and limbs, 
and the clothes chiefly of a brown colored wood. 

In a beautiful table in the South Kensington Museum, which is 
said to have been made in Cochin-China, mother-of-pearl is largely used 
and produces a rich effect. 

The furniture brought back by the late Duke of Edinburgh from China 
and Japan is of the usual character imported, and the remarks hereafter 
made on Indian or Bombay furniture apply equally to this adaptation of 
Chinese detail to European designs. 

The most highly prized work of China and Japan in the way of 
decorative furniture is the beautiful lacquer work, and in the notice on 
French furniture of the eighteenth century, in a subsequent chapter, we 
shall see that the process was adopted in Holland, France, and England 
with more or less success. 


It is worth while, however, to allude to it here a little more fully. 

The process as practised in China is thus described by M. Jacque- 
mart : — 

" The wood when smoothly planed is covered with a sheet of thin 
paper or silk gauze, over which is spread a thick coating made of 
powdered red sandstone and buffalo's gall. This is allowed to dry, after 
which it is polished and rubbed with wax, or else receives a wash of gum 
water, holding chalk in solution. The varnish is laid on with a fiat 
brush, and the article is placed in a damp drying room, whence it passes 
into the hands of a workman, who moistens and again polishes it with 
a piece of very fine grained soft clay slate, or with the stalks of the 
horse-tail or shave grass. It then receives a second coating of lacquer, 
and when dry is once more polished. These operations are repeated 
until the surface becomes perfectly smooth and lustrous. There are 
never applied less than three coatings and seldom more than eighteen, 
though some old Chinese and some Japan ware are said to have received 
upwards of twenty. As regards China, this seems quite exceptional, for 
there is in the Louvre a piece with the legend ' lou-tinsg,' i.e., six 
coatings, implying that even so many are unusual enough to be worthy 
of special mention." 

There is as much difference between different kinds and qualities of 
lac as between different classes of marqueterie. The most highly prized 
is the Lacquer on Gold Ground, and the first specimens of this work 
which reached Europe during the time of Louis XV. were presentation 
pieces from the Japanese Princes to some of the Dutch officials. This 
lacquer on gold ground is rarely found in furniture, and only as a rule 
in some of those charming little boxes, in which the luminous effect of the 
lac is heightened by the introduction of silver foliage on a minute scale, 
or of tiny landscape work and figures charmingly treated, partly with 
dull gold, and partly with gold highly burnished. Small placques of this 
beautiful ware were used for some of the choicest pieces of furniture 
made for Marie Antoinette, and mounted by Gouthiere. 

Avanturine lacquer closely imitates in color the sparkling mineral 
from which it takes its name, and a less highly finished preparation of it 
is used as a lining for the small drawers of cabinets. Another lacquer has 
a black ground, on which landscapes delicately traced in gold stand out in 
charming relief. Such pieces also were used by Riesener and mounted by 
Gouthiere in some of the most costly furniture made for Marie Antoinette ; 
specimens of such furniture are in the Louvre. It is this kind of lacquer, 
in varying qualities, that is usually found in cabinets, folding screens, 
coffers, tables, etageres, and other ornamental articles. Enriched with inlay 


of mother-of-pearl, the effect of which is in some cases heightened and 
rendered more effective by transparent coloring on its reverse side, as in 
the case of a bird's plumage or of those beautiful blossoms which both 
Chinese and Japanese artists can represent so faithfully. 

A very remarkable screen in Chinese lacquer of later date is in the 
South Kensington Museum ; it is composed of twelve folds, each ten feet 
high, and measuring when fully extended twenty-one feet. This screen is 
very beautifully decorated on both sides with incised and raised ornaments 
painted and gilt on black ground, with a rich border ornamented with 
representations of sacred symbols and various other objects. The price 
paid for it was £1,000. There are also in the Museum some very rich 
chairs of modern Chinese work, in brown wood, probably teak, very 
elaborately inlaid with mother-of-pearl ; they were exhibited in Paris in 

Of the very early history of Japanese industrial arts we know but 
little. We have no record of the kind of furniture which Marco Polo 
found when he travelled in Japan in the thirteenth century ; and until the 
Jesuit missionaries obtained a footing in the sixteenth century, and sent 
home specimens of native work, there was probably very little of 
Japanese manufacture which found its way to Europe. The beautiful 
lacquer work of Japan, which dates from the end of the sixteenth and 
the following century, leads us to suppose that a long period of probation 
must have occurred before these processes, which were probably learned 
from the Chinese, could have been so thoroughly mastered. 

Of furniture — with the exception of the cabinets, chests, and boxes, 
large and small — of this famous lac, there appears to have been little. 
Until the Japanese developed a taste for copying European customs and 
manners, the habit seems to have been to sit on mats and to use small 
tables raised a few inches from the ground. Even the bedrooms contained 
no bedsteads, but a light mattress served for bed and bedstead. 

The process of lacquering has already been described, and in the 
chapter on French furniture of the eighteenth century it will be seen 
how specimens of this decorative material reached France by way of 
Holland, and were mounted into the " meubles de luxe" of that time. 
With this exception, and that of the famous collection of porcelain in the 
Japan Palace at Dresden, probably but little of the Art products of this 
artistic people had been exported until the country was opened up by the 
expedition of Lord Elgin and Commodore Perry, in 1858-9, and subse- 
quently by the antiquarian knowledge and research of Sir Rutherford 
Alcock, who has contributed so much to our knowledge of Japanese 
Industrial Art ; indeed, it is scarcely too much to say, that so far as 



England is concerned, he was the first to introduce the products of the 
Empire of Japan. 

The Revolution, and the break up of the feudal system which had 
existed in that country for some eight hundred years, ended by placing 
the Mikado on the throne. There was a sale in Paris, in 1867, of 
the famous collection of the Shogun, who had sent his treasures there to 

Japanese Cabinet of Red Chased Lacquer-work. 
XVII. to XVIII. Century. 

raise funds for the civil war in which he was then engaged with the 
Daimio. This was followed by the exportation of other fine native 
productions to Paris and London ; but the supply of old and really fine 
specimens has, since about 1874, almost ceased, and, in default, the 
European markets have become flooded with articles of cheap and inferior 
workmanship, imported to meet the modern demand. The present Govern- 
ment of Japan, anxious to recover many of the masterpieces which were 


produced in the best time, under the patronage of the native princes of 
the old regime, have established a museum at Tokio, where many examples 
of fine lacquer work, which had been sent to Europe for sale, have been 
placed after repurchase, to serve as examples for native artists to copy, 
and to assist in the restoration of the ancient reputation of Japan. 

There is in the South Kensington Museum a very beautiful Japanese 
chest of lacquer work made about the beginning of the seventeenth 
century, the best time for Japanese Art ; it formerly belonged to Napoleon I., 
and was purchased at the Hamilton Palace Sale for £"722 : it is some 
3ft. 3m. long and 2ft. iin. high, and was intended 'originally as a 
receptacle for sacred Buddhist books. There are, most delicately worked 
on to its surface, views of the interior of one of the Imperial Palaces 
of Japan, and a hunting scene. Mother-of-pearl, gold, silver, and 
avanturine, are all used in the enrichment of this beautiful specimen of 
inlaid work, and the lock plate is a representative example of the best 
kind of metal work as applied to this purpose. 

The late Duke of Saxe-Coburg had several fine specimens of Chinese 
and Japanese lacquer work in his collection, about the arrangement of 
which the writer had the honour of advising His Royal Highness, when it 
arrived some years ago at Clarence House. The earliest specimen is a 
reading desk, presented to him by the Mikado, with a slope for a book, 
much resembling an ordinary bookrest, but charmingly decorated with 
lacquer in landscape subjects on the flat surfaces, while the smaller parts are 
diapered with flowers and quatrefoils in relief of lac and gold. This is of 
the sixteenth century. The collections of the Earl of Elgin and Kincardine, 
Sir Rutherford Alcock, K.C.B., Mr. Salting, Viscount Gough, and other 
well-known amateurs, contain some excellent examples of the best periods 
of Japanese Art work of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. 

The grotesque carving of the wonderful dragons and marvellous 
monsters introduced into furniture made by the Chinese and Japanese, 
and especially in the ornamental woodwork of the Old Temples, is 
thoroughly peculiar to those masters of elaborate design and skilful mani- 
pulation : and the low rate of remuneration, compared with our European 
notions of wages, enables work to be produced that would be impracticable 
under any other conditions. In comparing the ornamentation on Chinese 
with that of Japanese furniture, it ma}- be said that more eccentricity is 
effected by the latter than by the former in their designs and general 
decoration. The Japanese joiner is unsurpassed, and much of the lattice 
work, admirable in design and workmanship, is so quaint and intricate 
that only by close examination can it be distinguished from finely cut 
fret work. 




European influence upon Indian Art and manufactures has been of 
long duration. It was first exercised by the Portuguese and Dutch in the 
early days of the United East India Company, afterwards by the French, 
who established a trading company there in 1664, and lastly by the 
English, the first charter of the old East India Company dating as far 
back as 1600. Thus European taste dominated almost everything of an 
ornamental character until it became difficult to find a decorative article 
the design of which did not in some way or other shew the predominance 
of European influence over native conception. Therefore it becomes 
important to ascertain what kind of furniture, limited as it was, existed 
in India during the period of the Mogul Empire, which lasted from 1505 
to 1739, when the invasion of the Persians under Kouli Khan destroyed 
the power of the Moguls. The country formerly subject to them was then 
divided among sundry petty princes. 

The throne and State chairs used by the Moguls were rich with 
elaborate gilding : the legs or supports were sometimes of turned wood, 
with some of the members carved ; the chair was formed like an hour 
glass, or rather like two bowls reversed, with the upper part extended to 
form a higher back to the seat. In M. Racinet's sumptuous work, " Le 
Costume Historique," published in Paris in 20 volumes (1876), there are 
reproduced some old miniatures from the collection of M. Ambroise Didot. 
These represent — with all the advantages of the most highly finished 
printing in gold, silver, and colours — portraits of these native sovereigns 
seated on their State chairs, with the umbrella, as a sign of royalty. The 
panels and ornaments of the thrones are picked out with patterns of 
flowers, sometimes detached blossoms, sometimes the whole plant ; the 
colors are generally bright red and green, while the ground of a panel 
or the back of a chair is in silver, with arabesque tracery, the rest of the 
chair being entirely gilt. The couches are rectangular, with four turned 
and carved supports, some eight or ten inches high, and also gilt. With 
the exception of small tables, which could be carried into the room by 
slaves, and used for the light refreshments customary to the country, there 
was no other furniture. The ladies of the harem are represented as being 
seated on sumptuous carpets, and the walls are ornamented with gold 
and silver and color, a style of decoration very well suited to the arched 
openings, carved and gilt doors, and brilliant costumes of the occupants 
of these Indian palaces. 

After the break up of the Mogul power, the influence of Holland, 
France, and England brought about a mixture of taste and design which 


with the concurrent alterations in manners and customs, gradually led to 
the production of what is now known as the " Bombay Furniture." The 
patient, minute carving of Indian design applied to utterly uncongenial 
Portuguese or French shapes of chairs and sofas, or to the familiar round 
or oval table, carved almost beyond recognition, are instances of this 
style. One sees these occasionally in the house of an Anglo-Indian, who 
has employed native workmen to make some of this furniture for him ; 
the European chairs and tables having been given as models, while the 
details of the ornament have been left to native taste. There are in the 
Indian Museum at South Kensington several examples of this Bombay 
furniture, and also some of Cingalese manufacture. 

It is scarcely part of our subject to allude to the same kind of 
influence which has spoiled the quaint bizarre effect of native design and 
workmanship in silver, in jewellery, in carpets, embroideries, and in 
potter} - , which was so manifest in the contributions sent to South 
Kensington at the Colonial Exhibition, 1886. 

In the Jones Collection at South Kensington Museum, there are two 
carved ivory chairs and a table, the latter gilded, the former partly gilded, 
which are a portion of a set taken from Tippo Sahib at the storming 
of Seringapatam. Warren Hastings brought them to England, and they 
were given to Queen Charlotte. After her death the set was divided : 
Lord Londesborough purchased part of it, and this portion is now on 
loan at the. Bethnal Green Museum. 

Queen Victoria had also amongst her numerous Jubilee presents some 
very handsome ivory furniture of Indian workmanship, which may be seen 
at Windsor Castle. These, however, as well as the Jones Collection 
examples, though thoroughly Indian in character as regards the treatment 
of scrolls, flowers, and foliage, shew unmistakably the influence of French 
taste in their general form and composition. Articles, such as boxes, stands 
for gongs, etc., are to be found carved in sandal wood, and in dulburgia, 
or black wood, with rosewood mouldings ; and a peculiar characteristic 
of this Indian decoration, sometimes applied to such small articles of 
furniture, is the coating of the surface of the wood with red lacquer, 
the plain parts taking a high polish while the carved enrichment remains 
dull. The effect of this is precisely that of the article being made of red 
sealing wax, and frequently the minute pattern of the carved ornament 
and its general treatment tend to give an idea of an impression made in 
the wax by an elaborately cut die. The casket illustrated on page 134 
is an example of this treatment. It was exhibited in 1851. 

The larger examples of Indian carved woodwork are of teak ; the 
finest and most characteristic specimens within the writer's knowledge 



are the two folding doors which were sent as a present to the Indian 
Government, and are in the Indian Museum. They are of seventeenth 
century work, and are said to have enclosed a library at Kerowlee. While 
the door frames are of teak, with the outer frames carved with bands of 
foliage in high relief, the doors themselves are divided into panels of 
fantastic shapes, and yet so arranged that there is just sufficient regularity 
to please the eye. Some of these panels are carved and enriched with 

Casket of Indian Lacquer Work. 

ivory flowers, others have a rosette of carved ivory in the centre, and pieces 
of talc with green and red color underneath, a decoration also found in 
some Arabian work. It is almost impossible to convey by words an 
adequate description of these doors ; they should be carefully examined 
as examples of genuine native design and workmanship. Mr. Pollen 
has concluded a somewhat detailed account of them by saying : — " For 
elegance of shape and proportion, and the propriety of the composition 
of the frame and sub-divisions of these doors, their mouldings and their 
panel carvings and ornaments, we can for the present name no other 
example so instructive. We are much reminded by this decoration of 
the pierced lattices at the S. Marco in Venice." 


There is in the Indian Museum another remarkable specimen of 
native furniture — namely, a chair of the purest beaten gold of octagonal 
shape, and formed of two bowls reversed, decorated with acanthus and 
lotus in repousee ornament. This is of eighteenth century workmanship, 
and was formerly the property of Runjeet Sing. The precious metal is 
thinly laid on, according to the Eastern method, the wood underneath 
the gold taking all the weight. This throne was to have been used at 
the opening of the Imperial Institute by Queen Victoria, but at the last 
moment another seat was selected. 

There is also a collection of plaster casts of portions of temples and 
palaces from a very early period until the present time, several having 
been sent over as a loan to the Indian and Colonial Exhibition of 1886. 

A careful observation of the ornamental details of these casts leads us 
to the conclusion that the Byzantine style, which was dominant throughout 
the more civilized portion of Asia during the power of the Romans, had 
survived the great changes of the Middle Ages. As native work became 
subject more or less to the influence of the Indo-Chinese carvers of deities 
on the one side, and of the European notions of the Portuguese pioneers 
of discovery on the other, a fashion of decorative woodwork was arrived 
at which can scarcely be dignified by the name of a style, and which it 
is difficult to describe. Sir George Birdwood, in his work on Indian Art, 
points out that, about a hundred years ago, Indian designs were affected 
by the immigration of Persian designers and workmen. The result of 
this influence is to be seen in the examples in the Museum, a short 
notice of which will conclude these remarks on Indian work. 

The copy in shishem wood of a carved window at Amritzar, in the 
Punjaub, with its overhanging cornice, ornamental arches, supported by 
pillars, and the surface, covered with small details of ornament, is a good 
example of the sixteenth and seventeenth century work. The facades of 
dwelling houses in teak wood, carved, and still bearing the remains of 
paint with which part of the carving was picked out, represent the work 
of the contemporary carvers of Ahmedabad, famous for its woodwork. 

Portions of a lacquer work screen similar in appearance to embossed 
gilt leather, with the pattern in gold, on a ground of black or red, and 
the singular Cashmere work, called " mirror mosaic," give us a good idea 
of the Indian decoration of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. 
This effective decoration is produced by little pieces of looking glass being 
introduced into the small geometrical patterns of the panels ; these, when 
joined together, form a very rich ceiling. 

The bedstead of King Theebaw, brought from Mandalay, is an 
example of this mixture of glass and wood, which can be made extremely 


effective. The wood is carved and gilt to represent the gold setting of 
numerous precious stones, which are counterfeited by small pieces of 
looking-glass and variously-colored pieces of transparent glass. 

Some of King Edward's (at the time Prince of Wales) presents — 
namely, chairs with carved lions forming arms ; tables of shishem wood, 
inlaid with ebony and ivory, shew the European influence we have alluded to. 

Amongst the modern ornamental articles in the Museum are many 
boxes, pen trays, writing cases, and even photographic albums, of wood 
and ivory mosaic work, the inlaid patterns being produced by placing 
together strips of tin wire, sandal wood, ebony, and of ivory, white, or 
stained green : these strips, when bound into a rod, either triangular or 
hexagonal, are cut into small sections, and then inlaid into the surface 
of the article to be decorated. 

Papier mache and lacquer work are also frequently found in small 
articles of furniture ; and the collection of drawings by native artists 
attest the high skill in design and execution attained by Indian craftsmen. 


The Persians have from time immemorial been an artistic people, 
and their style of Art throughout successive generations has varied but 

Major-General Murdoch Smith, R.E., the present Director of the 
branch of the South Kensington Museum in Edinburgh, who resided for 
some years in Persia, and had the assistance when there of M. Richard (a 
well-known French antiquary), made a collection of objets d'art some years 
ago for the Science and Art Department, which is now in the Kensington 
Museum, but it contains comparatively little that can be actually termed 
furniture ; and it is extremely difficult to meet with important specimens 
of ornamental woodwork of native workmanship. Those in the Museum, 
and in other collections, are generally small ornamental articles. The chief 
reason for this is, doubtless, that little timber is to be found in Persia, 
except in the Caspian provinces, where, as Mr. Benjamin has told us in 
" Persia and the Persians," wood is abundant ; and the Persian architect, 
taking advantage of his opportunity, has designed his houses with wooden 
piazzas — not found elsewhere — and with "beams, lintels, and eaves 
quaintly, sometimes elegantly, carved, and tinted with brilliant hues." 
Another feature of the decorative woodwork in this part of Persia is that 
produced by the large latticed windows, which are well adapted to the 

In the manufacture of textile fabrics — notably, their famous carpets 
of Yezd and Ispahan, and their embroidered cloths in hammered and 

S o 

H 5 

o « 
£ Oh 



engraved metal work, and formerly in beautiful pottery and porcelain — they 
have excelled, and good examples will be found in the South Kensington' 
Museum. It is difficult to find a representative specimen of Persian 
furniture except a box or a stool ; and the illustration of a brass incense 

Incense Burner of Engraved Brass. 
In the South Kensington Museum. 

burner is, therefore, given to mark the method of native design, which was 
adopted in a modified form by the Persians from their Arab conquerors. 

This method of design has one or two special characteristics which 
are worth noticing. One of these was due to the teaching of Mahomet 
forbidding animal representation in design — a rule which in later work has 


been relaxed ; another was the introduction of mathematics into Persia by 
the Saracens, which led to the adoption of geometrical patterns in design ; 
and a third, the development of " Caligraphy " into a fine art, which has 
resulted in the introduction of a text, or motto, into so many of the 
Persian designs of decorative work. The combination of these three 
characteristics was the origin of the " Arabesque " form of ornament, 
which, in artistic nomenclature, occurs so frequently. 

The general method of decorating woodwork is similar to the Indian 
method, and consists in either inlaying brown wood (generally teak) with 
ivory or pearl in geometrical patterns, or in covering the wooden box, 
or manuscript case, with a coating of lacquer, somewhat similar to the 
Chinese or Japanese preparations. On this groundwork some good 
miniature painting was executed, the colors being, as a rule, red, green, 
and gold, with black lines to give force to the design. 

The author of " Persia and the Persians," already quoted, had, during 
his residence in the country, as American Minister, great opportunities of 
observation, and in his chapter entitled "A Glance at the Arts of Persia," 
he has said a good deal of this mosaic work. Referring to the scarcity of 
wood in Persia, he says : " For the above reason one is astonished at the 
marvellous ingenuity, skill and taste developed by the art of inlaid work, 
or mosaic in wood. It would be impossible to exceed the results 
achieved by the Persian artisans, especially those of Shiraz, in this 

wonderful and difficult art Chairs, tables, sofas, boxes, violins, 

guitars, canes, picture frames, almost every conceivable object, in fact, 
which is made of wood, may be found overlaid with an exquisite casing 
of inlaid work, so minute sometimes that thirty-five or forty pieces may 
be counted in the space of a square eighth of an inch. I have counted 
four hundred and twenty-eight distinct pieces on a square inch of a 
violin, which is completely covered by this exquisite detail of geometric 
designs, in mosaic." 

Mr. Benjamin — who, it will be noticed, is somewhat too enthusiastic 
over this kind of mechanical decoration — also observes that, while the 
details will stand the test of a magnifying glass, there is a general 
breadth in the design which renders it harmonious and pleasing if looked 
at from a distance. 

In the South Kensington Museum there are several specimens of 
Persian lacquer work, which have very much the appearance of those 
papier mache articles that used to be so common in England some forty 
years ago, save that the decoration is, of course, of Eastern character. 

Of seventeenth century work, there is also a fine coffer, richly 
inlaid with ivory, of the best description of Persian design and 


workmanship of this period, which was about the zenith of Persian Art 
during the reign of Shah Abbas. The numerous small articles of what is 
termed Persian marqueterie, are inlaid with tin wire and stained ivory, on 
a ground of cedar wood, very similar to the same kind of ornamental 
work already described in the Indian section of this chapter. These 
were purchased at the Paris Exhibition in 1867. 

Persian Art of the present day may be said to be in a state of 
transition, owing to the introduction and assimilation of European ideas. 

The changes of fashion in Western, as contrasted with Eastern, 
countries are comparatively rapid. In the former, the record of two or 
three centuries presents a history of great and well-defined alterations in 
manners, customs, and, therefore, in furniture : while the more con- 
servative Oriental has been content to reproduce, from generation 
to generation, the traditions of his forefathers ; and we find that, 
from the time of the Moorish conquest and spread of Arabesque design, 
no radical change in Saracenic Art occurred until French and English 
energy and enterprise forced European fashions into Egypt. As a con- 
sequence, the original quaintness and orientalism natural to the country, 
are being gradually replaced by buildings, decoration, and furniture of 
European fashion. 

The carved pulpit, from a mosque in Cairo, which is in the South 
Kensington Museum, was made for Sultan Kaitbeg, 1468-96. The side 
panels, of geometrical pattern, though much injured by time and wear, 
shew signs of ebony inlaid with ivory, and of painting and gilding ; they 
are good specimens of the kind of work. The two doors, also from 
Cairo, the oldest parts of which are just two hundred years earlier than 
the pulpit, are exactly of the same style, and, so far as appearances go, 
might just as well be taken for two hundred years later, so conservative 
was the Saracenic treatment of decorative woodwork for some four or five 
centuries. Pentagonal and hexagonal mosaics of ivory, with little mouldings, 
of ebony dividing the different panels, the centres of eccentric shapes of 
ivory or rosewood carved with minute scrolls, combine to give these 
elaborate doors a very rich effect, and remind one of the work still to be 
seen at the Alhambra, in Granada. 

The Science and Art Department has been fortunate in securing from 
the St. Maurice and Dr. Meymar Collections, a great many specimens 
which are well worth examination. The most remarkable is a complete 
room brought from a house in Damascus, which is fitted up in the 
Oriental style, and gives one a good idea of an Eastern interior. The 



walls are decorated in color and gold ; the spaces are divided by flat 
pilasters ; and there are recesses, or cupboards, for the reception of 
pottery, quaintly formed vessels, and pots of brass. Oriental carpets, 
octagonal tables, such as the one which ornaments the initial letter 
of this chapter, hookas, incense burners, and cushions furnish the 
apartment ; while the lattice window is an excellent representation of the 

Governor's Palace, Manfalut. 

Shewing a Window of Arab Lattice Work, similar to that of the Damascus Room in the 
South Kensington Museum. 

" Mesherabijeh," or lattice work with which we are familiar since so much 
has been imported by Egyptian travellers. In the upper panels of the 
lattice there are inserted pieces of colored glass, and, looking outwards 
towards the light, the effect is very pretty. The date of this room is 
1756, which appears at the foot of an Arabic inscription, of which a 
translation is appended to the exhibit. It commences: — "In the Name 



of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate," and concludes, " Pray, there- 
fore, to Him morning and evening." 

A number of bosses and panels, detached from their original 
framework, are also to be seen, and are good specimens of Saracenic 
design. A bedstead, with inlay of ivory and numerous small squares 
of glass, under which are paper flowers, is also a fair sample of native 

Specimen of Saracenic Panelling of Cedar, Ebony, and Ivory. 

(In the South Kensington Museum.) 

The illustration on page 142 is of a carved wood door from Cairo, 
considered by the South Kensington authorities to be of Syrian work. 
It shews the turned spindles, which the Arabs generally introduce into 
their ornamental woodwork ; and the carving of the vase of flowers is a 
good specimen of its kind. The date is about the seventeenth century. 

For those who would gain an extended knowledge of Saracenic or 
Arabian Art industry, " L'A.rt Arabe," by M. Prisse d'Aveunes, should be 
consulted. There will be found in this work many carefully-prepared 
illustrations of the cushioned seats, the projecting balconies of the 
lattice work already alluded to, of octagonal inlaid tables, and such 
other articles of furniture as were used by the Arabs. The South 
Kensington Handbook, " Persian Art," by Major-General Murdoch Smith, 
R.E., is also a very handy and useful work in a small compass. 



While discussing Saracenic or Arab furniture, it is worth noticin 

that our word "sofa" is of Arab derivation, the word "suffah" meanin 

"a place or couch for reclining before the door of Eastern houses. 
In Skeat's Dictionary the 

, r ord is said to have first occurred 


A Carved Door of Syrian Work. 

(Soutli Kensington Museum.) 

"Guardian," in the year 1713, and the phrase is quoted from No. 167 of 
that old periodical of the day — " He leapt off from the sofa on which 
he sat." 

From the same source the word "ottoman," which Webster defines 
as " a stuffed seat without a back, first used in Turkey," is obviously 
obtained, and the modern low-seated upholsterer's chair of to-day is 



doubtless the development of a French adaptation of the Eastern cushion 
or " divan," this latter word having become applied to the seats which 
furnished the hall or council chamber in an Eastern palace, although its 
original meaning was probably the council or " court " itself, or the hall 
in which such was held. 

Thus do the habits and tastes of different nations act and re-act 
upon each other. Western peoples have carried eastward their civiliza- 
tion and their fashions, influencing Arts and industries with their 
restless energy, and breaking up the crust of Oriental apathy and 
indolence ; and have brought back in return the ideas gained from an 
observation of the associations and accessories of Eastern life, to adapt 
them to the requirements and refinements of European luxury. 

Shaped Panel of Saracenic Work in Carved Bone or Ivory. 

Boule Armoire. 

Designed by Le Brim, formerly in the "Hamilton Palace" Collection, 
and purchased (Wertheimer) for £12,075 the pair. 

Period : Louis XIV. 


Jrencb furniture. 

Palace of Versailles : " Grand " and " Petit Trianon "—The three Styles of Louis XIV., XV., 
and XVI. — Colbert and Lebrun — Andre Charles Boule and his Work— Carved and Gilt 
Furniture — The Regency and its Influence — Alteration in Condition of French Society — 
Watteau, Lancret, and Boucher. Louis XV. Furniture: Famous Ebenistes — Vernis 
Martin Furniture — Cafneri and Gouthiere Mountings — Sevres Porcelain introduced into 
Cabinets — Gobelins Tapestry — The " Bureau du Roi." Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette-' 
The Queen's Influence — The Painters Chardin and Greuze — More simple Designs — 
Characteristic Ornaments of Louis XVI. Furniture — Riesener's Work — Gouthiere's Mountings 
— Specimens in the Louvre — The Hamilton Palace Sale — French influence upon the design 
of furniture in other countries — The Jones Collection — Extract from the "Times." 

HERE is something so distinct in the 
development of taste in furniture, marked 
„, out by the three styles to which the three 
monarchs have given the names of " Louis 
Quatorze," " Louis Quinze," and " Louis 
Seize," that it affords a fitting point for a 
new departure. 

This will be evident to anyone who 
will visit, first the Palace of Versailles,* 
then the Grand Trianon, and afterwards 
the Petit Trianon. By the help of a few 
illustrations, such a visit in the order given, 
would greatly interest anyone having even a 
smattering of knowledge of the character- 
istic ornaments of these different periods. 
A careful examination would demonstrate 
how the one style gradually merged into 
that of its successor. Thus the massiveness 
and grandeur of the best Louis Quatorze 
meubles de luxe became, in their later development, too ornate and 
effeminate, with an elaboration of enrichment, culminating in the rococo 
stvle of Louis Quinze. 

* The present decorations of the Palace of Versailles were carried out about 1830, under 
Louis Phillipe. "Versailles Galeries Historiques," par C. Gavard, is a work of 13 vols. 
devoted to the illustration of the pictures, portraits, statues, busts, and various decorative 
contents of the Palace. 


Then we find in the " Petit Trianon," and also in the Chateau 
of Fontainebleau, the purer taste of Marie Antoinette dominating the 
Art productions of her time, which reached their zenith, with regard 
to furniture, in the production of such elegant and costly examples as 
have been preserved to us in the beautiful work-table and secretaire — sold 
some years since at the dispersion of the Hamilton Palace Collection — 
and in some other specimens which may be seen in the Musee du Louvre, 
in the Jones Collection in the South Kensington Museum, and in other 
public and private Collections. Several illustrations of these examples will 
be found in this chapter. 

We have to recollect that the reign of Louis XIV. was the time of 
the artists Berain, Lebrun, and, later in the reign, of Watteau, also of 
Andre Charles Boule, cisehur ct dor cur du roi, and of Colbert, that 
admirable Minister of Finance, who knew so well how to second his royal 
master's taste for grandeur and magnificence. The Palace of Versailles 
bears throughout the stamp and impress of the majesty of le Grande 
Monarque ; and the rich architectural ornament of the interior, with 
moulded, gilded, and painted ceilings, required the furnishing to be carried 
to an extent which had never been attempted previously. 

Louis XIV. had judgment in his taste, and he knew that, to carry 
out his ideas of a royal palace, he must not only select suitable artists 
capable of control, but he must centralize their efforts. In 1664 Colbert 
founded the Royal Academy of Painting, Architecture, and Sculpture, 
into which designs of furniture were admitted. The celebrated Gobelins 
tapestry factory was also established ; and it was here that the King 
collected together, and suitably housed, the different skilled producers of 
his furniture, placing them all under the control of his favourite artist, 
Lebrun, who was appointed director in 1667. 

The most remarkable furniture artist of this time, for surely he 
merits such title, was Andre Charles Boulle, generally spelt Boule. He 
was born in 1642, and, therefore, was 25 years of age when Lebrun 
was appointed Art-director. He appears to have originated the method 
of ornamenting furniture which has since been associated with his name. 
This was to veneer his cabinets, pedestals, armoires, encoignures, clocks, 
and brackets with tortoise-shell, into which a cutting of brass was laid, 
the latter being cut out from a design, in which were harmoniously 
arranged scrolls, vases of flowers, satyrs, animals, cupids, swags of fruit 
and draperies. Fantastic compositions of a free Renaissance character 
constituted the panels ; to which bold scrolls in ormolu formed fitting 
frames ; while handsome mouldings of the same material gave a finish 
to the extremities. These ormolu mountings were gilt by an old-fashioned 


In the "Jones" Collection, S. Kensington Museum. 

Period: Louis XIV. 


process,* which left upon the metal a thick deposit of gold, and were 
cunningly chiselled by the skilful hands of Cafneri or his contemporaries. 

Boule subsequently learned to economise labour by adopting a similar 
process to that used by the marqueterie cutter ; and by glueing together 
two sheets of brass, or white metal, and two of shell, and placing over 
them his design, he was then able to pierce the four layers by one cut 
of the bandsaw ; this gave four exact copies of the design. The same 
process would be repeated for the reverse side, if, as with an armoire or 
a large cabinet, two panels, one for each door, right and left, were 
required; and then, when the brass, or white metal cutting was fitted 
into the shell so that the joins were imperceptible, he would have two right- 
hand and two left-hand panels. These would be positive and negative : in 
the former pair the metal would represent the figured design with the 
shell as groundwork, and the latter would have the shell as a design, 
with a ground of metal. The terms positive and negative are the writer's 
to explain the difference, but the technical terms are " first part " and 
" second part," or " Boule " and " counter." The former would be 
selected for the best part of the cabinet ; for instance, the panels of the 
front doors, while the latter would be used for the ends or sides. An 
illustration of this plan of using all four cuttings of one design, occurs in 
the armoire No. 1026 in the Jones Collection, and in a great many other 
excellent specimens. The brass, or the white metal in the design, was 
then carefully and most artistically engraved ; and the beauty of the 
engraving of Boule's finest productions is a great point of excellence, 
giving, as it does, a character to the design, and emphasizing its details. 
The mounting of the furniture in ormolu, of a rich and highly-finished 
character, completed the design. The Mnsce du Louvre is rich in examples 
of Boule's work : and there are some very good pieces in the Jones 
Collection, at Hertford House, and at Windsor Castle. 

The illustration on page 144 is the representation of an armoire, which 
was, undoubtedly, executed by Boule from a design by Lebrun : it is 
one of a pair which was sold in 1882, at the Hamilton Palace sale, by 
Messrs. Christie, for £12,075. Another small cabinet, in the same 
collection, realised £2,310. The pedestal cabinet illustrated on page 148, 
from the Jones Collection, is very similar to the latter, and cost Mr. Jones 
£3,000. When specimens, of the genuineness of which there is no 
doubt, are offered for sale, they are sure to realize very high prices. 
The armoire in the Jones Collection, already alluded to (No. 1026), of 
which there is an illustration, cost Mr. Jones between £4,000 and £5,000. 

* For description of method of gilding the mounts of furniture, see Appendix. 


In some of the best of Bonle's cabinets, as, for instance, in the 
Hamilton Palace armoire (illustrated), the bronze gilt ornaments stand 
out in bold relief from the surface. In the Louvre there is one which 
has a figure of le Grand Monarque, clad in armour, with a Roman toga, 
and wearing the full bottomed wig of the time, which scarcely accords 

Pedestal Cabinet. 

By Boule, formerly in Mr. Baring's Collection. Purchased by Mr. Jones for £3,000. 

(South Kensington Museum.) 

with the costume of a Roman general. The absurd combination which 
characterizes this affectation of the classic costume is also found in 
portraits of our George II. 

The masks, satyrs, and rams' heads, the scrolls of the foliage, are 
also very bold in specimens of this class of Boule's work; and the "sun" 



(that is, a mask with rays of light radiating from it) is a very favourite 
ornament of this period. 

Boule had four sons and several pupils ; and he may be said to have 
founded a school of decorative furniture, which had its votaries and 
imitators now, as it had in its own time. The word one frequently 
finds misspelt " Buhl," and the term has come to represent any similar 
mode of decoration of furniture, no matter how meretricious or common 
it may be. 

A Concert during the Reign of Louis XIV. 

(From a Miniature dated 1696.) 

Later in the reign of Louis XIV., as other influences were brought to 
bear upon the taste and fashion of the day, this style of furniture became 
more ornate and showy. Instead of the natural color of the shell, either 
vermilion or gold leaf was placed underneath the transparent shell ; the 
gilt mounts became less severe, and abounded with the curled endive 
ornament, which afterwards became thoroughly characteristic of the fashion 
of the succeeding reign ; and the forms of the furniture itself followed the 
taste for a more free and flowing treatment ; and it should be mentioned, 
in justice to Lebrun, that from the time of his death and the appointment 
of his successor, Mignard, a distinct decline in merit can be traced. 




Contemporary with Boule's work, were the richly-mounted tables, 
having slabs of Egyptian porphyry, or Florentine marble mosaic ; and 
marqueterie cabinets with beautiful mountings of ormolu, or gilt bronze. 
Commodes and screens were ornamented with Chinese lacquer, which 
had been imported by the Dutch and taken to Paris, after the French 
invasion of the Netherlands. 

'/ f— — "^ 

Boudoir furnished in the taste of the Louis XIV. Period. 

About this time — that is, towards the end of the seventeenth century 
— the resources of designers and makers of decorative furniture were 
reinforced by the introduction of glass in larger plates than had been 
possible previously. Mirrors of considerable size were first made in 
Venice ; these were engraved with figures and scrolls, and mounted in 
richly carved and gilt wood frames. Soon afterwards manufactories 
of mirrors, and of glass, in larger plates than before, were set up in 
England, near Battersea, and in France, at Tour la Ville, near Paris. 


THE " VITRINE." 151 

This novelty not only gave a new departure to the design of suitable 
frames in carved wood (generally gilt), but also to that of Boule work 
and marqueterie. It also led to a greater variety of the design for 
cabinets ; and from this time we may date the first appearance of the 
" Vitrine," or cabinet with glass panels in the doors and sides, for the 
display of smaller objets d'art. 

The chairs and sofas of the latter half of the reign of Louis 
Quatorze are exceedingly grand and rich. The suite of furniture for the 
state apartment of a prince, or wealthy nobleman, comprised a canape, or 
sofa, and six fautcuils, or arm chairs, the frames carved with much spirit, 
or with " feeling," as it is technically termed, and richly gilt. The backs 
and seats were upholstered and covered with the already famous tapestry 
of Gobelins or Beauvais. A short account of these factories will be 
found in the Appendix. 

Such a suite of furniture, in bad condition and requiring careful and 
very expensive restoration, was sold at Christie's some time ago for about 
£1,400, and it is no exaggeration to say that a really perfect suite, with 
carving and gilding at the best, and the tapestry not too much worn, 
if offered for public competition, would probably realize between £3,000 
and £4,000.* 

In the Appendix will be found the names of many artists in furniture 
of this time, and in the Jones Collection we have several very excellent 
specimens which can be easily referred to, and compared with others 
of the two succeeding reigns, whose furniture we are now going to 

As an example of the difference in both outline and detail which 
took place in design, let the reader notice the form of the Louis 
Quatorze commode vignetted for the initial letter of this chapter, and 
then turn to the lighter and more fanciful cabinets of somewhat similar 
shape, which will be found illustrated in the "Louis Quinze " section 
which follows this. In the Louis Quatorze cabinets the decorative effect, 
so far as the woodwork is concerned, was obtained first by the careful 
choice of suitable veneers, and then by joining four pieces in a panel, 
so that the natural figure of the wood runs from the centre, and then 
a banding of a darker wood forms a frame. An instance of this will 
also be found in the above-mentioned vignette. 

* Note.— Since the first edition of this book was published in 1892, the value of really fine 
old French furniture has considerably risen, and the above-named estimate of the auction price 
of such a suite of furniture as is described would have to be doubled. 



When the old King died, at the ripe age of jj, the crown devolved 
on his great-grandson, then a child five years old, and therefore, a 
Regency became necessary; and this period of some eight years, until the 
death of Philip, Duke of Orleans, in 1723, when the King was declared 
to have attained his majority at the age of 13, is known as l' Epoch de la 
Regence, and is a landmark in the history of furniture. 

Boule Commode. 

Probably made during the period of the Regency. 

(Music du Louvre.) 

There was a great change about this period of French history in 
the social condition of the upper classes in France. The pomp and 
extravagance of the late monarch had emptied the coffers of the noblesse, 
and in order to recruit their finances, marriages became common which a 
decade or two before that time would hardly have been thought possible. 
Nobles of ancient lineage married the daughters of bankers and speculators, 
in order to supply themselves with the means of following the extravagant 
fashions of the day, and we find the wives of ministers of departments 
of State using their influence and power for the purpose of making 
money by gambling in stocks, and accepting bribes for concessions and 

It was a time of corruption, extravagance, licentiousness, and 
intrigue, and although one might ask what bearing this has upon the 
history of furniture, a little reflection shows that the abandonment of 
the great State receptions of the late King, and the pompous and 
gorgeous entertainments of his time, gave way to a state of society in 


(From an Engraving in the South Kensington Art Library.) 
Period : Louis XV. 



which the boudoir became of far more importance than the salon, in 
the artistic furnishing of a fashionable house. Instead of the majestic 
grandeur of immense reception rooms and stately galleries, we have the 
elegance and prettiness of the boudoir ; and as the reign of the young 
King advances, we find the structural enrichment of rooms more free, and 
busy with redundant ornament. The curved endive decoration, so common 
in carved woodwork and its imitation in " compo." of this period is seen 

Panel for a Screen. 
Painted by Watteau. Period of the Regency. 

everywhere ; in the architraves, in the panel mouldings, in the frame of 
an overdoor, in the design of a mirror frame ; doves, wreaths, Arcadian 
fountains, flowing scrolls, Cupids, and heads and busts of women 
terminating in foliage, are carved or moulded in relief, on the walls, the 
doors, and the alcoved recesses of the reception rooms, either gilded or 



painted white ; and pictures by Watteau, Lancret, or Boucher, and their 
schools, are appropriate accompaniments.* 

The furniture was made to agree with this decorative treatment ; 
couches and easy chairs were designed in more sweeping curves and on a 
smaller scale, the woodwork wholly or partially gilt and upholstered, not 
only with the tapestry of Gobelins, Beauvais, and Aubusson, but with 
soft colored silk brocades and brocatelles ; light occasional chairs were 
enriched with mother-of-pearl or marqueterie ; screens were painted with 
love scenes and representations of ladies and gentlemen who look as if 
they passed their entire existence in the elaboration of their toilettes or 

Console Table, Carved and Gilt. 
(Collation of M. Double, I'aris.) 

the exchange of compliments ; the stately cabinet is modified into the 
bombe fronted commode, the ends of which curve outwards with a graceful 
sweep ; and the bureau is made in a much smaller size, more highly 
decorated with marqueterie, and more fancifully mounted to suit the 
smaller and more effeminate apartment. The elegant cabinet, called 
Bonheur du jour (a little cabinet mounted on a table) ; the small round 
occasional table, called a gueridon; the encoignure, or corner cabinet; the 
etagere, or ornamental hanging cabinet with shelves ; the three-fold screen, 
with each leaf a different height, and with shaped top, all date from this 
time. The chaise a porteuv, or Sedan chair, on which so much work and 
taste were expended, became more ornate, so as to fall in with the 
prevailing fashion. Marqueterie became more fanciful. 

* Watteau, 1684-1721. Lancret, b. 1690, d. 1743. Boucher, b. 1703, d. 1770. 


The Louis Quinze cabinets were inlaid, not only with natural woods, 
but with veneers stained in different tints ; and landscapes, interiors, 
baskets of flowers, birds, trophies, emblems of all kinds, and quaint 
fanciful conceits are pressed into the service of marqueterie decoration. 
The most famous artists in this decorative woodwork were Riesener, David 
Roentgen (generally spoken of as David), Pasquier, Carlin, Leleu, and 
others, whose names will be found in a list in the Appendix. 

Louis XV. Carved and Gilt "Fauteuil." 
Upholstered with Beauvais tapestry. Subject from La Fontaine's Fables. 

During the preceding reign, the Chinese lacquer-work then in use 
was imported from the East, the fashion for collecting which had 
set in ever since the Dutch had established a trade with China ; and 
subsequently as the demand arose for smaller pieces of meubles de luxe, 
collectors had these articles taken to pieces, and the slabs of lacquer 

i5 6 


mounted in panels to decorate the table, or cabinet, and to display the 
lacquer. Ebeuistes, too, prepared such parts of woodwork as were desired 
to be ornamented in this manner, and sent them to China to be coated 
with lacquer, a process which was then only known to the Chinese ; 
but this delay and expense quickened the inventive genius of the 
European, and it was found that a preparation of gum and other 
ingredients applied again and again, and each time carefully rubbed down, 
produced a surface which was almost as lustrous and suitable for 
decoration as the original article. A Dutchman named Huygens was the 


With Panels of fine old Lacquer and Mountings by Caffieri. 

(Jones Collection, S. Kensington Museum.) 

Period of Louis XV. 

first successful inventor of this preparation ; and owing to the adroitness 
of his work, and of those who followed him and improved his process, 
one can only detect European lacquer from Chinese by noting certain 
trifling details in the costumes and foliage of decoration, not strictly 
Oriental in character. 

About 1740-4 the Martin family had three manufactories of this peculiar 
and fashionable work, which became known as Vernis-Martin, or Martins' 
Varnish ; and it is a singular coincidence that one of these was in the district 
of Paris then and now known as Faubourg Saint Martin. By a special 
decree a monopoly was granted in 1744 to Sieur Simon Etienne Martin 



the younger, " To manufacture all sorts of work in relief and in the style 
of Japan and China." This was to last for twenty years; and we shall 
see that in the latter part of the reign of Louis XV., and in that of his 
successor, the decoration was not confined to the imitation of Chinese 
and Japanese subjects, but the surface was painted in the style of the 
decorative artist of the day, both in monochrome and in natural colors ; 
such subjects as " Cupid Awakening Venus," " The Triumph of Galatea," 
" Nymphs and Goddesses," " Garden Scenes," and " Fetes Champetres," 
being represented in accordance with the taste of the period. It may 


In Parqueterie, with massive mountings of Gilt Bronze, probably by Caffieri. 

{Formerly in the Hamilton Palace Collection. Purchased (Wertheimer) £6,317 10s.) 

Louis XV. Period. 

be remarked in passing, that lacquer work was also made previous to this 
time in England. Several cabinets of " Old " English lac are included in 
the Strawberry Hill sale catalogue ; and they were richly mounted with 
ormolu, in the French style ; this sale took place in 1842. George 
Robins, so well known for his flowery descriptions, was the auctioneer ; 
the introduction to the catalogue was written by Harrison Ainsworth. 



The gilt bronze mountings of the furniture of this time became less 
massive and much more elaborate ; the curled endive ornament was very 
much in vogue ; the acanthus foliage followed the curves of the commode ; 
busts and heads of women, cupids, satyrs terminating in foliage, suited 
the design and decoration of the more fanciful shapes; and Cameri, who 
is the great master of this beautiful and highly ornate enrichment, 
introduced Chinese figures and dragons into his designs. The amount of 
spirit imparted into the chasing of this ormolu is simply marvellous — it 

Par* of a Salon. 

Decorated in the Louis Quinze style, shewing the carved and gilt Console Table and Mirror, 
with other enrichments, en suite. 

has never been equalled, and could not be excelled. Time has now 
mellowed the color of the woodwork it adorns ; and the tint of the gold 
with which it is overlaid, improved by the lights and shadows caused by 
the high relief of the work and the consequent darkening of the parts 
more depressed, while the more prominent ornaments have been rubbed 


bright from time to time, produces an effect which is exceedingly elegant 
and rich. One cannot wonder that connoisseurs are prepared to pay 
such large sums for genuine specimens, or that clever imitations are 
extremely costly to produce. 

Illustrations are given from some of the more notable examples of 
decorative furniture of this period, which were sold in 1882 at the 
celebrated Hamilton Palace sale, together with the sums they realised ; also 
of specimens in the South Kensington Museum, in the Jones Collection. 

We must also, remember, in considering the meubles de luxe of this 
time, that in 1753 Louis XI. had made the Sevres Porcelain Manufactory 
a State enterprise ; and later, as that celebrated undertaking progressed, 
tables and cabinets were ornamented with plaques of the beautiful and 
choice pate tendre, the delicacy of which was admirably adapted to 
enrich the light and frivolous furnishing of the dainty boudoir of a 
Madame du Barri or a Madame Pompadour. 

Another famous artist in the delicate bronze mountings of the day was 
Pierre Gouthiere. He commenced work some years later than Caffieri, 
being born in 1740 ; and, like his senior fellow craftsman, did not 
confine his attention to furniture, but exercised his fertility of design, and 
his passion for detail, in mounting bowls and vases of jasper, of Sevres 
and of Oriental porcelain. The character of his work is less forcible than 
that of Caffieri, and comes nearer to what we shall presently recognise 
as the Louis Seize or Marie Antoinette style, to which period his work 
more properly belongs. In careful finish of minute details, it more 
resembles the fine goldsmith's work of the Renaissance. 

Gouthiere was employed extensively by Madame du Barri ; and at her 
execution, in 1793, he lost the enormous balance of 756,000 francs, which 
was due to him, but which debt the State repudiated, and the unfortunate 
man died in extreme poverty, the inmate of an almshouse. 

The designs of the celebrated tapestry of Gobelins and of Beauvais, 
used for the covering of the finest furniture of this time, also underwent 
a change ; and instead of the representation of the chase, with a bold 
and vigorous rendering, we find shepherds and shepherdesses, nymphs 
and satyrs, the illustrations of La Fontaine's fables or renderings of 
Boucher's pictures. The arm chair, or fauteuil, with upholstered instead of 
open sides, was introduced into the suite of tapestry furniture, and the 
term by which it is known, " chaise bergere," seems to be a sign of the 
fashion of the day. 

Without doubt, the most important examples of meubles de luxe of this 
reign is the famous " Bureau du Roi," made for Louis XV. in 1769, and 
which is fully described in the inventory of the " Garde Meuble " in 


the year 1775, under No. 2541. The description is very minute, and is 
fully quoted by M. Williamson in his valuable work, " Les Meubles d'Art 
du Mobilier National," occupying in space no less than thirty-seven lines 
of printed matter. Its size is five and a half feet long and three feet deep ; 
the lines are the perfection of grace and symmetry; the marqueterie is in 
Riesener's best manner ; the mountings are magnificent — reclining figures, 
foliage, laurel wreaths, and swags, chased with rare skill. The back of 
this famous bureau is as fully decorated as the front : it is signed, 
" Riesener, f. e., 1769, a l'arsenal de Paris." Riesener is said to have 
received the order for this celebrated piece of furniture — of which a full- 
page illustration is given — from the King in 1767, upon the occasion of 
the marriage of this favourite Court ebeniste with the widow of his 
former master Oeben. Its production, therefore, would seem to have 
occupied about two years. 

This celebrated chef d'ceuvre was in the Tuileries in 1807, and was 
included in the inventory found in the cabinet of Napoleon I. It was 
moved by Napoleon III. to the Palace of St. Cloud, and was only 
saved from capture by the Germans by its removal to its present 
home in the Louvre in August, 1870. It is said that it would probably 
realise, if now offered for sale, between fifteen and twenty thousand pounds. 

A similar bureau is in the Hertford Wallace collection, which was 
made to the order of Stanilaus, King of Poland ; and a copy of it, 
executed by Z wiener, a very clever ebeniste of the present day in Paris, 
at a cost of some three thousand pounds, is in the same collection. 
Between the publishing of the third and fourth editions of this book, 
this valuable collection, under the will of the late Lady Wallace, passed 
into the possession of the English nation, and the fine specimens of 
furniture which it contains are now available for reference. 


It is probable that for some little time previous to the death of 
Louis XV., the influence of the beautiful daughter of Maria Theresa on 
the fashions of the day was manifested in furniture and its accessories. 
We know that Marie Antoinette disliked the pomp and ceremony of 
Court functions, and preferred a simpler way of living at the favourite 
farm house which was given to her husband as a residence, on his 
marriage, four years before his accession to the throne ; and here she 
delighted to mix with the bourgeoisie on the terrace at Versailles, or 
donning a simple dress of white muslin, would busy herself in the 
garden or dairy. There was, doubtless, something of the affectation of 
a woman spoiled by admiration, in thus playing the rustic : still, one 
can understand that the best French society, weary of the domination 

Decorated and Furnished in the Louis XVI. Style 


of the late King's mistresses, with their intrigues, their extravagances, 
and their creatures, looked forward, at the death of Louis, with hope 
and anticipation to the accession of his grandson and the beautiful 
young queen. 

Gradually, under the new regime, architecture became more simple. 
Broken scrolls were replaced by straight lines, curves and arches were 
introduced when justified, and columns and pilasters reappeared in the 
ornamental facade of public buildings. Interior decoration necessarily 
followed suit : instead of the curled endive scrolls enclosing the irregular 
panel, and the superabundant foliage in ornament, we find rectangular 
panels formed by simpler mouldings, with broken corners, having a patera 
or rosette in each, and between the upright panels there is a pilaster of 
refined Renaissance design. In the oval medallions supported by cupids, 
is found a domestic scene by Fragonard or Chardin ; and portraits of 
innocent children by Greuze replaced the courting shepherds and 
mythological goddesses of Boucher and Lancret. Sculpture, too, became 
more refined and decorous in its representations. 

As with architecture, decoration, painting and sculpture, so also with 
furniture. The designs became more simple, but were relieved from 
severity by the amount of ornament, which, except in some cases where 
it was over-elaborate, was properly subordinate to the design and did not 
control it. 

Mr. Hungerford Pollen attributes this revival of classic taste to the 
discoveries of ancient treasures in Herculaneum and Pompeii, but, as these 
occurred in the former city so long before the time we are discussing 
as the year 171 1, and in the latter as 1750, they can scarcely be the 
immediate cause ; the reason most probably is that a return to simpler 
and purer lines came as a relief and reaction from the over-ornamentation 
of the previous period. There are not wanting, however, in some of 
the decorated ornaments of the time distinct signs of the influence of 
these discoveries. Drawings and reproductions from frescoes, found in 
these old Italian cities, were in the possession of the draughtsmen and 
designers of the time ; and an instance in point of their adaptation is to 
be seen in the small boudoir of the Marquise de Serilly, one of the maids 
of honour to Marie Antoinette. The decorative woodwork of this boudoir 
is fitted up in the Kensington Museum. 

A notable feature in the ornament of woodwork and in metal 
mountings of this time, is a fluted pilaster with quills or husks 
filling the flutings some distance from the base, or starting from both 
base and top and leaving an interval of the fluting plain and with- 
out ornament. An example of this will be seen in the next woodcut 



of a cabinet in the Jones Collection, which has also the familiar 
" Louis Seize " riband, surmounting the two oval Sevres china plaques. 
When the flutings are in oak, in rich mahogany, or painted white, 
these husks are gilt, and the effect is chaste and pleasing. Variation was 
introduced into the gilding of frames by mixing silver with some portion 
of the gold, so as to produce two tints, red gold and green gold ; the latter 


Marqueterie Cabinet. 

With Plaques of Sevres China. 

(In the Jones Collection, South Kensington Museum.) 

would be used for wreaths and accessories, while the former, or ordinary 
gilding, was applied to the general surface. The legs of tables were 
generally fluted, as noted above, tapering towards the feet, and were 
relieved from a stilted appearance by being connected by a stretcher. 


There occurs in M. Williamson's valuable contribution to the literature 
of our subject (" Lcs Meubles d'Art du Mobilier National") an interesting 
illustration of the gradual alterations which we are noticing as having taken 
place in the design of furniture. This is a small writing table, some 
3ft. 6in. long, made during the reign of Louis XV., but quite in the Marie 
Antoinette style, the legs tapering and fluted, the frieze having in the 
centre a plaque of bronze dove, the subject being a group of cupids, 
representing the triumph of Poetry, and having on each side a scroll with 
a head and foliage (the only ornament characteristic of Louis Quinze 
style) connecting leg and frieze. It was made for the Trianon, and the 
date is just one year after Marie Antoinette's marriage. M. Williamson 
quotes verbatim the memorandum of which it was the subject : — 
" Memoire des ouvrages faits et livres, par les ordres de Monsieur le 
Chevalier de Fontanieu, pour le garde meuble du Roy par Riesener, 
ebeniste a l'arsenal Paris," savoir Sept. 21, 1771 ; and then follows a 
fully detailed description of the table, with its price, which was 6,000 
francs, or £240. An illustration of this table precedes this page. 

The maker of this piece of furniture was the same Riesener whose 
masterpiece is the magnificent Bureau du Roi in the Louvre, to which we 
have already alluded. This celebrated ebeniste continued to work for Marie 
Antoinette for about twenty years, until she quitted Versailles, and he 
probably lived quite to the end of the century, for during the Revolution 
we find that he served on the Special Commission appointed by the 
National Convention to decide which works of Art should be retained, 
and which should be sold, out of the mass of treasure confiscated after 
the deposition and execution of the King. 

Riesener's designs do not shew much variety, but his work is highly 
finished and elaborate. His method was generally to make the centre 
panel of a commode front, or the frieze of a table, a tour de force, the 
marqueterie picture being wonderfully delicate. The subject was generally 
a vase with fruits and flowers ; the surface of the side panels was inlaid 
with diamond-shaped lozenges, or a small diaper pattern in marqueterie; 
and then a framework of rich ormolu would separate the panels. The 
centre panel had sometimes a richer frame. His famous commode, made 
for the Chateau of Fontainebleau, which cost a million francs (£4,000) 
— an enormous sum in those days — is one of his chefs d'aeuvres, and is 
an excellent example of his style. A similar commode was sold in the 
Hamilton Palace sale for £4,305. An upright secretaire, en suite with the 
commode, was also sold at the same time for £4,620, and the writing 
table for £6,000. An illustration of the latter is on the following page, 
but the details of this elaborate gem of cabinet maker's work, and of 



Gouthiere's skill in mounting, are almost impossible to represent in a 
woodcut. It is described as follows in Christie's catalogue : — 

" Lot 303. An oblong writing table en suite, with drawer fitted with 
inkstand, writing slide and shelf beneath ; an oval medallion of a trophy 
and flowers on the top, and trophies with four medallions round the sides: 
stamped T. Riesener and branded underneath with cypher of Marie 
Antoinette, and Garde Meuble de la Reiiie" There is no date on the table, 

The "Marie Antoinette" Writing Table. 

{Formerly in the Hamilton Palace Collection.) 

but the secretaire is stamped 1790, and the commode 1791'. If we assume 
that the table was produced in 1792, then these three specimens, which 
have always been regarded as amongst the most beautiful work of the 
reign, were almost the last which the unfortunate Queen lived to see 

The fine work of Riesener required to be mounted by an artist of 
equal merit, and in Gouthiere he was most fortunate. There is a famous 


From Fontainebleau. Collection " Mobilier National. 

(From a pen and ink drawing by H. Evans.) 

Period: Louis XVI. 



clock case in the Hertford or Wallace collection, fully signed " Gouthiere, 
ciseleur et doreur du roi a Paris Ouai Pelletier, a la Boucle d'or, 1771." 
Gouthiere worked, however, chiefly in conjunction with Riesener and David 
Roentgen for the adornment of their marqueterie. 

In the Louvre are some beautiful examples of this co-operative work ; 
and also of cabinets, in which plaques of very fine black and gold lacquer 
take the place of marqueterie ; the centre panel being a finely chased 
oval medallion of Gouthiere's gilt bronze, with caryatides figures of the 
same material at the ends supporting the cornice. 

Cylinder Secretaire. 
In Marqueterie, with Bronze Gilt Mountings, by Gouthi 
(Mr. Alfred de Rothschild's Collection.) 
Period : Louis XVI. 

A specimen of this kind of work (an upright secretaire, of which we 
have not been able to obtain a satisfactory representation) formed part 
of the Hamilton Palace Collection, and realised £9,450, the highest price 
which the writer has ever seen a single piece of furniture bring by 
auction ; it may be regarded as the chef d'ceitvre of Gouthiere. 

In the Jones Collection, at South Kensington, there are also several 
charming examples of Louis Seize meubles de luxe. Some of these are 
enriched with plaques of Sevres porcelain, to which the more jewel-like 



mounting of this time is better adapted than the rococo style which was 
in vogue during the preceding reign. 

The upholstered furniture became simpler in design ; the sofas and 
chairs have generally, but not invariably, straight fluted tapering legs, 
which sometimes have the flutings spiral instead of perpendicular : the 
backs are either oval or rectangular, and ornamented with a carved riband 
which is represented as tied at the top in a lover's knot. Gobelins, 
Beauvais, and Aubusson tapestry are used for covering, the subjects 
being in harmony with the taste of the time. A sofa in this style, with 
settees at the ends, the frame elaborately carved with trophies of arrows 

Arm Chair of Louis XVI. Style. 

and flowers in high relief, and covered with fine old Gobelins tapestry, 
was sold at the Hamilton Palace Sale for £1,176. This was formerly at 
Versailles. Beautiful silks and brocades were also extensively used, both 
for chairs and for the screens, which, at this period, were varied in 
design and extremely pretty- Small two-tier tables of tulip wood with 
delicate mountings were quite the rage. The legs of small occasional 
pieces, like those of the chairs, are occasionally carved. An excellent 
example of a piece with cabriole legs is the charming little " Marie 

< K 

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Antoinette " cylinder-fronted marqueterie escritoire in the Jones Collection 
(illustrated below). The marqueterie is attributed to Riesener, but from 
its treatment being so different from that which, as an almost invariable 
rule, he adopted, it is more probably the work of David. 

Another fine specimen, illustrated on page 170, is the small cabinet 
made of kingwood, with fine ormolu mounts, and some beautiful Sevres 

Marqueterie Escritoire 

By David, said to have belonged to Marie Antoinette. 

1 Jones Collection, South Kensington Museum.) 

The influence exercised by the splendour ot the Court of Louis 
Quatorze, and by the bringing together of artists and skilled handi- 
craftsmen for the adornment of the palaces of France, which we have 
seen took place during the latter half of the seventeenth century, was 
not without its effect upon the Industrial Arts of other countries. 
Macaulay mentions the "bales of tapestry" and other accessories which 
were sent to Holland to fit up the camp quarters of Louis le Grand 


when he went there to take the command of his army against 
William III., and he also tells us of the sumptuous furnishing of the 
apartments at St. Germains when James II., during his exile, was the 
guest of Louis. The grandeur of the French King impressed itself 
upon his contemporaries, and war with Germany, as well as with 
Holland and England, helped to spread this influence. We have noticed 
how Wren designed the additions to Hampton Court Palace in imitation 
of Versailles : and in the chapter which follows this, it will be seen that 
the designs of Chippendale were really reproductions of French furniture 
of the time of Louis Quinze. The King of Sweden, Charles XII., "the 
Madman of the North," as he was called, imitated his great French 
contemporary, and in the palace at Stockholm there are still to be seen 
traces of the Louis Quatorze style in decoration and in furniture ; such 
adornments are out of keeping with the simplicity of the habits of the 
present Royal family of Sweden. 

A Bourbon Prince, too, succeeded to the throne of Spain in 1700, 
and there are still in the palaces and picture galleries of Madrid some 
fine specimens of French furniture of the three reigns which have just 
been discussed. It may be taken, therefore, that for a period dating from 
the latter part of the seventeenth century, the dominant influence upon 
the design of decorative furniture was of French origin. 

There is evidence of this influence in a great many examples of the 
work of Flemish, German, English, and Spanish cabinet makers. Some 
of these are worthy of mention, and will repay a careful examination. 
One of them is a corner cupboard of rosewood, inlaid with engraved 
silver, part of the design being a shield with the arms of an Elector 
of Cologne ; there is also a pair of somewhat similar cabinets from the 
Bishop's Palace at Salzburg. These are of German work, early eighteenth 
century, and have evidently been designed after Boule's productions. 
The shape and the gilt mounts of a secretaire of walnutwood with inlay 
of ebony and ivory, and some other furniture also, which, with the 
specimens just described, may be seen in the Bethnal Green Museum, 
all manifest the influence of the French school, when the bombe-fronted 
commodes and the curved lines of chairs and tables came into fashion. 

Having described somewhat in detail the styles which prevailed and 
some of the changes which occurred in France, from the time of 
Louis XIV. until the Revolution, it is unnecessary, for the purposes of 
this sketch, to do more than briefly refer to the work of those countries 
which may be said to have adopted, to a greater or less extent, French 
designs. For reasons already stated, an exception is made in the case 
of our own country; and the following chapter will be devoted to the 



furniture designed and made by some of the English craftsmen of the 
latter half of the eighteenth century. Of Italy it may be observed 
generally that the Renaissance of Raffaelle, Leonardo da Vinci, and 
Michael Angelo, which we have seen became degenerate towards the 
end of the sixteenth century, relapsed still further during the period 
which we have just been discussing; and, although the freedom and 
grace of the Italian carving, and the elaboration of inlaid arabesques, 

A Norse Interior, shewing Chairs of Dutch Design. 
Period: Late XVII. ok Early XVIII. Century. 

must always have some merit of their own, the work of the seventeenth 
and eighteenth centuries in Italy will compare very unfavourably with 
that of the earlier period of the Renaissance. 

There are many other museum specimens which might be referred to, 
proving the influence of French design of the seventeenth and subsequent 
centuries on that of other countries. The above illustration of a Norse 
interior shews that this influence penetrated as far as Scandinavia; 
the old-fashioned box-like bedsteads which the Norwegians had retained 



from early times, and which in a ruder form are still to be found in the 
cottages of many Scottish counties, especially of those where the Scan- 
dinavian connection existed, are characteristic of the country. The design 
of the chairs in the preceding illustration is an evidence of the innovations 
which had been made upon native fashions. These chairs are in style 
thoroughly Dutch, of about the end of the seventeenth, or early in the 
eighteenth century ; the cabriole legs and shell ornaments were probably 
the direct result of the influence of the French on the Dutch. The 
woodcut is from a drawing of an old house in Norway. 


In King and Tulip Wood, with Sevres Plaques and Ormolu Mountings. 

Period: Early Louis XVI. 

It would be unfitting to close this chapter on French furniture 
without paying tribute to the munificence and public spirit of Mr. 
John Jones, whose bequest to the South Kensington Museum constitutes 
in itself a representative Museum of this class of decorative furniture. 
Several of the illustrations in this chapter have been taken from this 


The money value alone of this collection of furniture, porcelain, 
bronzes, and articles de vertu, mostly of the period embraced within the 
limits of this chapter, amounts to about £400,000, and exceeds the value 
of any bequest the nation has ever had. Perhaps the references contained 


By Robin, in Marqueterie Case, with Mountings of Gilt Bronze. 

(Jones Collection South Kensington Museum ) 

Louis XVI. Period. 

in these few pages, to the French furniture of this time, may stimulate 
the interest of the public in, and its appreciation of, this valuable national 

Soon after this generous bequest was placed in the South Kensington 
Museum, for the benefit of the public, a leading article appeared in the 



Times, from which the following extract will very appropriately conclude 
this chapter : — " As the visitor passes by the cases where these curious 
objects are displayed, he asks himself what is to be said on behalf of 
the art of which ■ they are such notable examples. Tables, chairs, 
commodes, secretaires, wardrobes, porcelain vases, marble statuettes, they 
represent in a singularly complete way the mind and the work of the 
ancien regime. Like Eisen's vignettes, or the contes of innumerable story- 
tellers, they bring back to us the grace, the luxury, the prettiness, the 
frivolity of that Court which believed itself, till the rude awakening came, 
to contain all that was precious in the life of France. A piece of furniture 
like the little Sevres-inlaid writing table of Marie Antoinette is, to employ 
a figure of Balzac's, a document which reveals as much to the social 
historian as the skeleton of an ichthyosaurus reveals to the palaeontologist. 
It sums up an epoch. A whole world can be inferred from it. Pretty, 
elegant, irrational, and entirely useless, this exquisite and costly toy might 
stand as a symbol for the life which the Revolution swept away. ' 


Harpsichord, from the Permanent Collection belonging to South Kensington Museur 
Date about 1750. See Appendix, p. 266. 


Cbippenbale anb bis Contemporaries. 

Chinese Styles — Sir William Chambers— The Brothers Adams' work — Pergolesi, Cipriani, and 
Angelica Kauffmann — Architects of the time — Wedgwood and Flaxman — Chippendale's Work 
and his Contemporaries— Chair in the Barbers' Hall — Lock, Shearer, Hepplewhite, Ince, 
Mayhew, Sheraton — Introduction of Satinwood and Mahogany — Gillows, of Lancaster and 
London — History of the Sideboard— The Dining Room — Furniture of the time 

O O N after the second half of the eighteenth 
century had set in, during the latter days of the 
second George, and the early part of his succes- 
sor's long reign, there is a distinct change in the 
design of English decorative furniture. 

Sir William Chambers, R.A., an architect, who 
has left us Somerset House as a lasting monument 
of his talent, appears to have been the first to 
impart to the interior decoration of houses what 
was termed " the Chinese style," as the result of 
his visit to China, of which a notice was made in 
the chapter on Eastern furniture ; and as he was 
considered an "oracle of taste" about this time, 
his influence was very powerful. Chair backs con- 
sequently have the peculiar irregular lattice work 
which is seen in the fretwork of Chinese and 
Japanese ornaments ; and Pagodas, Chinamen and 
monsters occur in his designs for cabinets. The 
overmantel which had hitherto been designed with 
some architectural pretension, now gave way to the larger mirrors which 
were introduced by the improved manufacture of plate glass ; and the 
chimney piece became lower. During his travels in Italy, Chambers had 
found some Italian sculptors, and had brought them to England, to carve 
in marble his designs ; they were generally of a free Italian character, 
with scrolls of foliage and figure ornaments : but being of stone instead 
of woodwork, they scarcely belong to our subject, save to indicate the 
change in fashion of the chimney piece, the vicissitudes of which we have 
already noticed. Chimney pieces were now no longer specially designed 
by architects, as part of the interior fittings, but were made and sold with 
the grates, to suit the taste of the purchaser, often quite irrespective of 


the rooms for which they were intended. It may be said that Dignity 
gave way to Elegance. 

Robert Adam, having returned from his travels in France and Italy, 
had designed and built, in conjunction with his brother James, Adelphi 
Terrace, about 1769, and subsequently Portland Place, and other streets 
and houses of a like character ; the furniture being made under the 
direction of Robert, to suit the interiors. There is much interest attaching 
to No. 25, Portland Place, because this was the house built, decorated 
and furnished by Robert Adam for his own residence, and, fortunately, 
the chief reception rooms remain to show the style then in vogue. 
The brothers Adam introduced into England the application of composition 
ornaments to woodwork. Festoons of drapery, wreaths of flowers caught 
up with rams' heads, or of husks tied with a knot of riband, and oval 
pateroe to mark divisions in a frieze, or to emphasize a break in the 
design, are ornaments characteristic of what was termed the Adams style. 

Robert Adam published between 1778 and 1822, in three magnificent 
volumes, " Works in Architecture." One of these was dedicated to King 
George III., to whom he was appointed Architect. Many of his designs 
for furniture was carried out by Gillows ; there is a good collection of 
his original drawings in the Soane Museum, Lincoln's Inn Fields. 

The decoration was generally in low relief, with fluted pilasters, 
and sometimes a rather stiff Renaissance ornament decorating the panel ; 
the effect was neat and chaste, and a distinct change from the rococo 
style which had preceded it. 

The design of furniture was modified to harmonize with such decora- 
tion. The sideboard had a straight and not infrequently a serpentine- 
shaped front, with square tapering legs, and was surmounted by a pair of 
urn-shaped knife cases, the wood used being almost invariably mahogany 
with the inlay generally of plain flutings relieved by fans or oval paterce 
in satin wood. 

Piranesi, Cipriani and Angelica Kauffmann had been attracted to 
England by the promise of lucrative employment, and not only decorated 
the panels of ceilings and walls which were enriched by Adams's " compo." 
(in reality a revival of the old Italian gesso work), but also painted the 
ornamental cabinets, occasional tables, and chairs of the time. Some of 
the work of Angelica Kauffmann as a decorative artist may still be seen 
in several houses in Adelphi Terrace, in the Arts Club, and in many 
private residences, of which there is a very useful list in Miss Frances 
Gerard's biography of the artist, published in 1892. 

Towards the end of the century, satin wood was introduced into 
England from the East Indies ; it became very fashionable, and was 

Fac-simile of Original Drawings by Robert Adam (reduced). 


a favourite ground-work for decoration, the medallions of figure subjects, 
generally of cupids, wood-nymphs, or illustrations of mythological fables, 
on darker colored wood, formed an effective relief to the yellow satin 
wood. Sometimes the cabinet, writing table, or spindle-legged occasional 
piece was made entirely of this wood, having no other decoration beyond 
the beautiful marking of carefully-chosen veneers ; sometimes it was 
banded with tulipwood or harewood (a name given to sycamore artificially 
stained), and at other times painted as just described. A very beautiful 
example of this last-named treatment is the dressing table in the South 
Kensington Museum, which we give as an illustration on the opposite 

Besides Chambers, there were several other architects who designed 
furniture about this time who have been almost forgotten. Abraham Swan, 
some of whose designs for wooden chimney pieces in the quasi-classic 
style are given, flourished about 1758. John Carter, who published 
" Specimens of Ancient Sculpture and Painting " ; Nicholas Revitt and 
James Stewart, who jointly published " Antiquities of Athens" in 1762 ; 
J. C. Kraft, who designed in Robert Adam's style ; W. Thomas, M.S. A., 
and others, have left us many drawings of interior decorations, chiefly 
chimney pieces and the ornamental architraves of doors, all of them in 
low relief and of a classical character, as was the fashion towards the 
end of the eighteenth century. 

Josiah Wedgwood, too, turned his attention to the production of 
plaques in relief, for adaptation to chimney pieces of this character. 
In a letter written from London to Mr. Bentley, his partner, at the 
works, he deplores the lack of encouragement in this direction which 
he received from the architects of his day ; he, however, persevered, 
and by the aid of Flaxman's inimitable artistic skill as a modeller, 
made several plaques of his beautiful jasper ware, which were let in to 
the friezes of chimney pieces, and also into other woodwork. There can 
be seen in the South Kensington Museum a pair of pedestals of this 
period (1770-1790) so ornamented. 

It is now necessary to consider the work of a group of English 
cabinet makers, who not only produced a great deal of excellent furniture, 
but who also published a large number of designs drawn with extreme 
care and a considerable degree of artistic skill. 

The first of these, and the best known, was Thomas Chippendale, who 
is said to have been born in Worcester. He appears to have succeeded 
his father, a chair maker, and to have carried on a large and successful 
business in St. Martin's Lane, London, which was at this time an im- 
portant Art centre, and close to the newly-founded Royal Academy. 


With^Painted Decoration 
End of XVIII. Century. 


j A 


Designed by W. Thomas, Architect. 1783. 
Very similar to Robert Adam's work. 



Chippendale published "The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker's 
Director," not, as stated in the introduction to the catalogue to the 
South Kensington Museum, in 1769, but some years previously, as is 
testified by a copy of the " third edition " of the work, which is in the 
writer's possession and bears date 1762, the first edition having appeared 
in 1754. The title page of this edition is reproduced in facsimile on 
page 178. 

With ornament in the Chinese style, by Thomas Chippendale. 

This valuable work of reference contains over two hundred copper- 
plate engravings of chairs, sofas, bedsteads, mirror frames, girandoles, 
torcheres or lamp stands, dressing tables, cabinets, chimney pieces, 
organs, jardinieres, console tables, brackets, and other useful and 
decorative articles, of which some examples are given. It will be observed 
from these that the designs of Chippendale are very different from those 
popularly ascribed to him. Indeed it would appear that this maker has 
become better known than any other, from the fact of the designs in his 
book having been recently republished in various forms ; his popularity has 
thus been revived, while the names of his contemporaries are forgotten. For 
the last fifteen or twenty years, therefore, during which time the fashion 
has obtained of collecting the furniture of a bygone century, almost every 
cabinet, table, or mirror frame, presumably of English manufacture, which 





Being a large COLLECTION of the 

Moft Elegant and Useful DESIGNS 


In the Moft Fashionable Taste. 

Including a great Variety of 

Chairs, Sofas, Beds, and Couches; China- 
Tables, Dressing-Tables, Shaving- 
Tasles, Bason-Stands, and Teakettle- 
Stands; Frames for Marble-Slabs, Bu- 
tsbau-Dressing-Tables, and Commodes; 
Writing-Tadles, and Library-Tables; 
Library-Book-Cases, Organ-Cases for 
private Rooms, or Churches, Desks,, and 
Book-Cases; Dressing and Writing- 
Tables with Book-Cases, Toilets, Ca- 
binets, and Cloaths- Presses; China- 

Cases, China-Shelves, and Book-She lvesj 
Candle-Stands, Terms for Busts, Stands 
for China Jars, and Pedestals; Cisterns 
for Water, Lanthorns, and Chandeliers j 
Fire-Screens, Brackets, andCLOCK-CA- 
ses;Pier-Glasses, andTABLE-FRAMES; Gi- 
randoles, Chimney-Pieces, and Picture- 
Frames; Stove-Grates, Boarders, Frets, 
Chinese-Railing, and Brass-Work, for 


O R N 






Proper Directions for executing the moft difficult Pieces, the Mouldings being exhibited 
at large, and the Dimenfions of each Design fpecified. 

The Whole comprehended in Two Hundred Copper- Plates, neatly engraved. 

Calculated to improve and refine the prefent Tasti, and fuited to the Fancy and Circumftances of 
Perfons in all Degrees of Life. 


Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer, in St. Martin's Lane, London. 



Printed for the Author, and fold at his Houfe, in St. Martin's Lanej 
Alfoby T. Becket and P. A. De HoWDT, in the Strand 


Facsimile of the Title Page of Chippendale's "Director. 
{Reduced by- Photography.) The original is folio size. 



3 s 

1\ 3 

^ u 



is slightly removed from the ordinary type of domestic furniture, has 
been, for want of a better title, called " Chippendale." As a matter 
of fact, he appears to have adopted from Chambers the fanciful Chinese 
ornament, and the rococo style of that time, which was superseded some 
five-and-twenty years later by the quiet and more classic designs of 
Adam and his contemporaries. 

In the chapter on Louis XV. and Louis XVI. furniture, it has been 
shewn how French fashion went through a similar change about this same 
period. In Chippendale's chairs and console tables, in his state bedsteads 
and his lamp-stands, one can recognize the broken scrolls and curved 
lines, so familiar in the bronze mountings of Caffieri. The influence of the 
change which had occurred in France during the Louis Seize period is 
equally evident in Adam's treatment. It was helped forward by the migration 

Tea Caddy, 
Carved in the French style. (From Chippendale's "Director, "i 

into this country of skilled workmen from France, during the troubles of 
the revolution at the end of the century. Some of Chippendale's designs 
bear such titles as " French chairs " or a " Bombe-fronted Commode." 
These might have appeared as illustrations in a contemporary book 
on French furniture, so identical are they in every detail with the carved 
woodwork of Picau, of Cauner, or of Nilson, who designed the flamboyant 
frames of the time of Louis XV. Other designs have more individuality. 
In his mirror frames he introduced a peculiar bird with a long snipe-like 
beak and rather impossible wings, an imitation of rockwork and dripping 
water, Chinese figures with pagodas and umbrellas ; and sometimes the 
illustration of /Esop's fables interspersed with scrolls and flowers. By 
dividing the glass unequally, by the introduction into his design of 
bevelled pillars with carved capitals and bases, he produced a quaint and 
pleasing effect, very suitable to the rather effeminate fashion of his time, 
and in harmony with three-cornered hats, wigs and patches, embroidered 
waistcoats, knee breeches, silk stockings, and enamelled snuff-boxes. 
In some of the designs there is a fanciful Gothic, to which he makes 



special allusion in his preface, as likely to be considered by his critics 
as impracticable, but which he undertakes to produce if desired — 

" Though some of the profeffion have been diligent enough to 
reprefent them (espefcially those after the Gothick and Chinese manner) 
as fo many fpecious drawings impoffible to be worked off by any 
mechanick whatfoever. I will not fcruple to attribute this to Malice, 
Ignorance, and Inability ; and I am confident I can convince all 
Noblemen, Gentlemen, or others who will honour me with their 
Commands, that every defign in the book can be improved, both as 
to Beauty and Enrichment, in the execution of it, by 
" Their moft obedient fervant, 

" Thomas Chippendale." 

A Bureau. 

(From Chippendale's " Director") 

The reader will notice that in the examples selected from Chippen- 
dale's book there are none of those fretwork tables and cabinets 
which are generally termed " Chippendale." We know, however, that 
besides the designs which have just been described, and which were 
intended for gilding, he also made mahogany furniture, and in the 
"Director" there are drawings of chairs, washstands, writing-tables 
and cabinets of this description. Fretwork is seldom seen, but 
the carved ornament is generally a foliated or curled endive scroll ; 
sometimes the top of a cabinet is finished in the form of a Chinese 


Fac-Simile of a Page in Chippendale's " Director." 
(The original is folio size.) 

S*d> n &M*. 

Z/ (yiyyu/ufab mttjatdtfa 

-i/!ul>&i/ul 'aearri&iia (v &* tfj&r/iams. 

Fac-Simile of a Page in Chippendale's " Director. 
(The original is folio size.) 


Designed by T. Chippendale, and published in his " Director 


pagoda. Upon examining a piece of furniture that may reasonably be 
ascribed to him, it will be found to be of excellent workmanship, and the 
wood, always mahogany without any inlay, is richly marked, shewing a 
careful selection of material. 

Parlour Chairs, by Chippendale. 

The chairs of Chippendale and his school are very characteristic. 
If the outline of the back of some of them be compared with the 
stuffed back of the chair from Hardwick Hall (illustrated in Chap. IV.) 
it will be seen that the same lines occur, but instead of the frame of 
the back being covered with silk, tapestry, or other material — as in 
William III.'s time — Chippendale's are cut open into fanciful patterns; 
and in his more highly ornate work, the twisted ribands of his design 
are scarcely to be reconciled with the use for which a dining room chair 
is intended. The well-moulded sweep of his lines, however, counter- 
balances this defect to some extent, and a good Chippendale mahogany 
chair will ever be an elegant article of furniture. 

One of the most graceful chairs of about the middle of the century, 
in the style of Chippendale's best productions, is the Master's Chair in 
the Hall of the Barbers' Company. It is carved in rich Spanish mahogany, 
and upholstered in morocco leather ; the ornament consists of scrolls and 
cornucopias with flowers charmingly disposed, the arms and motto of 
the Company being introduced. Unfortunately, there is no certain record 



as to the designer and maker of this beautiful chair, and it is to be 

regretted that the date (1865), the year when the Hall was redecorated, 

should have been placed in prominent gold letters on this interesting 
relic of a past century. 

Clock Case, by Chippendale. 

Apart from the several books of design noticed in this chapter, there 
were published two editions of a work, undated, containing many of the 
drawings found in Chippendale's book. This book was entitled, " Upwards 
of One Hundred New and Genteel Designs, being all the most approved 
patterns of household furniture in the French taste. By a Society of 
Upholders and Cabinet makers.'' It is probable that Chippendale was 
a member of this Society, and that some of the designs were his, but 
that he severed himself from it, and published his own book, preferring 


to advance his individual reputation. The "sideboard" which one so 
generally hears called " Chippendale " scarcely existed in his time. If 
it did it must have been quite at the end of his career. There were 
side tables, sometimes called " Side-Boards," but they contained neither 
cellaret nor cupboard ; only a drawer for table linen. 

The name of Robert Manwaring should not be omitted as one of 
Chippendale's contemporaries. He published " The Chairmaker's Guide " 
in 1766, which included " upwards of two hundred new and genteel 
designs, both decorative and plain, of all the most approved patterns for 
burjairs, toillets, cornishes and lanthorns, etc." 

The patterns of his chair-backs are very similar to those of his 
contemporaries, and four of his designs which were reproduced in 
"Furniture and Decoration," two years ago, only differ in detail from 
those illustrated here as the work of Ince and Mayhew. Manwaring also 
designed china cabinets, fenders, balconies, and other decorative items, and 
he is believed to have been a leading member of the Society of 
Upholders and Cabinet Makers, alluded to in page 182. 

Two other designers and makers of mahogany ornamental furniture, 
who also deserve special mention in the discussion of eighteenth century 
English furniture, are W. Ince and J. Mayhew, who were partners in 
business in Broad Street, Golden Square, ami contemporary with Chippendale. 
The}- also published a book of designs,* which is alluded to by Thomas 
Sheraton in the preface to his " Cabinet Maker and Upholsterer's 
Drawing Book," published in 1793. A few examples from Ince and 
Mayhew's " Cabinet Maker's Real Friend and Companion " are given, 
from which it is evident that, without any distinguishing brand, or 
without the identification of any particular piece of furniture with one 
of their designs, it is difficult to distinguish between their work and 
that of Chippendale and other contemporary makers. 

It is, however, noticeable, after careful comparison of the work of 
Chippendale with that of Ince and Mayhew, that the furniture designed 
and made by the latter has many more of the characteristic, details and 
ornaments which are now generally looked upon as denoting the work of 
Chippendale ; for instance, the fretwork ornaments finished by the carver, 
and then applied to the plain mahogany ; the open-worked scroll shaped 
backs to encoignures or china shelves ; and the carved Chinaman with 
the pagoda. Some of the frames of chimney glasses and pictures made 
by Ince and Mayhew are almost identical with those attributed to 

* "The universal system of Household Furniture, 300 designs on 95 plates, folio. 
London, n.d. (circa 1770) 

i8 4 


Other well known designers and manufacturers of this time were 
Hepplewhite, who published a book of designs very similar to those of 




J 1 ) 




his contemporaries, and Matthias Lock, some of whose original drawings 

were on view in the Exhibition of 1862,* with interesting memoranda 

* Matthias Lock published "A new book of pier frames, ovals, girandoles, tables, etc." 
Imp. 8vo., 1769. 

o < 


a i 


attached, giving the names of his workmen and the wages paid : from 
these it would appear that five shillings a da}' was at that time sufficient 
remuneration for a skilful wood carver. 

Another good designer and maker of much excellent furniture of 
this time was " Shearer," who has been unnoticed by nearly all writers 
on the subject. In an old book of designs in the author's possession, 
"Shearer delin " and "published according to Act of Parliament, 1788," 
appears underneath the representations of sideboards, tables, bookcases, 
dressing tables, which are very similar in even- way to those of 
Sheraton, his contemporary. George Richardson and Matthias Darly 
should also be mentioned as notable designers of furniture and 
decorative details of this time. 

A copy of Hepplewhite's Book, in the author's possession (published 
in 1789), contains 300 designs "of every article of household furniture 
in the newest and most approved taste," and it is worth while to quote 
from his preface to illustrate the high esteem in which English cabinet 
work was held at this time. 

" English taste and workmanship have of late years been much 
sought for by surrounding nations ; and the mutability of all things, 
but more especially of fashions, has rendered the labours of our pre- 
decessors in this line of little use; nay, in this day can only tend to 
mislead those foreigners who seek a knowledge of English taste in the 
various articles of household furniture." 

It is amusing to think how soon the " mutabilities of fashion " did 
for a time supersede many of his designs. 

A selection of drawings from his book is given, and it will be useful 
to compare them with those of other contemporary makers. From 
such a comparison it will be seen that in the progress from the rococo 
of Chippendale to the more severe lines of Sheraton, Hepplewhite forms 
a connecting link between the two. 

The names given to some of these designs appear curious : for instance : 

" Rudd's table or reflecting dressing table," so called from the first 
one having been invented for a popular character of that time. 

" Knife cases," for the reception of the knives which were kept in 
them and used to " garnish " the sideboards. 

" Cabriole chair," implying a stuffed back, and not having reference, 
as it does now, to the curved form of the leg. 

" Bar backed sofa," being what we should now term a three or four 
chair settee, i.e., like so many chairs joined and having an arm at either end. 

" Library 'case " instead of Bookcase. 

" Confidante " and " Duchesse," which were sofas of the time. 

C7 =-^_~ ^ ^ 

Desk and Bookcase, Designed by W. Ince. 

(Reproduced by Photography from an old Print in the Author's possession .) 


China Cabinet, Designed by J. Mayhevv. 
(Reproduced from an old Print in the Author's possession.) 

"Dressing Chairs," Designed by J. Mayhew. 
These shew the influence of Sir W. Chambers' Chinese style. 


Hepplewhite had a " specialite, ," to which he alludes in his book, and 
of which he gives several designs. This was his japanned or painted 
furniture ; the wood was coated with a preparation after the manner of 
Chinese or Japanese lacquer, and then decorated, generally with gold on a 
black ground, the designs being in fruits and flowers : and also medallions 
painted in the style of Cipriani and Angelica Kauffmann. Subsequently, 
furniture of this character, instead of being japanned, was only painted 
white. It is probable that many of the chairs of this time which one 
now sees to be of wood of inferior quality, and with scarcely any ornament, 
were originally decorated in the manner just described, and therefore the 
" carving " of details would have been superfluous. Injury to the enamelling, 
by wear and tear, was most likely the cause of their being stripped of 
their rubbed and partly obliterated decorations, and they were then stained 
and polished, presenting an appearance which is scarcely just to the 
designer and manufacturer. 

In some of Hepplewhite's chairs, too, as in those of Sheraton, one 
may fancy he sees evidence of the squabbles of two fashionable factions 
of this time, " the Court party " and the " Prince's party," the latter 
having the well-known Prince of Wales' plumes very prominent, and 
forming the ornamental support of the back of the chair. Another 
noticeable enrichment is the carving of wheat ears on the shield shape 
backs of the chairs. 

To convey an idea of the fashion of the day, " the plan of a room 
shewing the proper distribution of the furniture," appears on page 193. It is 
evident from the large looking glass which overhangs the sideboard that 
the fashion had now set in to use these mirrors. Some thirty or forty 
years later this mirror became part of the sideboard, and, in some 
large and pretentious designs which we have seen, the sideboard 
itself was little better than the support of a huge glass in a heavily 
carved frame. 

The dining tables of this period deserve a passing notice as a step 
in the development of that important member of our " Lares and 
Penates." What was, and is still, called the " pillar and claw " table, came 
into fashion towards the end of the last century. It consisted of a round 
or square top supported by an upright cylinder, which rested on a plinth 
having three, or sometimes four, feet carved as claws. In order to 
extend these tables for a larger number of guests, an arrangement was 
made for placing several together. When apart, they served as pier or 
side tables, and some of these — the two end ones, being semi-circular — 
may still be found in some of our old inns.* 

* The Court room of the Stationers' Hall contains an excellent set of tables of this kind. 



It was not until the year 1800 that Richard Gillow, of the well-known 
firm in Oxford Street, invented and patented the convenient telescopic 
contrivance which, with slight improvements, has given us the table of the 

Fac-simile of page in Hepplewhite's " Cabinet Maker's Guide,' 
Published in 1787. 

present day. The term still used by auctioneers in describing a modern 
extending table as a " set of dining tables," is, probably, a survival of the 
older method of providing for a dinner party. Gillow's patent is described 

ig 4 


as " an improvement in the method of constructing dining and other 
tables calculated to reduce the number of legs, pillars, and claws, and 
to facilitate and render easy, their enlargement and reduction." 

As an interesting link between the present and the past, it may be 
useful here to introduce a slight notice of this well-known firm of 
furniture manufacturers, for which the writer is indebted to Mr. Clarke, 
one of the present partners of Gillows. " We have an unbroken record 
of books dating from 1724, but we existed long anterior to this : all 
records were destroyed during the Scottish Rebellion in 1745. The house 
originated in Lancaster, which was then the chief port in the north, 
Liverpool not being in existence at the time, and Gillows exported 

Inlaid Tea Caddy and top of Pier Tables. 
(From " Hepplewhite's Guide:) 

furniture largely to the West Indies, importing rum as payment, for 
which privilege they held a special charter. The house opened in London 
in 1765, and for some time the Lancaster books bore the heading and 
inscription, ' Adventure to London.' On the architect's plans for the 
premises now so well known in Oxford Street, occur these words, ' This 
is the way to Uxbridge.' " Mr. Clarke's information may be supplemented 
by adding that from Dr. Gillow, whom the writer had the pleasure of 
meeting some years ago, and who was the thirteenth child of the Richard 
Gillow before mentioned, he learnt that this same Richard Gillow retired 
in 1830, and died as lately as 1866 at the age of go. Dowbiggin, founder 
of the firm of Holland and Sons, was an apprentice to Richard Gillow. 



Mahogany may be said to have come into general nse subsequent to 
1720, and its introduction is asserted to have been due to the tenacity of 
purpose of a Dr. Gibbon, whose wife wanted a candle box, an article of 
common domestic use of the time. The Doctor, who had laid by in the 
garden of his house in King Street, Covent Garden, some planks sent to 
him by his brother, a West Indian captain, asked a joiner to use a part 
of the wood for this purpose ; it was found too tough and hard for the 
tools of the period, but the Doctor was not to be thwarted, and insisted 
on harder-tempered tools being found, and the task was completed ; the 
result was the production of a candle box which was admired by every 
one. He then ordered a bureau of the same material, and when it was 
finished, he invited his friends to see the new work; amongst others, the 
Duchess of Buckingham begged a small piece of the precious wood, and 

Kneehole Table, by Sheraton. 

it soon became the fashion. On account of its toughness, and peculiarity 
of grain, it was capable of treatment impossible with oak, and the high 
polish it took by oil and rubbing (not French polish, a later invention), 
caused it to come into great request. The term " putting one's knees 
under a friend's mahogany," probably dates from about this time. 

Thomas Sheraton, who commenced work some twenty years later 
than Chippendale, and continued in business until the early part of the 
nineteenth century, accomplished much excellent work in English furniture. 

The fashion had now changed ; instead of the rococo— literally, rock 
work and shell (roequaille et coquaille)— ornament, which had gone out, a 
simpler and more severe taste had come in. In Sheraton's cabinets, 
chairs, writing tables, and occasional pieces, we have therefore no longer 
the cabriole leg or the carved ornament ; but, as in the case of the 
brothers Adam, and the furniture designed by them for such houses as 
those in Portland Place, we have now square tapering legs, severe lines, 



and quiet ornament. Sheraton trusted almost entirely for decoration to 
his marqueterie. Seme of this is very delicate and of excellent work- 

manship. He introduced occasionally into his scrolls animals with foliated 
extremities, and he also inlaid marqueterie trophies of musical instruments ; 



but as a rule the decoration was in wreaths of flowers, husks, or drapery, 
in strict adherence to the fashion of the decorations to which allusion has 
been made. A characteristic feature of his cabinets was the swan-necked 
pediment surmounting the cornice, being a revival of an ornament fashion- 
able during Queen Anne's reign. It was then chiefly found in stone, 
marble, or cut brickwork, but subsequently became prevalent in inlaid 

A China Cabinet and a Bookcase with Secretaire. 
Designed by T. Sheraton, and published in his "Cabinet MaKer and Upholsterer's Drawing Book," 1793. 

Sheraton was apparently a man very well educated for his time, 
whether self taught or not one cannot say ; but that he was an excellent 
draughtsman, and had a complete knowledge of geometry, is evident from 
the skilful drawings in his book, and the careful though rather verbose 
directions he gives for perspective drawing. Many of his numerous designs 
for furniture and ornamental items are drawn to a scale with the 
geometrical nicety of an engineer's or architect's plan. He has drawn in 
elevation, plan, and minute detail, each of the five architectural orders. 

The selection made here from his designs for the purposes of 
illustration, is not taken from his later work, which properly belongs to 



a future chapter, when we come to consider the influence of the 
French Revolution, and the translation of the " Empire " style to England. 
Sheraton published " The Cabinet Maker and Upholsterer's Drawing 
Book " in 1793, and the list of subscribers whose names and addresses 
are given, throws much light on the subject of the furniture of his 
time.* Amongst these are many of his aristocratic patrons and no 
less than 450 names and addresses of cabinet makers, chair makers, and 
carvers, exclusive of harpsichord manufacturers, musical instrument makers, 
upholsterers, and other kindred trades. Included with these we find the 
names of firms who, from the appointments they held, it may be inferred, 
had a high reputation for good work, and a leading position in the trade, 
but who, perhaps from the absence of a taste for " getting into print " 
and from the lack of any brand or mark by which their work can be 


Chair Backs, from Sheraton' 

Cabinet Maker." 

identified, have passed into oblivion while their contemporaries are still 
famous. The following names taken from this list are probably those of 
men who had for many years conducted well known and old established 
businesses, but would now be but poor ones to " conjure " with : while 
those of Chippendale, Sheraton, or Hepplewhite, are a ready passport 
for a doubtful specimen. For instance : — France, Cabinet Maker to His 
Majesty, St. Martin's Lane ; Charles Elliott, Upholder to His Majesty 
and Cabinet Maker to the Duke of York, Bond Street; Campbell and 
Sons, Cabinet Makers to the Prince of Wales, Mary-le-bone Street, 
London. Besides those who held Royal appointments, there were other 
manufacturers of decorative furniture — Thomas Johnson, Copeland, Robert 

* The late Mr. Adam Black, senior partner in the publishing firm of A. and C. Black, and 
Lord Macaulay's colleague in Parliament, when quite a young man, assisted Sheraton in 
the production of this bcok ; at that time the famous designer of furniture was in poor 



Davy, a French carver named Nicholas Collet, who settled in England, 
and many others. 

In Mr. J. H. Pollen's larger work on furniture and woodwork, which 
includes a catalogue of the different examples in the South Kensington 
Museum, there is a list of the various artists and craftsmen who have 
been identified with the production of artistic furniture either as designers 
or manufacturers, and the writer has found this of considerable service. 
In the Appendix to this work, this list has been reproduced, with the 
addition of several names (particularly those of the French school) 
omitted by Mr. Pollen, and it will, it is hoped, prove a useful reference 
to the reader. 

Although in deference to the prevailing taste for our National 
manufacture of the latter half of the last century, this chapter is some- 
what long, on account of the endeavour to give more detailed information 
about English furniture of that period, still, in concluding it, a few 
remarks about the " Sideboard " may be allowed. 

The changes in form and fashion of this important article of domestic 
furniture are interesting, and to explain them a slight retrospect is 
necessary. The word " Buffet," sometimes translated " Sideboard," which 
was used to describe continental pieces of furniture of the fifteenth and 
sixteenth centuries, does not designate our Sideboard, which may be said 
to have been introduced by William III., and of which kind there is 
a fair specimen in the South Kensington Museum ; an illustration of 
it has been given in the chapter dealing with that period. 

The term " stately sideboard " occurs in Milton's " Paradise Regained," 
which was published in 1671 ; and Dryden, in his translation of "Juvenal," 
published in 1693, when contrasting the furniture of the classical period 
of which he was writing, with that of his own time, uses the following 
line : — 

" No sideboards then with gilded plate were dressed." 

The fashion in those days of having symmetrical doors in a room, 
that is, false doors to correspond with the door used for exit, which 
one still finds in many old houses in the neighbourhood of Portland 
Place, and particularly in the Palaces of St. James' and of Kensington, 
enabled our ancestors to have good cupboards for the storage of glass, 
crockery, and reserve wine. After the middle of the eighteenth century, 


however, these extra doors and the cupboard enclosed by them, gradually 
disappeared ; and soon after the mahogany side table came into fashion, 
it became the custom to supplement this article of furniture by an 
independent pedestal cupboard on either side (instead of the cupboards 
alluded to), one for hot plates and the other for wine. Then, as the thin 
legs gave the table rather a lank}' appearance, the garde de vin, or cellaret, 
was added in the form of an oval tub of mahogany, with bands of brass, 
sometimes raised on low feet with castors for convenience, which was used 
as a wine cooler. A pair of urn-shaped mahogany vases stood on the 
pedestals, and these contained — the one hot water for the servants' use 
in washing the knives, forks, and spoons, which being then much more 
valuable were limited in quantity, and the other held iced water for the 
guests' use. To understand this arrangement the reader is referred to the 
illustration on page 193. 

A brass rail at the back of the side table, with ornamented pillars 
and branches for candles, was used, partly to enrich the furniture, and 
partly to form a support to the handsome pair of knife and spoon cases, 
which completed the garniture of a gentleman's sideboard of this period. 
It would therefore seem that the modern sideboard is the combination 
of these separate articles into one piece of furniture — at different times 
and in different fashions — first the pedestals joined to the table produced 
our " pedestal sideboard," then the mirror was joined to the back, the 
cellaret made part of the interior fittings, and the banishment of 
knife cases and urns to the realms of the curiosity hunter, or for 
conversion into spirit cases and stationery holders. The sarcophagus, 
often richly carved, of course succeeded the simple cellaret of Sheraton's 

Before we dismiss the furniture of the " dining room " of this period, 
it may interest some of our readers to know that until the first edition 
of "Johnson's Dictionary" was published in 1755, the term was not to 
be found in the vocabularies of our language designating its present use. 
In Barrat's " Alvearic," published in 1580, " parloir," or " parler," was 
described as " a place to sup in." Later, " Minsheu's Guide unto 
Tongues," in 161 7, gave it as " an inner room to dine or to suppe in," 
but Johnson's definition is " a room in houses on the first floor, elegantly 
furnished for reception or entertainment." 

To the latter part of the eighteenth century — the English furniture 
of which time has been discussed in this Chapter — belong the quaint 
little " urn stands " which were made to hold the urn with boiling 
water, while the tea pot was placed on a little slide which is drawn 
out from underneath the top. In those days tea was an expensive 


wine table: 


luxury, and urn stands (illustrated below) were inlaid in the fashion of 
the time. These, together with the old mahogany or marqueterie tea 
caddies, which were sometimes the object of considerable skill and care, 
are dainty relics of the past. One of these, designed by Chippendale, 
as illustrated on page 179, and another by Hepplewhite will be found on 
page 194. They were fitted with two and sometimes three bottles or tea 
poys of silver or Battersea enamel, to hold the black and green teas, and 
when really good examples of these daintily-fitted tea caddies are offered 
for sale they bring large sums. 

Urn Stand. 

Toilet Glas 

Urn Stand. 

The " wine table " of this time deserves a word. These are now 
somewhat rare, and are only to be found in a few old houses, and in 
some of the Colleges at Oxford and Cambridge. These are fitted with 
revolving tops, which had circles turned out to a slight depth for each 
glass to stand in, and they were sometimes shaped like the half of a fiat 
ring. These latter were for placing in front of the fire, when the outer 
side of the table formed a convivial circle, round which the sitters 
gathered after they had left the dinner table. 

One of these old tables is still to be seen in the Hall of Gray's Inn, 
and the writer was told that its fellow was broken and had been " sent 
away." They are nearly always of good rich mahogany, and have legs 
more or less ornamental according to circumstances. 

A distinguishing feature of English furniture of the eighteenth century 
was the partiality for secret drawers and contrivances for hiding away papers 
or valued articles ; and in old secretaires and writing tables we find a 
great many ingenious designs which remind us of the days when there 
were but few banks, and people kept money and deeds in their own 

The reader who would make a careful study of English furniture of 
the period discussed in this chapter, is referred to the exhaustive work 



edited by Mr. John Aldam Heaton, and published by Mr. Bumpus in 
parts : — ■" Furniture and Decoration in England during the 18th Century, 
being facsimile reproductions of the choicest examples from the works 
of Chippendale, Adam, G. Richardson, Hepplewhite, Sheraton, Piranesi, 
and others." 

Carved Jardiniere, by Chippendale. 


jftvst Ibalf of the nineteenth Centutg. 

The French Revolution and the First Empire — Influence on design of Napoleon's Campaigns — 
The Cabinet presented to Marie Louise — Dutch Furniture of the time — English Furniture 
— Sheraton's later work — Thomas Hope, architect — George Smith's designs — Fashion during 
the Regency— Gothic revival — Seddon's furniture— Other makers — Influence on design of 
the Restoration in France — Furniture of William IV. and early part of Queen Victoria's 
reign — Baroque and Rococo styles— The panelling of rooms, dado, and skirting — The Art 
Union — The Society of Arts— Sir Charles Barry and the new Palace of Westminster — 
Pugin's designs — Auction Prices of Furniture — Christie's— The London Club Houses — 
Steam — Different Trade Customs--Exhibitions in France and England — Harry Rogers 
work — The Queen's cradle — State of Art in England during the first part of Queen Victoria's 
reign — Continental designs — Italian carving — Cabinet work — General remarks. 


HERE are great crises in the history of a nation 
which stand out in prominent relief. One of 
these is the French Revolution, which commenced 
in 1792, and wrought such dire havoc amongst 
the aristocracy, with so much misery and distress 
throughout that country. It was an event of 
great importance, whether we consider the religion, 
the politics, or the manners and customs of a 
people, as affecting the changes in the style of 
the decoration of their homes. The horrors of 
the Revolution are matters of common knowledge 
to every schoolboy, and there is no need to dwell 
either upon them or their consequences, which are 
so thoroughly apparent. To the confiscation of 
the property of those who had fled the country, 
was added the general dislocation of everything 
connected with the work of the industrial arts. 
Nevertheless it should be borne in mind that amongst the anarchy 
and disorder of this terrible time in France, the National Convention had 
sufficient foresight to appoint a Commission, composed of competent men 
in different branches of x\rt, to determine what State property in artistic 
objects should be sold, and what was of sufficient historical interest to 
be retained as a national possession. Riesener, the celebrated ebeniste, 
whose work we have described in the chapter on Louis Seize furniture, 
and David, the famous painter of the time, both served on this Commis- 
sion, of which they must have been valuable members. 


There is a passage in an article on " Art," by a democratic French 
writer, as early as 1790 — when the great storm cloud was already 
threatening to burst — which is quoted by Air. C. Perkins, the American 
translator of Dr. Falke's German work, " Kunst im Hause," and gives 
us the keynote to the great change which took place in the fashion of 
furniture about the time of the Revolution : — " We have changed 
everything ; freedom, now consolidated in France, has restored the pure 
taste for the antique ! Farewell to your marqueterie and Boule, your 
ribbons, festoons, and rosettes of gilded bronze ; the hour has come when 
objects must be made to harmonize with circumstances." 

Thus it is hardly too much to say that designs were governed by 
the politics and philosophy of the day ; and one finds in furniture of this 
period, the reproduction of ancient Greek forms for chairs and couches ; 
ladies' work tables, too, are fashioned somewhat after the old drawings of 
sacrificial altars ; and the classical tripod is a favourite support. The 
mountings represent antique Roman fasces with an axe in the centre ; 
trophies of lances, surmounted by a Phrygian cap of liberty; winged 
figures, emblematic of freedom ; and antique heads of helmeted warriors 
arranged like cameo medallions. 

After the execution of Robespierre, and the abolition of the Revolu- 
tionary Tribunal in 1794, came the establishment of the Directory; and 
then, after Buonaparte's brilliant success in Italy, and the famous expedi- 
tions to Syria and Egypt two years later, came his proclamation as First 
Consul in 1799, which, in 1802, was confirmed as a life appointment. 

We have only to refer to the portrait of the great soldier, represented 
with the crown of bay leaves and other attributes of the old Roman 
imperialism, to see that in his mind was the ambition of reviving much 
of the splendour and of the surroundings of the Caesars, whom he took, 
to some extent, as his models; and that in founding on the ashes of the 
Revolution a new fabric, with new people about him, all influenced by his 
energetic personality, he desired to mark his victories by stamping the 
new order of things with his powerful and assertive individualism. 

The cabinet which was designed and made for Marie Louise, on his 
marriage with her in 1810, is an excellent example of the Napoleonic 
furniture. The wood used for this style of furniture was almost invariably 
rich mahogany, the color of which made a good ground for the bronze 
gilt mounts which were applied. The full-page illustration shews these 
mountings, which are all classical in character ; and though there is no 
particular grace in the outline or form of the cabinet, there is a certain 
dignity and solemnity, relieved from oppressiveness by the fine chasing 
and gilding of the metal enrichments, and the excellent color and 



Presented by Napoleon I. to Marie Louise on his Marriage with her in 181c 
Period: Napoleon I. 



figuring of the rich Spanish mahogany used. This cabinet, and several 
other more or less ornate pieces of Napoleonic furniture, may still be seen 
in the Chateau of Fontainebleau. 

On secretaires and tables, a common ornament of this description of 
furniture, is a column of mahogany, with a capital and base of bronze 
(either gilt, part gilt, or green), in the form of the head of a sphinx with 
the foot of an animal ; console tables are supported by sphinxes and 
griffins : and candelabra and wall brackets for candles, have winged figures 
of females, stiff in modelling and constrained in attitude, but almost 
invariablv of good material with careful finish. 

Tabouret, or Stool. 
Carved and Gilt. 

Arm Chair. 

In Mahogany, with Gilt Bronze Mountings. 

Period of Napoleon I 

The bas-reliefs in metal which ornament the panels of the friezes of 
cabinets, or the marble bases of clocks, are either reproductions of 
mythological subjects from old Italian gems and seals, or represent the 
battles of the Emperor, in which Napoleon is portrayed as a Roman 
general. There was plenty of room to replace so much that had 
disappeared during the Revolution, and a vast quantity of decorative 
furniture was made during the few years which elapsed before the disaster 
of Waterloo caused the disappearance of a power which had been almost 
meteoric in its career. 

One of the best authorities on " Empire Furniture " is the book of 
designs published in 1809 by the architects Percier and Fontaine. It 
is the more valuable, as a work of reference, from the fact that every 
design represented was actually carried out, and is not a mere exercise of 
fancy, as is the case with many such books. In the preface the authors 


modestly state that they are entirely indebted to the antique for the 
reproduction of the different ornaments : and the originals, from which 
some of the designs were taken, are still preserved in a fragmentary form 
in the Museum of the Vatican. 

The illustration on page 205 of an arm chair and a stool, together with 
that of the tripod table which ornaments the initial letter of this chapter, 
are favourable examples of the richly-mounted and more decorative 
furniture of this style. While they are not free from the stiffness and 
constraint which are inseparable from classic designs as applied to 
furniture, the rich color of the mahogany, the high finish and good 
gilding of the bronze mounts, and the costlv silk with which they are 
covered, render them attractive and give them a value of their own. 

The more ordinary furniture, however, of the same style, but without 
these decorative accessories, is stiff, ungainly, and uncomfortable, and 
seems to remind us of a period in the history of France when political 
and social disturbance deprived the artistic and pleasure-loving Frenchman 
of his peace of mind, distracting his attention from the careful con- 
sideration of his work. It may be mentioned here that, in order 
to supply a demand which has lately arisen, chiefly in New York, but 
also to some extent in England, for the best "Empire" furniture, the 
French dealers have bought up some of the old undecorated pieces, 
and by ornamenting them with gilt bronze mounts, cast from good old 
patterns, have sold them as original examples of the meubles de luxe of 
the period. 

In Dutch furniture of this time one sees the reproduction of the 
Napoleonic fashion — the continuation of the Revolutionists' classicalism. 
Many marqueterie secretaires, tables, chairs, and other like articles, are 
mounted with the heads and feet of animals, with lion's heads and 
sphinxes, designs which could have been derived from no other source ; 
and the general design of the furniture loses its bombe form, and becomes 
rectangular and severe. Whatever difficulty there may be in sometimes 
deciding between the designs of the Louis XIV. period, towards its close, 
and that of Louis XV., there can be no mistake about I' epoch de la 
Directoire and le style de V Empire. These are marked and branded with 
the Egyptian expedition, and the Syrian campaign, as legibly as if they 
all bore the familiar plain Roman N, surrounded by a laurel wreath, 
or the Imperial eagle which had so often led the French legions to 

It is curious to notice how England, though so bitterly opposed to 
Napoleon, caught the infection of the dominant features of design which 
were prevalent in France about this time. 



Thus, in Sheraton's Book on Furniture, to which allusion has been 
made, and from which illustrations have been given in the chapter on 
" Chippendale and his Contemporaries," there is evidence that, as in France 
during the influence of Marie Antoinette, there was a classical revival, 
and the lines became straighter and more severe for furniture, so this 
alteration was adopted by Sheraton, Shearer and other English designers 

Drawing Room Chair. 
Design published by T. Sheraton, April, 1S04. 

at the end of the century. But if we refer to Sheraton's later drawings, 
which are dated about 1804 to 1806, we see the constrained figures and 
heads and feet of animals, all brought into the designs as shewn in the 
" drawing room " chairs here illustrated. These shew unmistakable signs 
of the French " Empire " influence, the chief difference between the 
French and English work being, that, whereas in French Empire furniture 
the excellence of the metal work redeems it from heaviness or ugliness, 



such merit was wanting in England, where we have never excelled in 
bronze work, the ornament being generally carved in wood, either gilt 
or colored bronze-green. When metal was used it was brass, cast and 
fairly finished by the chaser, but much more clumsy than the French 
work. Therefore, the English furniture of the first years of the nineteenth 
century is stiff, massive, and heavy, equally with its Fiench contemporary 

Drawing Room Chair. 
Design published by T. Sheraton, April I, 1S04. 

wanting in gracefulness, and not having the compensating attractions of 
fine mounting, or the originality and individuality which must always add 
an interest to Napoleonic furniture. 

There was, however, made about this time by Gillow, to whose 
earlier work reference has been made in the previous chapter, some 
excellent furniture, which, while to some extent following the fashion of 
the day, did so more reasonably. The rosewood and mahogany tables, 

Design published by T. Sheraton, November cjth, 1803. 



In Mahogany, with Brass Rail and Convex Mirror at back. 

Design published by T. Sheraton, 1802. 

Sofa Table. 
Design published by T. Sheraton, 1804. 


chairs, cabinets, and sideboards of his make, inlaid with scrolls and lines 
of fiat brass, and mounted with handles and feet of brass, generally 
representing the heads and claws of lions, do great credit to the English 
work of this time. The sofa table and sideboard, illustrated on the 
previous page, are of this class, and shew that Sheraton, too, designed 
furniture of a less pronounced character, as well as the heavier kind 
to which reference has been made. 

A very favourable example of the craze in England for classic design 
in furniture and decoration, is shewn in the reproduction of a drawing 
by Thomas Hope (known as " Anastasius Hope '*), in 1807, a well-known 
architect of the time, in which it will be observed that the forms and 
fashions of some of the chairs and tables described and illustrated in the 
chapter on " Ancient Furniture " have been taken as models. 

There were several makers of first-class furniture, of whom the names 
of some still survive in the "style and title" of firms of the present 
day, who are their successors, while those of others have been forgotten, 
save by some of our older manufacturers and auctioneers, who, at the 
request of the writer, have been good enough to look up old records 
and revive the memories of fifty years ago. Of these the best known was 
Thomas Seddon, who came from Manchester and settled in Aldersgate 
Street. His two sons succeeded to the business, became cabinet makers 
to George IV., and furnished and decorated Windsor Castle. At the 
King's death their account was disputed, and £30,000 was struck off, 
a loss which necessitated an arrangement with their creditors. Shortly 
after this, however, they took the Barracks of the London Light Horse 
Volunteers in the Gray's Inn Road (now the Hospital), and carried 
on there for a time a very extensive business. Seddon's work ranked 
with Gillow's, and they shared with that house the best orders for 

Thomas Seddon, painter of Oriental subjects, who died in 1856, and 
P. Seddon, a well-known architect, were grandsons of the original founder 
of the firm. On the death of the elder brother, Thomas, the younger 
one then transferred his connection to the firm of Johnstone and Jeanes, 
in Bond Street, another old house which until recently carried on 
business as " Johnstone and Norman," and who some few years ago 
executed a very extravagant order for an American millionaire. This was 
a reproduction of Byzantine designs in furniture of cedar, ebony, ivory, 
and pearl, made from drawings by the late Sir Alma Tadema, R.A. 

Snell, of Albemarle Street, was established early in the century, and 
had obtained an excellent reputation ; his speciality was well-made birch 
bedroom suites, but he also made furniture of a general description. The 


predecessor of the present firm of Howard and Son, who commenced 
business in Whitechapel as early as 1800, and the first Morant, may all 
be mentioned as manufacturers in the first quarter of the century. 

Somewhat later, Trollopes, of Parliament Street ; Holland, who had 
succeeded Dowbiggin (Gillow's apprentice), first in Great Pulteney Street, 
and subsequently at the firm's present address; Wilkinson, of Ludgate 
Hill, founder of the present firm of upholsterers in Bond Street; Aspinwall, 
of Grosvenor Street ; the second Morant, of whom the great Duke of 
Wellington made a personal friend ; and Crace, a prominent decorator 
of great taste, who carried out many of Pugin's Gothic designs, were all 
men of good reputation. Miles and Edwards, of Oxford Street, whom 
Hindleys succeeded, were also well known for good middle-class furniture. 
These are some of the best known manufacturers of the first half of the 
present century, and though until after the Great Exhibition there was, 
as a rule, little in the designs to render their productions remarkable, the 
work of those named will be found sound in construction, and free from 
the faults which accompany the cheap and showy reproductions of more 
pretentious styles, which mark so much of the furniture of the present 
day. W 7 ith regard to this, more will be said in the next chapter. 

There was then a very limited market for any but the most common- 
place furniture. Our wealthy people bought the productions of French 
cabinet makers, either made in Paris or by Frenchmen who came over to 
England, and the middle classes were content with the most ordinary and 
useful articles. If they had possessed the means, they certainly had neither 
the taste nor the education to furnish more ambitiously. The great extent 
of suburbs which now surround the Metropolis, and which include such 
numbers of expensive and extravagantly-fitted residences of merchants and 
tradesmen, did not then exist. The latter lived over their shops or ware- 
houses, and the former only aspired to a dull house in Bloomsbury, or 
like David Copperfield's father-in-law, Mr. Spenlow, a villa at Norwood, 
or perhaps a country residence at Hampstead or Highgate. 

In 1808 a designer and maker of furniture, George Smith by name, 
who held the appointment of " Upholder extraordinary to H.R.H. the 
Prince of Wales," and carried on business at " Princess " Street, Caven- 
dish Square, produced a book of designs, 158 in number, published 
by " Wm. Taylor," of Holborn. These include cornices, window drapery, 
bedsteads, tables, chairs, bookcases, commodes, and other furniture, the 
titles of some of which occur for about the first time in our vocabularies, 
having been adapted from the French. " Escritoire, jardiniere, dejune- 
tables, chiffoniers " (the spelling copied from Smith's book), all bear the 
impress of the pseudo-classic taste ; and his designs, some of which are 


here reproduced, show the fashion of our so-called artistic furniture in 
England at the time of the Regency. Mr. Smith, in the " Preliminary 
Remarks " prefacing his illustrations, gives us an idea of the prevailing 
taste, which, looking back now some three-quarters of a century, it is 
instructive to peruse : — 

" Library Fauteuil." 
Reproduced from Smith's Book of Designs, published in 1F04. 

" The following practical observations on the various woods employed 
in cabinet work may be useful. Mahogany, when used in houses of 
consequence, should be confined to the parlour and the bedchamber floors. 
In furniture for these apartments the less inlay of other woods, the more 
chaste will be the style of work. If the wood be of a fine, compact, and 



bright quality, the ornaments ma}' be carved clean in the mahogany. 
Where it may be requisite to make out panelling by an inlay of lines, let 
those lines be of brass or ebony. In drawing-rooms, boudoirs, ante-rooms, 
East and West India satin woods, rosewood, tulip wood, and the other 
varieties of woods brought from the East, may be used; with satin and 
light coloured woods the decorations may be of ebony or rosewood ; with 
rosewood let the decorations be ormolu, and the inlay of brass. Bronze 
metal, though sometimes used with satin wood, has a cold and poor 
effect : it suits better on gilt work, and will answer well enough on 

Shewing the inlay of Br; 

"Parlor Chairs." 

referred to. From Smith's Book of Designs, published in it 

Amongst the designs published by him are some few of a subdued 
Gothic character ; these are generally carved in light oak, or painted 
light stone color, and have, in some cases, heraldic shields, with crests 
and coats of arms picked out in color. There are window seats painted 
to imitate marble, with the Roman or Greco-Roman ornaments painted 
green to represent bronze. The least objectionable are those of mahogany 
with bronze green ornaments. 

Of the furniture of this period there are several pieces in the Mansion 
House, in the City of London, which apparently was partly refurnished 
about the commencement of the century. 


Design published by T. Sheraton, June i2th, 1806. 
Note. — Very similar bookcases are in the London Mansion House. 


In the Court Room of the Skinners' Company there are tables which 
now fitted with extensions, so as to form a horseshoe table for 

" Drawing Room Chairs in Profile." 

From G. Smith's Book, published in 1808. 

committee meetings. They are good examples of the heavy and solid carving 
in mahogany, early in the century before the fashion of representing the 
heads and feet of animals in the designs of furniture had gone out. These 
tables have massive legs, with lions' heads and claws, carved with great skill 
and shewing much spirit, the wood being of the best quality and rich in color. 



In the work of the manufacturers just enumerated may be traced 
the influence of the " Empire " style. With the restoration, however, of 
the Monarchy in France, came the inevitable change in fashions, and 
" Le style de V Empire" was condemned. In its place came a revival of 
the Louis Quinze scrolls and curves, but with less character and restraint, 
until the style we know as " baroque,"* or debased " rococo " came in. 
Ornament of a florid and incongruous character was lavished on decorative 
furniture, indicative of a taste for display, rather than for appropriate 

It had been our English custom for some long period to take our 
fashions from France, and, therefore, about the time of William IV. and 
during the early part of Queen Victoria's reign, the furniture for our 
best houses was designed and made in the French style. In the "Music" 
Room at Chatsworth are some chairs and footstools used at the time 
of the Coronation of William IV. and Queen Adelaide, which have quite 
the appearance of French furniture. 

The old fashion of lining rooms with oak panelling, which has been 
noticed in the earlier chapter, had undergone a change worth recording. 
If the illustration of the Elizabethan oak panelling, as given in the 
English section of Chapter III., be referred to, it will be seen that 
the oak lining reaches from the floor to within about two or three 
feet of the cornice. Subsequently this panelling was divided into an 
upper and a lower part, the former commencing about the height of 
the back of an ordinary chair, a moulding or chair-rail forming a capping 
to the lower part. Then pictures came to be let into the panelling ; 
and presently the upper part was discarded and the lower wainscoting 
remained, properly termed the Dado,t which we have seen revived both 
in wood and in various decorative materials of the present day. During 
the period we are now discussing, this arrangement lost favour in the 
eyes of our grandfathers, and the lowest member, or base, ot the Dado 
only was retained, which is now termed the " skirting board." 

* The word baroque, which became a generic term, was derived from the Portuguese " barrocco," 
meaning a large irregular-shaped pearl. At first a jeweller's technical term, it came later, like 
" rococo," to be used to describe the kind of ornament which prevailed in design of the nineteenth 
century, after the disappearance of the classic. 

t Mr. Parker defines Dado as " The solid block, or cube, forming the body of a pedestal in 
classical architecture, between the base mouldings and the cornice : an architectural arrangement 
of mouldings, etc., round the lower parts of the wall of a room, resembling a continuous 


As we approach a period that our older contemporaries can 
remember, it is very interesting to turn over the leaves of the back 
numbers of such magazines and newspapers as treated of the Industrial 
Arts. The Art Union, which changed its title to the Art Journal in 
1849, had then been in existence for about ten years, and had done 
good work in promoting the encouragement of Art and manufactures. 
The " Society of Arts " had been formed in London as long ago as 
1756, and had given prizes for designs and methods of improving different 
processes of manufacture. Exhibitions of the specimens sent in for 
competition for the awards were, and are still, held at their house in 
Adelphi Buildings. Old volumes of " Transactions of the Society " are 
quaint works of reference with regard to these exhibitions. 

About 1840, Mr., afterwards Sir, Charles Barry, R.A., had designed 
and commenced the present, or, as it was then called, the New Palace of 
Westminster, and following the Gothic character of the building, the 
furniture and fittings were naturally of a design to harmonize with 
what was then quite a departure from the heavy architectural taste of 
the day- Mr. Barry was the first in the last century to leave the 
beaten track, although the Reform and Travellers' Clubs had already been 
designed by him on more classic lines. The Speaker's chair in the House 
of Commons is evidently designed after one of the fifteenth century 
" canopied seats," which have been noticed and illustrated in the second 
chapter ; and the " linen scroll pattern " panels can be counted by the 
thousand in the Houses of Parliament and the different official residences 
which form part of the Palace. The character of the work is subdued 
and not flamboyant, is excellent in design and workmanship, and is highly 
creditable, when we take into consideration the very low state of Art in 
England fifty years ago. 

This want of taste was very much discussed in the periodicals of the 
day, and, yielding to expressed public opinion, Government had in 1840-1 
appointed a Select Committee to take into consideration the promotion of 
the Fine Arts in the country. Mr. Charles Barry, Mr. Eastlake, and 
Sir Martin Shee, R.A., were amongst the witnesses examined. The 
report of this Committee, in 1S41, contained the opinion " That such an 
important and National work as the erection of the two Houses of 
Parliament affords an opportunity, which ought not to be neglected, of 
encouraging, not only the higher, but every subordinate branch of Fine 
Art in this country." 

Mr. Augustus Welby Pugin was a well-known designer of the Gothic 
style of furniture of this time. Born in 181 1, he had published in 1835 
his " Designs for Gothic Furniture," and subsequently his " Glossary of 



Ecclesiastical Ornament and Costume " : and by skilful application of his 
knowledge to the decorations of the different ecclesiastical buildings he 
designed, his reputation became established. One of his designs is here 
reproduced. Pugin's work and reputation have survived, notwithstanding 
the furious opposition he met with at the time. In a review of one of 
his books, in the Art Union of 1839, the following sentence completes the 


In Carved Oak, enriched with Painting and Gilding. 
Designed by Mr. Pugin, and manufactured by Mr. Crace. London. 

criticism : — " As it is a common occurrence in life to find genius mistaken 
for madness, so does it sometimes happen that a madman is mistaken 
for a genius. Mr. Welby Pugin has oftentimes appeared to us to be a 
case in point."' 

At this time furniture design and manufacture, as an Industrial Art 
in England, seems to have attracted no attention whatever. There are 



but few allusions to the design of decorative woodwork in the periodicals 
of the day ; and the auctioneers' advertisements — with a few notable 
exceptions, like that of the Strawberry Hill Collection of Horace Walpole, 
gave no descriptions ; no particular interest in the subject appears to 
have been manifested, save by a very limited number of the dilettanti, 
who, like Walpole, collected the curios and cabinets of two or three 
hundred years ago. 


Secretaire and Bookcase. 
In Carved Oak, in style of German Gothic. 

(From a Drawing by Professor Heideloff. Published in the "Art Union," 1846.) 

York House was redecorated and furnished about this time, and as it 
is described as " Excelling any other dwelling of its own class in regal 
magnificence and vieing with the Royal Palaces of Europe," we may take 
note of an account of its re-equipment, written in 1841, for the Art 
Union. This notice speaks little for the taste of the period, and less for 
the knowledge and grasp of the subject by the writer of an Art critique 
of the day : — " The furniture generally is of no particular style, but, on 
the whole, there is to be found a mingling of everything, in the best 
manner of the best epochs of taste." Writing further on of the ottoman 


coaches, " causeses," etc., the critic goes on to tell of an alteration in 
fashion which had evidently just taken place: "Some of them, in place 
of plain or carved rosewood or mahogany, are ornamented in white 
enamel, with classic subjects in bas-relief of perfect execution." 

Towards the close of the period embraced in the limits of this 
chapter, the eminent firm of Jackson and Graham was making headwav. 
A French designer named Prignot was of considerable assistance in 
establishing their reputation for taste ; and in the Exhibition which was 
soon to take place this firm took a very prominent position. Collinson 
and Lock.* who afterwards acquired this firm's premises and business, were 
both brought up in the house as young men, and left some thirty odd 
years ago for Herrings, of Fleet Street, whom they succeeded about 1870. 

Another well-known decorator who designed and manufactured furniture 
of good qualitv was Leonard William Collmann. first of Bouverie Street, 
and later of George Street, Portman Square. He was a pupil of Sydney 
Smirke, R.A. (who designed and built the Carlton and the Conservative 
Clubs), and was himself an excellent draughtsman, and carried out the 
decoration and furnishing of many public buildings, London Clubs, and 
mansions of the nobility and gentry. His son is at present Director of 
Decorations to the King at \\ 'indsor Castle. Collmann's designs were 
occasionally Gothic, but generally classic. 

There is evidence of the want of interest in the subject of furniture 
in the auctioneers' catalogues of the day. By the courtesy of Messrs. 
Christie, Manson and Woods, the writer has had access to the records of 
this old firm, and two or three instances of sales of furniture may be given. 
While the catalogues of the Picture sales of 1830-40 were printed on 
paper of quarto size, and the subjects described at length, those of 
•'Furniture" are of the old-fashioned small octavo size, resembling the 
catalogue of a small country auctioneer of the present da}-, and the printed 
descriptions rarely exceed a single line. The prices seldom amounted 
to more than £10 ; the whole proceeds of the day's sale were often less 
than £100, and sometimes did not reach £50. At the sale of " Rosslyn 
House," Hampstead, in 1S30, a mansion of considerable importance, the 
highest-priced article was " A capital mahogany pedestal sideboard, with 
hot closet, cellaret, 2 plate drawers, and tinted legs," which brought 
£32. At the sale of the property of " A Man of Fashion," " a marqueterie 
cabinet, inlaid with trophies, the panels of Sevres china, mounted in 
ormolu," sold for twenty guineas ; and a " Reisener (sic) table, beauti- 
fully inlaid with flowers, and drawers,"' which appears to have been 
reserved at nine guineas, was bought in at eight-and-a-half guineas. 
* Collinson and Lock amalgamated with Warings in 1897. 


Frequenters of Christie's of the present day who have seen such furniture 
realise as many pounds as the shillings included in such sums, will 
appreciate the enormously increased value of really good old French 

Perhaps the most noticeable comparison between the present day and 
that of half-a-century ago may be made in reading through the prices 
given at the great sale at Stowe House, in 1848, when the financial 
difficulties of the Duke of Buckingham caused the sale by auction which 
lasted thirty-seven days, and realised upwards of £71,000; the proceeds of 
the furniture amounted to £27,152. We have seen in the notice of French 
furniture that armoires by Boule have, during the past few years, brought 
from £4,000 to £6,000 each, under the hammer, and the want of 
appreciation of this work, probably the most artistic ever produced by 
designer and craftsman, is sufficiently exemplified by the statement that 
at the Stowe sale two of Boule's famous armoires, of similar proportions 
to those in the Hamilton Palace and Jones Collections, were sold for £21 
and £19 8s. 6d. respectively. 

We are accustomed now to see the bids at Christie's advance by 
guineas, by fives, tens and fifties ; and it is amusing to read in these old 
catalogues of marqueterie tables, satin wood cabinets, rosewood pier 
tables, and other articles of " ornamental furniture," as it was termed, 
being knocked down to Town and Emanuel, Webb, Morant, Hitchcock 
Baldock, Forrest, Redfearn, Litchfield (the writer's father), and others 
who were the buyers and regular attendants at " Christie's " (afterwards 
Christie and Manson) of 1830 to 1845, for such sums as 6s., 15s., and 
occasionally £10 or £15. 

A single quotation is given, but many such are to be found : — 

Sale on February 25/A and 26th, 1841. Lot 31. " A small oval 
table, with a piece of Sevres porcelain painted with flowers. 6s." 

It is pleasant to remember, as some exception to this general want 
of interest in the subject, that in 1843 there was held at Gore House, 
Kensington, then the fashionable residence of Lady Blessington, an 
exhibition of old furniture ; and a series of lectures, illustrated by the 
contributions, was given by Mr., now Sir, J. C. Robinson. The Venetian 
State chair, illustrated on page 57, was amongst the examples lent by the 
Queen on that occasion. Specimens of Boule's work and some good 
pieces of Italian Renaissance were also exhibited. 

A great many of the older Club Houses of London were built and 
furnished between 18 13 and 1851, the Guards' being of the earlier date, 
and the Army and Navy of the latter; and during the intervening thirty 
odd years the United Service, Travellers', Union, United University 


Athenaeum, Oriental, Wyndham, Oxford and Cambridge, Reform, Carlton, 
Garrick, Conservative, and some others were erected and fitted up. Many 
of these still retain much of the furniture of Gillows, Seddons, and some 
of the other manufacturers of the time whose work has been alluded to, 
and these are favourable examples of the best kind of cabinet work done 
in England during the reign of George IV., William IV., and that of the 
early part of Queen Victoria. It is worth recording, too, that during 
this period, steam power, which had been first applied to machinery about 
1815, came into more general use in the manufacture of furniture. With 
its adoption there seems to have been a gradual abandonment of the 

Joxwood, for H.M. Qi: 

Victoria. Designed and Carved by H. Rogers, London. 

apprenticeship system in the factories and workshops of our country ; 
and the present " piece-work " arrangement, which had obtained more or 
less since the English cabinet makers had brought out their " Book of 
Prices " some years previously, became generally the custom of the trade, 
in place of the older " day work " of a former generation. 

In France the success of national exhibitions had become assured, the 
exhibitors having increased from only no, when the first experiment was 
tried in 1798, by leaps and bounds, until at the eleventh exhibition, in 
1849, there were 4,494 entries. The Art Journal of that year gives us 
a good illustrated notice of some of the exhibits, and devotes an article 
to pointing out the advantages to be gained by something of the kind 
taking place in England. 


From 1827 onwards we had established local exhibitions in Dublin, 
Leeds, and Manchester. The first time a special building was devoted to 
the exhibition of manufactures was at Birmingham in 1849 ; and from the 
illustrated review of this in the A rt Journal, one can see that there was 
a desire on the part of our designers and manufacturers to strike out 
in new directions and make progress. 

We are able to reproduce some of the designs of furniture of this 
period ; and in the cradle designed and carved in Turkey-boxwood, for 
Queen Victoria, by Mr. Harry Rogers, we have a fine piece of work, which 
would not have disgraced the latter period of the Renaissance. Indeed, 
Mr. Rogers was a very notable designer and carver of this time ; he had 
introduced his famous boxwood carving about seven years previously. 

Design for a Tea Caddy. 

By J. Strudwick, for Inlaying in Ivory. 

Published as one of the "Original Designs for Manufacturers" in the Ait Journal, 1849. 

This cradle was also, by Queen Victoria's command, sent to the 
Exhibition, and it may be worth while quoting the artist's description of 
the carving:— "In making the design for the cradle it was my intention 
that the entire object should symbolize the union of the Royal Houses of 
England with that of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and with this view, I 



arranged that one end should exhibit the arms and national motto of 
England, and the other those of H.R.H. Prince Albert. The inscription, 
' Anno, 1850,' was placed between the dolphins by Her Majesty's special 

Design for one of the Wings of a Sideboard. 
By W. Holmes. Exhibited at the "Society of Arts" in 1848, and published in the Art Journal, in 1849. 

In a criticism of this excellent specimen of work, the Art journal of 
the time said : — " We believe the cradle to be one of the most important 
examples of the art of wood carving ever executed in this country." 

Rogers was also a writer of considerable ability on the styles of 
ornament : and there are several contributions from his pen to the 


periodicals of the day, besides designs which were published in the 
Art Journal under the heading of "Original Designs for Manufacturers." 
These articles appeared occasionally, and contained many excellent sug- 
gestions for manufacturers and carvers, amongst others the drawings of 
H. Fitzcook, one of whose designs for a work table is here reproduced. 
Others more or less constant contributors of the original designs for furniture 
were J. Strudwick and W. Holmes, a design from the pencil of each of 
whom is given. 

Design for a Work Table. 
By H. Fitzcook. Published as one of the "Original Designs for Manufacturers," in the Art Journal, 1850. 

But though here and there in England good designers came to the 
front, as a general rule the art of design in furniture and decorative 
woodwork was at a very low ebb about this time. 

In furniture, straight lines and simple curves may be plain and 
uninteresting, but they are by no means so objectionable as the over 
ornamentation of the, debased rococo style, which obtained in this country 
about forty years ago ; and if the scrolls and flowers, the shells and 
rockwork which ornamented mirror frames, sideboard backs, sofas, and 


chairs, were debased in style, even when carefully carved in wood, the 
effect was infinitely worse when, for the sake of economy, as was the 
case with the houses of the middle classes, this elaborate and laboured 
enrichment was executed in the fashionable stucco of the day. 

Large mirrors, with gilt frames of this material, held the places of 
honor on the marble chimney piece, and on the console, or pier table, 
which was also of gilt stucco, with a marble slab. The chiffonier, with 
its shelves having scroll supports like an elaborate S, and a mirror at the 
back, with a scrolled frame, was a favourite article of furniture. 

Carpets were badly designed, and loud and vulgar in coloring ; 
chairs, on account of the shape and ornament in vogue, were unfitted 
for their purpose, on account of the wood being cut across the grain ; 
the fire-screen, in a carved rosewood frame, contained the caricature, in 
needlework, of a spaniel, or a family group of the time, ugly enough to 
be in keeping with its surroundings. 

The dining room was sombre and heavy. The pedestal sideboard, 
with a large mirror with a scrolled frame at the back, had come in ; the 
chairs were massive and ugly survivals of the earlier reproductions of the 
Greek patterns, and though solid and substantial, the effect was neither 
cheering nor refining. 

In the bedrooms were winged wardrobes and chests of drawers; 
dressing tables and washstands, with scrolled legs, nearly always in 
mahogany ; the old four-poster had given way to the Arabian or French 
bedstead, and this was being gradually replaced by the iron or brass 
bedsteads, which came in after the " Exhibition of 185 1 " had shewn 
people the advantages of the lightness and cleanliness of these materials. 

In a word, from the early part of the last century, until the 
impetus given to Art by this great Exhibition had had time to take effect, 
the general taste in furnishing houses of all but a very few persons was 
at about its worst. 

In other countries the rococo taste had also taken hold. France 
maintained a higher standard than England, and such figure work as was 
introduced into her furniture, was better executed, though her joinery was 
inferior. In Italy, old models of the Renaissance still served as examples 
for reproduction, but the ornament was more carelessly carved and. the 
decoration less considered. Ivory inlaying was largely practised in Milan 
and Venice ; mosaics of marble were speciality of Rome and of Florence, 
and were much used in the decoration of cabinets ; Venice was busy 
manufacturing carved walnutwood furniture, in buffets, cabinets, negro 
page boys elaborately painted and gilt ; and carved mirror frames, the 
chief ornaments, of which were cupids and foliage. 


Italian carving has always been free and spirited, the figures have 
never been wanting in grace, and though by comparison with the best 
time of the Renaissance there is a great falling off, still, the work executed 
in Italy during the nineteenth century has been of considerable merit as 
regards ornament, though this has been overdone. In construction, and 
joinery, however, the Italian work was and still is, for the most part, very 
inferior. Cabinets of great pretension and elaborate ornament, inlaid 
perhaps with ivory, lapislazuli, or marbles, are so imperfectly made that 
one would think ornament, and certainly not durability, had been the 
object of the producer. 

In Antwerp, Brussels, Liege, and other Flemish Art centres, the 
School of Wood Carving, which came in with the Renaissance, appears 
to have been maintained with more or less excellence. With the 
increased quality of the carved woodwork manufactured, there was a 
proportion of ill-finished and over-ornamented work produced; and although, 
as has been before observed, the manufacture of cheap marqueterie in 
Amsterdam, and other Dutch cities was bringing the name of Dutch 
furniture into ill-repute — still, so far as the writer's observations have 
gone, the Flemish wood-carver appears to have been, at the time now 
under consideration, ahead of his fellow craftsmen in Europe ; and when, 
in the ensuing chapter, we shall notice some of the representative 
exhibits in the great International Competition of 1S51, it will be seen 
that the Antwerp designer and carver was certainly in the foremost rank. 

In Austria, too, some good cabinet work was being carried out, 
M. Leistler, of Vienna, having at the time a high reputation. 

In Paris, the house of Fourdinois was making a name which, in 
subsequent exhibitions, we shall see took a leading place among the 
designers and manufacturers of decorative furniture. 

England, it has been observed, was suffering from languor in Art 
industry. The excellent designs of the Adams and their school, which 
obtained early in the century, had been supplanted, and a meaningless 
rococo style succeeded the heavy imitations of French pseudo-classic 
furniture. Instead of, as in the earlier and more tasteful periods, when 
architects had designed woodwork and furniture to accord with the style 
of their buildings, they appear to have then, as a general rule, abandoned 
the control of the decoration of interiors, and the result was one which 
— when we examine our National furniture of half a century ago — has not 
left us much to be proud of as an artistic and industrious people. 

Some notice has been taken of the appreciation of this unsatisfactory 
state of things by the Government of the time, and by the Press: and, 
as with a knowledge of our deficiency, came the desire and the energy to 


bring about its remedy, we shall see that, with the Exhibition of 185 1, 
and the intercourse and the desire to improve, which naturally followed 
that great and successful effort, our designers and craftsmen profited by 
the great stimulus which Art and Industry then received. 

Venetian Stool of Carved Walnut Wood. 

I z 

5 . 

< -J 

O o 

Q Q 


In carved walnut wood, with colored marbles inlaid, and doors of perforated brass. 

Designed by Mr. T. R. Macquoid, Architect, and Manufactured by 
Messrs. Holland & Sons, London. 1851 Exhibition. 




ffrom 1851 to tbe present Zime. 

The Great Exhibition : — Exhibitors and contemporary Cabinet Makers — Exhibition of 1862, 
London; 1867, Paris; and subsequently— Description of Illustrations— Fourdinois, Wright 
and Mansfield — The South Kensington Museum — Talbert's Work — Revival of Marquetry — 
Comparison of Present Day with that of a Hundred Years Ago — /Estheticism — Traditions — 
Trades-Unionism — The Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society — Kensington School of Wood- 
carving — Independence of Furniture — Present Fashions — Writers on Design — The New 
Renaissance — " Trade" Journals — Modern Furniture in other Countries — Concluding Remarks. 

N the previous chapter, attention has been taken 
of the success of the National Exhibition in Paris 
of 1849 ; in the same year the competition of our 
manufacturers at Birmingham gave an impetus 
to Industrial Art in England, and there was about 
this time a general forward movement, with a 
desire for an International Exhibition on a grand 
scale. Articles advocating such a step appeared 
in newspapers and periodicals of the time, and, 
after much difficulty, and many delays, a committee 
for the promotion of this object was formed. 
This resulted in the appointment of a Royal Com- 
mission, and the Prince Consort, as President of 
this Commission, took a keen personal interest 
in every arrangement for this great enterprise. 
Indeed, there can be no doubt that the success 
which crowned the work was, in a great measure, due to his taste, 
patience, and excellent business capacity. It is no part of our task to 
record all the details of an undertaking which, at the time, was a 
burning question of the day ; still, as we cannot but look upon this 
Exhibition of 185 1 as one of the landmarks in the history of furniture, 
it is worth while to record some particulars of its genesis and accomplish- 

The idea of the Exhibition of 1851 is said to have been originally 
due to Mr. F. Whishaw, Secretary of the Society of Arts, as early as 
1844, but no active steps were taken until 1849, when the Prince Consort, 
who was President of the Society, took the matter up very warmly. His 
speech at one of the meetings contained the following sentence : — 


FROM 18=51 7"0 7""H£ PRESENT TIME. 

" Now is the time to prepare for a great Exhibition — an Exhibition 
worthy of the greatness of this country, not merely national in its scope 
and benefits, but comprehensive of the whole world ; and I offer myself 
to the public as their leader, if they are willing to assist in the under- 


Lady's Escritoirk. 

In White Wood, Carved with Rustic Figures. Designed and Manufactured by M. Wettli, Berne, Switzerland. 
1851 Exhibition, London. 

To Mr. (afterwards Sir) Joseph Paxton, then head gardener to the 
Duke of Devonshire, the general idea of the famous glass and iron building 
is due. An enterprising firm of contractors, Messrs. Fox and Henderson, 
were entrusted with the work ; a guarantee fund of some £230,000 was 
raised by public subscriptions ; and the great Exhibition was opened by 
Queen Victoria on the 1st of May, 185 1. At a civic banquet in honor of 


the event, the Prince Consort very aptly described the object of the great 
experiment: — "The Exhibition of 1851 would afford a true test of the 
point of development at which the whole of mankind had arrived in this 
great task, and a new starting point from which all nations would be 
able to direct their further exertions." 

The number of exhibitors was some 17,000, of whom over 3,000 
received prize and council medals ; and the official catalogue, compiled by 
Mr. Scott Russell, the secretary, contains a great many particulars which 
are instructive reading, when we compare the work of many of the firms 
of manufacturers, whose exhibits are therein described, with their work of 
the present day. 

The Art Journal published a special volume, entitled "The Art 
Journal Illustrated Catalogue," with woodcuts of the more important 
exhibits, and, by the courtesy of the proprietors, a small selection is 
reproduced, which will give the reader an idea of the design of furniture, 
both in England and the chief Continental industrial centres at that time. 

They have been selected as being fairly representative of the work of 
the time, and not on account of their own intrinsic excellence. 

With regard to the exhibits of English firms, of which these illustra- 
tions include examples, little requires to be said, in addition to the 
remarks already made in the preceding chapter, of their work previous 
to the Exhibition. One of the illustrations, however, may in passing be 
further alluded to, since the changes in form and character of the 
Pianoforte is of some importance in the consideration .of the design of 
furniture. Messrs. Broadwood's Grand Pianoforte (illustrated) was a rich 
example of decorative woodwork in ebony and gold, and may be compared 
with the illustration on page 172 of a harpsichord, which the Piano had 
replaced about 1767; and this supplies evidence of the increased attention 
devoted to decorative furniture at and since the time of the 185 1 
Exhibition. In the Appendix will be found a short notice of the different 
phases through which the ever-present piano has passed, from the virginal, 
or spinette — of which an illustration will be found in "A Sixteenth 
Century Room" in Chapter III. — down to the latest development of the 
decoration of the case of the instrument by leading artists of the present 
day. Mr. Algernon Rose, of Messrs. Broadwood, whose firm was 
established at their present address in 1732, has been good enough to 
supply the author with the particulars for this notice. 

It will be seen from the illustrations of these exhibits that, so far as 
figure carving and composition are concerned, our foreign rivals, the 
Italians, Belgians, Austrians, and French, were far ahead of us. In mere 
construction and excellence of work, we have ever been able to hold our 



own, and, so long as our designers have kept to beaten tracks, the effect 
is satisfactory. It is only when an attempt has been made to soar above 
the conventional, that the effort is not so successful. 

In looking over the list of exhibits, one finds evidence of the 
fickleness of fashions. The manufacture of decorative articles of furniture 
of papier-mache was then very extensive, and there are several specimens 
of this class of work executed, both by French and English firms. The 

Lady's Work Table and Screen. 
In Papier-mache. 1851 Exhibition, London. 

drawing-room of 1850 to i860 was apparently incomplete without 
occasional chairs, a screen with painted panel, a work table, or some 
small cabinet or casket of this decorative but somewhat flimsy material. 

The design and execution of mountings of cabinets in metal work, 
particularly of the highly-chased and gilt bronzes for the enrichment of 
meubles de luxe, was then, as it still to a great extent remains, the 
specialitc of the Parisian craftsman, and almost the only English exhibits 
of such work were those of foreigners who had settled amongst us. 

Amongst the latter was Monbro, a Frenchman, who established himself 
in Berners Street, London, and made furniture of an ornamental character 
in the style of his countrymen, reproducing the older designs of " Boule " 


Carved and Gilt Frame, Upholstered in Ruby Silk, Embroidered with 
the Royal Coat of Arms and the Prince of Wales' Plumes. 

Designed and Manufactured by M. Jancowski, York. 1851 Exhibition, 

LU (V 

2 I 


o a 


In Tulipwood, ornamented with Bronze, and inlaid ', 
with Porcelain. ; _ 

Manufactured by M. Gambs, St. Petersburg. .* 
1851 Exhibition. 



and marqueterie furniture. The present house of Mellier and Cie. are his 
successors, Mellier having been in his employ. The late Samson Wertheimer, 
father of Messrs. Charles and Asher Wertheimer, now so well known in the 
Art world, then in Greek Street, Soho, was steadily making a reputation 
by the excellence of the metal mountings of his own design and workman- 
ship, which he applied to caskets of French style. Furniture of a 
decorative character and of excellent quality was also made some forty 
years ago by Town and Emanuel, of Bond Street, and many of this firm's 

Casket of Ivoky. 

With Ormolu Mountings. Designed and Manufactured by M. Matifat, Paris. 

1851 Exhibition, London. 

" Old French *' tables and cabinets were so carefully finished with regard 
to style and detail, that, with the "tone" which time has given them, 
it is not always easy to distinguish them from the models from which 
they were taken. Toms was assistant to Town and Emanuel, and after- 
wards purchased and carried on the business of " Toms and Luscombe," 
a firm well known as manufacturers of excellent and expensive " French " 
furniture, until their retirement from business over twenty years ago. 

f_ "" 


In the Classic Style, inlaid with Ivory. Manufactured for the King of Sardinia by M. G. Capello, Turin. 
1851 Exhibition, London. 

In the Classic Style, inlaid with I\ 


Manufactured for the King of Sardinia by M. G. Capello, Turin. 
1S51 Exhibition, London. 



Webb, of Old Bond Street, succeeded by Annoot, and subsequently 
by Radley,* was a manufacturer of this class of furniture ; he employed a 
considerable number of workmen, and carried on a very successful business. 

The name of " Blake," too, is one that will be remembered by some 
of our older readers who were interested in marqueterie furniture of 
forty years ago. He made an inlaid centre table for the late Duke of 
Northumberland, from a design by Mr. C. P. Slocombe, of South Kensington 
Museum ; he also made excellent copies of Louis XIV. furniture. 

Cabinet of Ebony in the Renaissance Style. 
With Carnelions inserted. Litchfield and Radclyfte. 

The next International Exhibition held in London was in the year 
1862, and, though its success was somewhat impaired by the great 
calamity this country sustained in the death of the Prince Consort on 
14th December, 1861, and also by the breaking out of the Civil War in the 
United States of America, the exhibitors had increased from 17,000 in '51 
to some 29,000 in '62, the foreign entries being 16,456, as against 6,566. 

* The present firm is Radley, Robson and Mackay. 


Exhibitions of a National and International character had also been 
held in many of the Continental capitals. There was in 1855 a successful 
one in Paris, which was followed by one still greater in 1S67, and, as 
every one knows, they have been lately of almost annual occurrence in 
various countries, affording the enterprising manufacturer better and more 
frequent opportunities of placing his productions before the public, and 
of teaching both producer and consumer to appreciate and profit by every 
improvement in taste, and by the greater demand for artistic objects. 

The few illustrations from these more recent Exhibitions of 1862 
and 1867 deserve a passing notice. The cabinet of carved ebony with 
enrichments of carnelion and other richly -colored minerals (illustrated on 
previous page), was made by the firm in which the author's father was senior 
partner; it received a good deal of notice, and was purchased by William, 
third Earl of Craven, a well-known virtuoso of some forty years ago. 

The work of Fourdinois, of Paris, has already been alluded to, and 
in the 1867 Exhibition his furniture acquired a still higher reputation for 
good taste and attention to detail. The full page illustration of a cabinet 
of ebony, with carvings of boxwood, represents a remarkably rich piece of 
work of its kind ; the effect is produced by carving the boxwood figures 
and ornamental scroll work in separate pieces, and then inserting these 
bodily into the ebony. By this means the more intricate work is able to 
be more carefully executed, and the close grain and rich tint of Turkey 
boxwood (perhaps next to ivory the best medium for rendering fine carving) 
tells out in relief against the ebony of which the body of the cabinet is 
constructed. This excellent example of modern cabinet work by Four- 
dinois was purchased for the South Kensington Museum for £1,200, 
and no one who has a knowledge of the cost of executing minute carved 
work in boxwood and ebony, will consider the price excessive. 

The house of Fourdinois no longer exists ; the names of the foremost 
makers of French meubles dc luxe, in Paris, of this time were Beurdely, 
Dasson, Roux, Sormani, Durand, and Zwiener. Some mention has already 
been made of Zwiener, as the maker of a famous bureau in the Hertford 
Collection,* and a sideboard exhibited by Durand in the '51 Exhibition is 
amongst the illustrations selected as representative of cabinet work at that time. 

The illustration of Wright and Mansfield's satinwood cabinet, with 
Wedgwood plaques inserted, and with wreaths and swags of marqueterie 
inlaid, is in the Adams style, a class of design of which this firm 
made a speciality Both Wright and Mansfield had been assistants 
at Jackson and Graham's, and after a short term in Great Portland 
Street, they removed to Bond Street, and carried on a successful 
business of a high class and somewhat exclusive character, until their 

* This Collection, now better known as the Wallace Collection, has been bequeathed to the Nation. 


Designed and Manufactured by M. Fourdinois, Paris. 1867 Exhibition, Paris- 
(Purchased by S. Kensington Museum for £1,200.) 


With Wedgwood plaques and inlay of various woods in the Adams style. 

Designed and Manufactured by Messrs. Wright & Mansfield, London. 
1867 Exhibition, Paris. 

(Purchased by the South Kensington Museum.) 

__ ,T,.^, W|1 | S1 i;rii:'|jiii«|lJii' 


In the Style of Italian Renaissance by Andrea Ticci 
Exhibited Paris, 1867. 


Note.— A marked similarity in this design to that of a 17th Century cabinet 
illustrated in the Italian section of Chapter hi., will be observed 



retirement some years ago. This cabinet was exhibited in Paris in 
1867, and was purchased by our South Kensington authorities. Perhaps 
it is not generally known that- a grant is made to the Department for the 
purchase of suitable specimens of furniture and woodwork for the Museum. 
This expenditure is made with great care and discrimination. It may be 
observed here that the South Kensington Museum, which was founded in 
1851, was, at the time of which we are writing, playing an important 
part in the Art education of the country. The literature of the day 
also contributed many useful works of instruction and reference for the 
designer of furniture and woodwork. 

The work of Mr. Bruce J. Talbert deserves mention here, and should 
not have been omitted in the first edition. His designs for furniture, 
conceived on the basis of modified Gothic, adapted to modern require- 
ments, were appreciated by a considerable following ; and the dining room 
and library furniture especially, made from his drawings, stand the test of 
time. He published a book of designs in 186S, entitled " Gothic Forms 
applied to Furniture, Metal Work, and Decoration for Domestic Purposes," 
and, subsequently, in 1876, " Examples of Ancient and Modern Furniture. 
Tapestries, Metal Work, Decoration, &c." In this latter work he re- 
produced several of his drawings, which had been exhibited in the Royal 
Academy in 1870 and five following years; and he compiled a reference 
table of the dates when the various periods of architecture came in. 
with marginal notes, which will be found very useful to the reader in 
connection with our subject. We have, by permission of Mr. Talbert's 
publisher (Mr. Batsford, of Holborn), been able to give here a full-page 
illustration of part of a design for a dining room, from his Academy 
drawing of 1870, which will convey a fair idea of the character of his 
work. Talbert made designs for furniture exhibited in Paris in 1867, 
one of which, that of a Sideboard, made by Gillows, was purchased for 
the South Kensington Museum. Shortly before his death he turned his 
attention to Renaissance designs. 

One noticeable feature of modern design in furniture, is the revival 
of marquetry. Like all mosaic work, to which branch of Industrial Art 
it properly belongs, this kind of decoration should be quite subordinate 
to the general design : but, with a rage for novelty which seized public 
attention some forty years ago, it developed into the production of all 
kinds of fantastic patterns in different veneers. A kind of minute mosaic 
work in wood, which was called " Tunbridge Wells work,*' became 
fashionable for small articles. Within the last twenty-five years, the 
reproductions of what is termed " Chippendale," and also of Adam, and 
Sheraton, designs in marqueterie furniture, have been manufactured to 
an enormous extent. Partly on account of the difficulty in obtaining the 


richly-marked and figured old mahogany and satin-wood, of a hundred years 
ago, which needed little or no inlay as ornament, and partly to meet the 
public fancy, by covering up bad construction with veneers of marquetry 
decoration, a great deal more inlay has been given to these reproductions 
than ever appeared in the original work of the eighteenth century cabinet 
makers. Simplicity was sacrificed, and veneers, thus used and abused, 
came to be a term of contempt, implying sham or superficial ornament. 
Dickens, in one of his novels, has introduced the " Veneer ? " family, thus 
stamping the term more strongly on the popular imagination. 

The method now practised in using marquetry to decorate furniture 
is very similar to the one explained in the- description of " Boule "' furniture 
given in Chapter VI., except that instead of shell, the marquetry cutter 
uses the veneer, which he intends to be the groundwork of his design, and 
as in some cases these veneers are cut to the thickness of -^ of an inch, 
several layers can be sawn through at once. Sometimes, instead of using 
so man}- different kinds of wood, when a polychromatic effect is required, 
holly wood and sycamore are stained different colors, and the marquetry 
thus prepared, is glued on to the bod} - of the furniture, and subsequently 
prepared, engraved, and polished. 

This kind of work is done to a great extent in England, but still 
more extensively and elaborately in France and Italy, where ivory and 
brass, marble, and other materials are also used to enrich the effect. 
This effect is either satisfactory or the reverse, according as the work is 
well or ill-considered and executed. 

It must be obvious, too, that in the production of marquetry the 
processes are obtainable by machinery, which saves labour and cheapens 
productions of the commoner kinds ; this tends to produce a decorative 
effect which is often inappropriate and superabundant. 

Perhaps it is allowable to add here that marquetry, or marqueterie, its 
French equivalent, is the more modern survival of " Tarsia " work, to 
which allusion has been made in previous chapters. Webster defines 
the word as " Work inlaid with pieces of wood, shells, ivory, and the 
like," derived from the French word marqueter, to checker, and marque (a 
sign), of German origin. It is distinguished from parquetry (which is 
derived from "pare," an enclosure, of which it is a diminutive), and 
signifies a kind of joinery in geometrical patterns, generally used for 
flooring. When, however, the marquetry assumes geometrical patterns 
(frequently a number of cubes shaded in perspective), the design is often 
termed in Art catalogues a "parquetry" design. 

In considering the design and manufacture of furniture of the present 
day, as compared with that of, say, a hundred years ago, there are 


two or three main factors to be taken into account. Of these the most 
important is the enormously increased demand, by the multiplication of 
purchasers, for some classes of furniture, which formerly had but a 
limited sale. This enables machinery to be used to advantage in 
economising labour, and therefore one finds in the so-called " Queen Anne " 
and " Jacobean " cabinet work of the well-furnished house of the present 
time, rather too prominent evidence of the lathe and the steam plane. 
Mouldings are machined by the length, then cut into cornices, mitred 
round panels, or affixed to the edge of a plain slab of wood, giving 
it the effect of carving. The everlasting spindle, turning rapidly by the 
lathe, is introduced with wearisome redundance, to ornament the 
stretcher and the edge of a shelf; the busy fret or band-saw produces 
fanciful patterns which form a cheap enrichment when applied to a 
drawer-front, a panel, or a frieze ; and carving machines can copy any 
design, which a century ago were the careful and painstaking result of 
a practised craftsman's skill. 

Again, as the manufacture of furniture is now chiefly carried on in 
large factories, both in England and on the Continent, the sub-division 
of labour causes the article to pass through different hands, in successive 
stages, and the wholesale manufacture of furniture by steam, has taken 
the place of the personal supervision by the master's eye, of the task 
of the few men who were in the old days the occupants of his workshop. 
As a writer on the subject has well said, " the chisel and the knife are no 
longer in such cases controlled by the sensitive touch of the human hand." 
In connection with this we are reminded of Ruskin's precept that " the 
first condition of a work of Art is that it should be conceived and carried 
out by one person." 

Instead of the carved ornament being the outcome of the artist's 
educated taste, which places on the article the stamp of individuality— 
instead of the furniture being, as it was in the seventeenth century in 
England, and some hundred years earlier in Italy and in Erance, the 
craftsman's pride — it is now the result of the rapid multiplication of some 
pattern which had caught the popular fancy, generally a design in which 
there is a good deal of decorative effect, for a comparatively small price. 

The difficulty of altering this unsatisfactory state of things is evident. 
On the one side, the manufacturers or the large furnishing Arms have a 
strong case in their contention, that the public will go to the market 
it considers the best : and when decoration is pitted against simplicity, 
though the construction which accompanies the former be ever so faulty, 
the more pretentious article will be selected. When a successful pattern 
has- been produced, and arrangements and sub-contracts have been made 


for its repetition in large quantities, any considerable variation made in 
the details (even if it be the suppression of ornament) will cause an 
addition to the cost which those only who understand something of a 
manufacturer's business can appreciate. 

During the present generation an Art movement has sprung up called 
.Estheticism, which has been defined as the " Science of the Beautiful 
and the Philosophy of the Fine Arts," and aims at carrying a love of the 
beautiful into all the relations of life. The fantastical developments which 
accompanied the movement brought its devotees into much ridicule about 
twenty years ago, and the pages of Punch of that time will be found to 
happily travesty its more amusing and extravagant aspects. The great 
success of Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta, " Patience,'* produced in 1881, 
was also to some extent due to the humorous allusions to the 
extravagance of the " .Esthetes." In support of what may be termed a 
higher yEstheticism, Mr. Ruskin has written much to give expression to 
his ideas and principles for rendering our surroundings more beautiful. The 
names of the late Sir Frederic Leighton and of Sir Alma Tadema are 
conspicuous amongst those who have in their houses carried such principles 
into effect, and among others who have been and are, more or less, 
associated with this movement, may be named Rossetti. Burne Jones, 
Holman Hunt, and William Morris. As a writer on .Estheticism has 
observed : — " When the extravagances attending the movement have been 
purged away, there may be still left an educating influence, which will impress 
the lofty and undying principles of Art upon the minds of the people." 

For a time, in spite of ridicule, this so-called Tistheticism was the 
vogue, and considerably affected the design and decoration of furniture 
of the time. Woodwork was painted olive green : the panels of cabinets, 
painted in sombre colors, had pictures of sad-looking maidens, and 
there was an attempt at a "dim religious" effect in our rooms, quite 
inappropriate to such a climate as that of England. The reaction, 
however, from the garish and ill-considered colorings of a previous decade 
or two, has left behind it much good, and with the catholicity of taste 
which marks the furniture of the present day, people see some merit 
in every style, and are endeavouring to select that which is desirable 
without running to the extreme of eccentricity. 

Perhaps the advantage thus gained is counterbalanced by the loss 
of our old '" traditions," for amongst the wilderness of reproductions 
of French furniture, more or less frivolous — of Chippendale, as that 
master is generally understood — of what is termed "Jacobean" and 
" Queen Anne " — to say nothing of a quantity of so-called " antique 
furniture," we are bewildered in attempting to identify the latter end 


of the nineteenth century with any particular style of furniture. By 
" tradition " it is intended to allude to the old-fashioned manner of handing 
down from father to son, or master to apprentice, for successive generations, 
the knowledge and skill to produce any particular class of object of Art 
or manufacture. Surely Ruskin had something of this in his mind when 
he said, " Now, when the powers of fancy, stimulated by this triumphant 
precision of manual dexterity, descend from generation to generation, you 
have at last what is not so much a trained artist, as a new species of 
animal, with whose instinctive gifts you have no chance of contending." 

Tradition may be said to still survive in the country cartwright, 
who produces the farmer's wagon in accordance with custom and 
tradition, modifying the method of construction somewhat perhaps to 
meet altered conditions of circumstances, and then ornamenting his work 
by no particular set design or rule, but partly from inherited aptitude 
and partly from playfulness or fancy. In the house-carpenter attached 
to some of our old English family estates, there will also be found, here 
and there, surviving representatives of the traditional " joyner " of the 
seventeenth century ; and in Eastern countries, particularly in Japan, we 
find the dexterous joiner or carver of to-day is a descendant of a long 
line of more or less excellent mechanics. 

It must be obvious, too, that "Trade Unionism" of the present 
day cannot but be, in many of its effects, prejudicial to the industrial 
Arts. A movement which aims at reducing men of different intelligence 
and ability to a common standard, and which controls the amount of 
work done, and the price paid for it, whatever are its social or economical 
advantages, must have a deleterious influence upon the Art products of 
our time. 

Writers on Art and manufactures, of varying eminence and opinion, 
are unanimous in pointing out the serious drawbacks to progress which will 
exist, so long as there is a demand for cheap and meretricious imitations 
of old furniture, as opposed to more simply made articles, designed in 
accordance with the purposes for which they are intended. Within the 
past few years a great many well directed endeavours have been made 
in England to improve design in furniture, and to revive something of 
the feeling of pride and ambition in his craft, which, in the old days 
of the Trade Guilds, animated our Jacobean joiner. One of the best 
directed of these enterprises is that of the " Arts and Crafts Exhibition 
Society," of which Mr. Walter Crane, A.R.W.S., is president, and which 
includes, in its committee and supporters, a great many influential names. 
As suggested on the " cover " of their Exhibition Catalogue, designed by 


and Handicraft." by exhibiting only such articles as bear the names of 
individuals who. respectively, drew the design and carried it out : each 
craftsman has thus the credit and responsibility of his own part of the 
work, instead of the whole appearing as the production of Messrs. A. 13. 
or C. 1)., who may have known nothing personally of the matter beyond 
generally directing the affairs of a large manufacturing or furnishing 

In the catalogue published by this Society there are several short 
and useful essays in which furniture is treated, generally and specifically, 
by capable writers, amongst whom are Mr. Walter Crane, Mr. Edward 
Prior. Mr. Halsey Ricardo, Mr. Reginald T. Blomfield, Mr. W. R. 
Letharby, Mr. J. H. Pollen, Mr. Stephen Webb, and Mr. T. G. Jackson. 
R.A.. the order of names being that in which the several essays are 
arranged. This small but valuable contribution to the subject of design 
and manufacture of furniture, is full of interest, and points out the defects of 
our present system. Amongst other regrets, one of the writers (Mr. Halsey 
Ricardo) complains that the "'transient tenure that most of us have in our 
dwellings, and the absorbing nature of the struggle that most of us have 
to make to win the necessarv provisions of lite, prevent our encouraging 
the manufacture of well wrought furniture. We mean to outgrow our 
houses — our lease expires after so many years, and then we shall want 
an entirely different class of furniture — consequently we purchase articles 
that have only sufficient life in them to last the brief period of our 
occupation, and are content to abide by the want of appropriateness or 
beauty, in the clear intention of some day surrounding ourselves with 
objects that shall be joys to us for the remainder of our life." 

The School of Art Woodcarving at South Kensington, which was 
established some twenty years ago at " the City and Guilds Institute," is 
also doing a useful and practical work. With a very moderate grant from 
the City Guilds and the use of free quarters, the School maintains 
itself, and is the means of educating, either free or at reduced terms, a 
great many students who go out into the world the better prepared 
to compete with their foreign rivals. The Committee of Management, 
under the presidency of Major-General Sir J. F. D. Donelly, K.C.B., is 
composed of artists and architects of note and others who not only give 
their moral support to the institution but bring some of their ornamental 
woodwork to the School for execution under their direction. 

The management of Miss Rowe* is evidence of the success which 
attends the effort of an intelligent and enthusiastic lady, and the 

* Miss Rowe, who has made some valuable contributions to the literature of Woodwork, has 
written hand-books for young woodcarvers, which are published under the sanction of the South 
Kensington authorities. 



instructors, Messrs. Grimwood and Ross, are practical carvers, who can 
not only correct but can design and cut the patterns set for their pupils. 
After the first year of probation the professional students receive a fair 
proportion of the value of their work, which is assessed by the instructors. 
It is by the maintenance of such technical schools, which with more 
or less success are now being started by our local authorities in different 

The Ellesmere Cabinet. 
In the collection of the late Lady Marian Alforc 5 . 

parts of England, that we can to some extent replace the advantages 

which the old system of apprenticeship gave to the learners of a craft. 

Many other societies, guilds, and Art schools have been established 

with more or less success, with a view of improving the design and 

manufacture of furniture, and providing suitable models for our young 


woodcarvers to copy. The Ellesmere Cabinet (illustrated on page 243) was 
one of the productions of the " Home Arts and Industries Association," 
founded in 18S3 by the late Lady Marian Alford, a well known connoisseur 
and Art patron. It will be seen that this is virtually a Jacobean design. 

In the earlier chapters of this book, it has been observed that 
as Architecture became a settled Art or Science, it was accompanied by 
a corresponding development in the design of the room and its furniture, 
under, as it were, one impulse of design, and this appropriate concord may 
be said to have obtained in England until nearly the middle of the last 
century, when, after the artificial Greek style in furniture and woodwork 
which had been attempted by Wilkins, Soane, and other contemporary 
architects, had fallen into disfavour, there was first a reaction, and then 
an interregnum, as has been noticed in the previous chapter. The 
Great Exhibition marked a fresh departure, and quickened, as we 
have seen, industrial enterprise in this country : and though, upon the 
whole, good results have been produced by the impetus given by 
these international competitions, they have not been exempt from 
unfavourable accompaniments. One of these was the eager desire for 
novelty, without the necessary judgment to discriminate between good and 
bad. For a time, nothing satisfied the purchaser of so-called " artistic " 
products, whether of decorative furniture, carpets, curtains, or merely 
ornamental articles, unless the design was " new." The natural result 
was the production either of heavy, or ugly, or flimsy and inappropriate 
furniture, which has been condemned by every competent writer on 
the subject. In some of the designs selected from the exhibits of '51 
this desire to leave the beaten track of conventionality will be evident ; 
and for a considerable time after the Exhibition, we can see, in our 
designs, the result of too many opportunities for imitation, acting upon 
minds insufficiently trained to exercise careful judgment and selection. 

About the early part of the nineteenth century, the custom of employing 
architects to design the interior fittings and the furniture of their 
buildings, so as to harmonize, appears to have been abandoned ; this was 
probably due, partly to some indifference to this subsidiary portion of their 
work, but also to the change of taste which led people to prefer the 
cheapness of painted and artificially grained pine-wood, with decorative 
effects produced by wall-papers, to the more solid but expensive though 
less show}- wood-panelling, architectural mouldings, well-made panelled 
doors and chimney pieces, which one finds, down to quite the end of the 
previous century, even in houses of moderate rentals. Furniture therefore 
became independent, and, " beginning to account herself an Art, trangressed 
her limits" . . and "grew to the conceit that it could stand bv itself, 


and, as well as its betters, went a way of its own."* The effect of this 
is to be seen in " interiors " of our own time which are handed over from 
the builder, as it were, in blank, to be filled up from the upholsterer's 
store, the curiosity shop, and the auction room, while a large contribution 
from the conservatory or the nearest florist, gives a finishing touch to a 
mixture, which characterises the present taste for furnishing a boudoir or 
a drawing room. 

There is, of course, in very many cases, an individuality gained by 
the " omnium gatherum " of such a mode of furnishing. The cabinet which 
reminds its owner of a tour in Italy, the quaint stool from Tangier, and 
the embroidered piano-cover from Spain, are to those who are in the 
habit of travelling, pleasant souvenirs ; as are also the presents from 
friends (when they have taste and judgment), the screens and flower-stands 
and the photographs, which are reminiscences of the forms and faces 
separated from us by distance or removed by death. The test of the 
whole question of such an arrangement of furniture in our living rooms, 
is the amount of judgment and discretion displayed. Two favourable 
examples of the present fashion, representing the interior of the Saloon 
and Drawing Room at Sandringham House, are here reproduced. 

There is at the present time an ambition on the part of many 

well-to-do persons to imitate the effect produced in houses of old families, 

where, for generations, valuable and memorable articles of decorative 

furniture have been accumulated, just as pictures, plate and china have 

been preserved ; and failing the inheritance of such household gods, it is 

the practice to acquire, or as the modern term goes, " to collect," old 

furniture of different styles and periods, until the room becomes incongruous 

and overcrowded, an evidence of the wealth, rather than of the taste, of 

the owner. As it frequently happens that such collections are made very 

hastily, and in the brief intervals of a busy commercial or political 

life, the selections are not the best or most suitable ; and where so 

much is required in a short space of time, it becomes impossible to 

devote a sufficient sum of money to procure really valuable specimens ; 

in their place, effective and low-priced reproductions of an old pattern 

(with all the faults inseparable from such conditions) are added to the 

conglomeration of articles requiring attention, and taking up space. The 

limited accommodation of houses built on ground which is too valuable to 

allow spacious halls and large apartments, makes this want of discretion 

and judgment the more objectionable. There can be no doubt that want 

of care and restraint in the selection of furniture, by the purchasing 

public, affects its character, both as to design and workmanship. 

* Essay by Mr. Edward S. Prior, " Of Furniture and the Room." 


These are some of the faults in the modern style of furnishing, 
which have been pointed out by recent writers and lecturers on the 
subject. In " Hints on Household Taste,"* Mr. Eastlake has scolded us 
severely for running after novelties and fashions, instead of cultivating 
suitability and simplicity, in the selection and ordering of our furniture ; 
and he has contrasted descriptions and drawings of well designed and 
constructed pieces of furniture of the Jacobean period with those of last 
century's productions. Col. Robert Edis, in " Decoration and Furniture 
of Town Houses," has published designs which are both simple and 
economical, with regard to space and money, while suitable to the specified 
purpose of the furniture or " fitment." 

The ruling principle in the majority of these designs has been to 
avoid over-ornamentation, and pretentions to display, and to encourage good 
solid work, in hard, durable, and (on account of the increased labour) 
expensive woods, or, when economy is required, in light soft woods, 
painted or enamelled. Some manufacturing firms, whose high reputation 
renders them independent of any recommendation, have adopted this 
principle, and, as a result, there is now no difficulty in obtaining well 
designed and soundly well constructed furniture, which is simple, unpre- 
tentious, and worth the price charged for it. Unfortunately for the 
complete success of these sounder principles, really good and appropriate 
furniture meets with a fierce competition from more showy and ornate 
productions, made to sell rather than to last : furniture which seems to 
have upon it the stamp of our " three years' agreement," or " seven years' 
lease." Of this it may be said, speaking not only from an artistic, but 
from a moral and humane standpoint, it is made so cheaply, that it seems 
a pit)' it is made at all. 

A revival in taste, which has been not inappropriately termed " The 
New Renaissance," and has produced many excellent results, has been 
brought about by several well-known architects and designers. Mr. Street, 
R.A. ; Messrs. Norman Shaw, R.A. ; Waterhouse, R.A. ; Sir Alma Tadema, 
R.A. ; T. G. Jackson, R.A. ; W. Burges, R.A. ; Walter Crane, Thomas 
Cutler, E. W. Godwin, W. Morris, B. J. Talbert, S. Webb, and many 
others, have devoted a considerable amount of attention to the design of 
furniture ; but it is scarcely within the writer's province to attempt a 
description of the character of their respective work. 

The " Trade " Journals, too, have contributed their influence by 
publishing drawings of work completed, suggestions for their readers 
to carry out, and also by illustrated notices of the different exhibitions 
which take place from time to time. 

* Published in 1868, when the craze for novelties was at its height. 


The " Cabinet Maker and Art Furnisher," edited by Mr. J. Williams 
Benri, M .P., L.C.C., contains " Pen and Ink Notes by the Editor," which 
should be useful, as they are certainly instructive ; and a number of good 
designs are published month by month, in " Furniture and Decoration."' 
These are contributed by J. W. Bliss, R. A. Briggs, A.R.LB.A., H. L. 
Chalmers, Owen W. Davis, Lewis F. Day, Edwin Foley, Christopher 
Gill, Bertram Goodhue, Ernest George and Peto, A. Jonquet, Felix 
Lenoir, Letharby, Wilbert Rattray, Stenhouse, John Turner, Frank Ward, 
A. H. Wolf, and the editors themselves — Timms and Webb. 

In the " American Sketches " published in this Journal, we see the 
kind of work which is being designed and carried out in the United 
States. Designs of furniture and interior fittings of the houses of 
American millionaires, drawn by Cauffmann ; Frank Colburn, of Morristown, 
New Jersey ; Sanford Phipps, and James Thompson, of Boston ; Ross and 
Marvin, of New York, shew that there is no distinctive American style, 
but that the revival in taste, which has been alluded to in England, has 
found its way to America, and from the number of articles of furniture 
still called after Mr. Eastlake, it is evident that the teachings of that 
gentleman had considerable effect. The " Furniture Gazette," " The 
Builder," and " Building News " also publish designs of furniture and 

The disadvantages, inseparable from our present state of society, 
which we have noticed as prejudicial to English design and workmanship, 
and which check the production of really satisfactory furniture, are 
also to be observed in other countries ; and as the English, and 
English-speaking people, are probably the largest purchasers of foreign 
manufactures, these disadvantages act and re-act on the furniture of 
different nations. 

In France, the cabinet maker has ever excelled in the production 
of ornamental furniture ; and by constant reference to older specimens 
in the Museums and Palaces of his country, he is far better acquainted 
with what may be called the traditions of his craft than his English 
brother. To him the styles of Francois Premier, of Henri Deux, and 
the " three Louis " are " classic," and in the beautiful chasing and 
finishing of the mounts with which the French bronziste ornaments 
the best meubles de luxe, it is almost impossible to surpass his best efforts, 
provided the requisite price be paid; but these amounts are, in many 
cases, so considerable as hardly to be credible to those who have but 
little knowledge of the subject. As a simple instance, the "copy" of 
the " Bureau du Louvre " (described in Chapter vi.) in the Hertford House 
collection, cost the late Sir Richard Wallace a sum of £4,000. 



As, however, in France, and in countries which import French 
furniture, there are many who desire to obtain the effect of this 


Carved Frame, by Radspieler, Munich. 


beautiful but expensive furniture, but are unable to spend several thousand 
pounds in the decoration of a single room. To meet this demand, the 
industrious and ingenious Frenchman manufactures vast quantities of 
furniture which affects, without attaining, the merits of the better made 
and more highly finished articles. 

In Holland, Belgium, and Germany, as has already been pointed 
out, the manufacturer of ornamental oak furniture, on the lines of the 
Renaissance models, still prevails, and such furniture is largely imported 
into this country. 

The illustration of a carved frame in the rococo style of Chippendale 
with a Chinaman in a canopy, represents an important school of wood- 
carving which has been developed in Munich ; and in the " Kiinst 
Gewerberein," or " Workman's Exhibition," in that city; the Bavarians 
have a very similar arrangement to that of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition 
Society of this country, of which mention has already been made, each 
article being labelled with the name of the designer and maker. 

Italian carved furniture of modern times has already been noticed ; 
and in the selections made from the 185 1 Exhibition, some productions of 
different countries have been illustrated, which tend to shew that, speaking 
generally, the furniture most suitable for display is produced abroad, 
while none can excel English cabinet makers in the production of useful 
furniture and woodwork, when it is the result of design and handicraft, 
unfettered by the detrimental, but too popular, condition that the article 
when finished shall appear to be more costly than it really is. 

In conclusion, it seems evident that, with all the faults and 
shortcomings of the latter part of the nineteenth century — and no doubt 
they were many, both of commission and of omission — still, speaking 
generally, there was no lack of men with ability to design, and no want of 
well trained patient craftsmen to produce, furniture which would equal the 
finest examples of the Renaissance and Jacobean periods. With the 
improved means of inter-communication between England and her Colonies, 
and with the chief industrial centres of Europe united for the purposes 
of commerce, the whole civilised world is, as it were, one kingdom : 
merchants and manufacturers can select the best and most suitable 
materials, can obtain photographs or drawings of the most distant 
examples, or copies of the most expensive designs, while the public Art 
Libraries of London, and Paris, contain valuable works of reference, 
which are easily accessible to the student or to the workman. It is very 
pleasant to bear testimony to the courtesy and assistance which the 
student or workman invariab 
our public reference libraries. 


There needs, however, an important condition to be taken into 
account. Good work, requiring educated thought to design, and skilled 
labour to produce, must be paid for at a very different rate to the 
furniture of machined mouldings, stamped ornament, and other numerous 
and inexpensive substitutes for handwork, which our present civilization 
has enabled our manufacturers to produce, and which, for the present, 
seems to find favour with the multitude. It has been well said that 
" Decorated or sumptuous furniture is not merely furniture that is 
expensive to buy, but that which has been elaborated with much thought, 
knowledge, and skill. Such furniture cannot be cheap certainly, but 
the real cost is sometimes borne by the artist who produces, rather than by 
the man who may happen to buy it."* It is often forgotten that the price 
paid is that of the lives and health of the workers and their families. 
* * * * * 

A point has now been reached at which our task must be brought to 
its natural conclusion ; for although many collectors and others interested 
in the subject, have invited the writer's attention to numerous descriptions 
and examples, from an examination of which much information could, 
without doubt, be obtained, still, the exigencies of a busy life, and the 
limits of a single volume of moderate dimensions, forbid the attempt to 
add to a story which, it is feared, may perhaps have already overtaxed 
the reader's patience. 

As has already been suggested in the preface, this book is not intended 
to be a guide to "collecting," or "furnishing"; nevertheless, it is possible 
that, in the course of recording some of the changes which have taken 
place in designs and fashions, and of bringing into notice, here and there, 
the opinions of those who have thought and written upon the subject, 
some indirect assistance may have been given in both these directions. 
If this should be the case, and if an increased interest has been thereby 
excited in the surroundings of the Home, or in some of those Art 
collections — the work of by-gone years — which form part of our National 
property, the writer's aim and object will have been attained, and his 
humble efforts amply rewarded. 

* Essay on "Decorated Furniture," by J- H. Pollen 


The following List of the Names of some Artists and Manufacturers 
of past times, in alphabetical order, will be useful for reference. 
The Author is indebted to Mr. J. Hungerford Pollen for some 
additions to his list in "Ancient and Modern Furniture" (published 
in 1874). The names of existing firms are not included, partly on 
account of the large number who might fairly claim a place 
amongst the makers of furniture of the present time, and partly 
because any selection of names by a contemporary would appear 
to be invidious and arbitrary : — 

Names of Artists or 

Country and time in w 


Remarks and References. 





Adam, J. (and R.) . 




Chapter vii. 

Agnolo, B. d' 




Architect who designed much 
intarsia work, also carved 
church work. 

Agnolo, D. d' 

16th century 

Son of above. 

Agnolo, J. d' 





Ambrogio, G. 



Annoot, — 




Chapter ix., p. 235 (French 

Executed carvings in the roof 

Ards, W. 



of Hotel de Ville, Malines. 

Arm and, Jean 




Asinelis, A. . 



Aubiche, Jacques d' 

Bachelier, — . 



: ' 

Faubourg, Ste. Antoine. 


1 6th century 

Baerze, J. de . 




Carved figure work, preserved 
in Museum of Dijon. 

Baker, — ■ 


1 8th 


Flower painter. 

Balthazar, Lieuiand 



Barili, A. 




Carved woodwork for Cathe- 
dral of Siena. 

Barili, G. (Florence) 




Carved doors in the Vatican. 

Barili, S. 



Carved work for Cathedral of 

Barry, Sir Charles (archi- 



, ; 

Chapter viii., woodwork of 


Houses of Parliament. 



Names of Artists or 

Country an 


i time in which 

Remarks and References. 

Baumgartner, U. . 


17th century 

Made the celebrated Pome- 
ranian Art Cabinet in Berlin 

Beaugreant, G. de . 



One of the designers of the 
chimney-piece at Bruges, see 
p. 63. 

Beck, S. 



Belli, A. A. . 


,, ,, 

Belli, G. 


,, ,, 

Beneman, G. . 


18th „ 

" Maitre ebeniste " in 1785, 
worked at Fontainebleau. 

Berain, J. 


1636-171 1 

Chapter vi., designed for Boule. 

Bergamo, D. da 



Intarsia work in Church of S. 
Dominic in Bologno. 

Bergamo, S. da 


16th century 

Brother and assistant. 

Bernardo, — . 


,, ,, 

Berruguete, — 



Chapter iii. (Spanish section), 
pupil of M. Angelo. 

Bertolina, B. J. 


16th century 

Beyaert, J. 


15th ., 

Carvings in roof of Salle de 
Marriage, Hotel de Ville, 

Binson, Andrieu de 


1 8th 

Furniture and carriage decora- 
tor, worked in 1736. 

Blake, S. 



Marqueterie furniture (French 
style), p. 235. _ 

Blondeel, L. . 


1495- 1 560 

Designed the chimney-piece at 
Bruges, see p. 63. 

Bolgie, G. 


18th century 

Bonzanigo, G. M. . 


»> >) 

Borello, F. . 

, , 

ibth ,. 

Borgona, F. dc 


,, ,, 

Botto, B. 


,, ,, 

Famous wood carver. 

Botto, G. B. . 



Botto, P. 



Botto, S. A. . 


Boulle, A. c. ( ge ^; e s e elt ) 



Chapter vi. 

Boulle, P. 


17th century 

Born 16 19, premier ebeniste to 
Louis XIII. 

Bourdin, M. . 



Chapter iii., pp. 60, 63. 

Brandri, — 



An Italian, worked with Goletti 
at " Pietra Dura " under 

Brescia, R. da 



Bross, ■ — de . 



Bruggeman, H. 


15th „ 


Bruhl, A. 


16th and 17th 

Carved stalls of San Giorgio 


Maggiore in Venice. 

Brunelleschi, F. 



Brustolone, A. 

, ( 


Buontalenti, B. T. . 

16th century 



Names of Artists or 

Country and time in which 

Remarks and References 




Burb, — 


i 8th century 

Said to have worked for M. de 

Pompadour (Vernis Martin 



Caffieri, Ph. . 


17th and 

1 8th 

Chap. vi. (worked with Riese- 


ner) famous mounter. 

Campbell and Sons 


18th ceii 


Chapter vii., p. 198. 

Canabas, Joseph 




Made mechanical tables, Rue 
du fg. St. Antoine. 

Cano, A. 



Canavo, J. de . 


1 6th 

Canozii, C. 




Executed intarsia work in S. 
Marco, Venice. 

Canozii, G. M. 


• ) ' 

Carvers of church decorative 

Canozii, L. 


>, I 


Capitsoldi, — . 


1 8th 


Louis Seize style of furniture. 

Capo di Ferro, Brothers . 



Carlin, E. 



Stamped on table in Jones Col- 

Carlin, Martin 




Ebony with porcelain plaques, 
lac, and " Pietra Dura." 

Carlone, J. 



Carnicero, A. . 



J 75& 

Sculptor, carved in convent of 

Carter, — (architect) 


18th cer 


Chapter vii. 

Castelli, Q. . 


1 6th 


Cauner, — . 




Chapter vii. (frames in Louis 
XV. style). 

Cauvet, G. P. 


i 73 l - 


Ceracci, G. 


18th century 

Italian, modelled for R. Adam. 

Cervelliera, B. del . 




Chambers, Sir W. . 




Chapter vii., introduced 
Chinese style in furniture. 

Chippendale, T. 


18th century 

Chapter vii. 

Cipriani, G. B. 




Chapter vii., employed by 
Chambers and others to 
paint furniture. 

Claude, Charles S. 




Faubourg Ste. Antoine, 1752, 
good plain work with metal 

Claude, Lebesque . 



Worked in Paris, 1771. 

Cleyn, F. R. . 




Worked for Charles II. 

Coech, P. 



. , 

Chapter iii., p. 63. 

Coit, — . . 


1 8th 


Chaser of metal mounts. 

Collett, A. 



, , 

Chapter vii., carver. 

Collmann, L. W. . 




Chapter viii., p. 220. 

Copeland, — . 




Cosson, J. L. . 




Stamped on the table in Jones 

Cotte, J. de . 






Names of Artists or 

Country and time in which 

Remarks and References. 


they worked. 

Cotte, R. D. . 



Cotton, C 


1 8th century 

Couet, L. Jaques . 


" ) 

Rue de Bussy in 1774. 
Stamped on tables in Bethnal 

Cramer, M. G. 
Cressent, — • . 

Darly, Mathias 


" 1 

Green Musuem (Mainwaring 


1 8th century 

Chapter vii., p. 186, designer 

David, — (see Roentgen) 



Chapter vi., famous for mar- 

Davy, R. 


1 750- 1 794 

Wood carving, p. 198. 

Dello Delli - 

Italy 14th & 

1 5th centuries 

Deloose, — 


1 8th century 

Stamped on table in Jones 

Delorme, — . 
Denizot, — 



;; ;; , 

Stamped on table in Bethnal 
Green Museum (Mainwaring 

Dolen, — van 


18th century 

Carvings in Church of S. 
Gudule, Brussels. 

Donatello, — . 



Dorsient, A. C. ; C. Oc. 


10th century 

Signed on carved door in 
South Kensington Museum, 
dated 1580. 

Dowbiggin, — 


8th and 19th 

Chapter vii. and viii. (Gillow's 



Ducerean, A. . 



Dugar, E. 


16th century 


France late 

1 8th „ 

Designed for Beneman, Swerd- 
ficher, and others. 

Duplessis, — . 


,. ,, 

Famous mounter of furniture. 

Du Quefnoy, F. H. and J 

Ellanme, Jean C. . 


171I1 ., 


18th century 

Worked in Paris, 1754. 

Elliott, Charles 


J! >1 

Chapter vii., p. 198. 

Etienne, Avril 


Lived at the Rue Charenton in 
1774, good plain work with 


metal mounts. 

Faydherbe, L. (artist and 



Chapter iii. 


Feuchere, — (mounter) . 


1 8th century 

Chapter vi. 

Flaxman, — ■ . 

England and 

Chapter vii. 


,, ., 

Filipo, D. di . 


16th „ 

Fitzcook, H. . 



Chapter viii., designed for 

Florein, J. 



Floris, C. 


1 6th 

Chapter iii. 



Names of Artists or 

Country and time in which 
they worked. 

Remarks and References. 

Flotner, P. 

Forestier, — 

France, — 

Gabler, M. 
Gaine, — 
Galle, — 

Galletti, G. . 
Gallieux, — (mounter) 

Genfer, M. 
Gervasius, — . 
Gettich, P. 
Geuser, M. 
Gheel, F. van 
Gibbons, G. . 

Gillet, Louis . 
Gillow, R. 

Giovanni, Fra 
Glosencamp, H. 

Goletti, — . 

Goujon, J. 

Gouthiere, P. . 


Habermann, — 
Habert, — 

Haeghen, — van der 
Heckinger, J. 
Hedoin, J. B. 
Heinhofer, Ph. 

Germany 16th century 

France 18th ,, 













17th century 



1 8th „ 


1 8th ,, 


18th „ 
1 8th and 19th 

1 6th century 


16th „ 
1 8th „ 

France 18th century 

Italy i6thto 17th ,, 

Flanders 18th ,, 
Germany 17th ., 
France 18th ., 

,, 16th and 17th 


Designs for furniture in the 

Berlin Museum. 
Mounter of mahogany furniture. 
Chapters viii. and ix., exhibited 

'51, '67. 
Chapter vii., p. 198. 

Ebony, with metal and hard 

Stamped on tables in Jones 

Stamped on table, and on mar- 
quetry encoignures in the 
Duke of Westminster's Col- 

Chapter iv., worked for Charles 

Worked in Paris, 1776. 
Chapters vii., viii., ix. 

Chapter iii. (Bruges chimney- 

" Pietra Dura," worked under 

Sculptor, designed much furni- 

Chapter vi., born 1740, worked 
with Riesener, famous moun- 

Rococo or Pompadour style. 
Stamped on examples in 
Hamilton Palace Collection. 

Designed the celebrated Po- 
merian Art Cabinet in Berlin 



Names of Artists or 

Country and time in which 

Remarks and References. 


they worked. 

Helmont, — van . 


18th century 

Carved pulpits in St. John 
Baptist, Cologne. 

Henrieux, — . 


>? n 

Famous mounter. 

Hepplewhite, A. 


,! >> 

Chapter vii. 

Hernandez, G. 



Herring, — . 


19th century 

Chapter viii. 

Holbein, — . 

,, early 

1 6th 

Chapter (iii.) (English section). 

Holthausen, H. J. . 


1 8th ,, 

Stamped on table in Bethnal 
Green Museum (Mainwaring 

Holmes, W. . 



Chapter viii. (designer). 

Hool, J. B. van 


18th ,. 

Hope, T. (architect) 

,, early 


Chapter viii., classical style. 

Huet, — 


1 8th ,. 

Huygens — (lacquer) 

France & Holland 

Chapter vi. 


7th century 

Hyman, F. 


1 8th century 

Ince, W. 


18th century 

Chapter vii., contemporary with 

Jackson and Graham 


19th century 

Chapters viii. and ix., exhibited 

Jansen, G. 


18th ,. 

'5 1 - 
Stamped on table in Jones 

John of St. Omer (French- 



Court painter & house decora- 

man) . . . . 

tor to Henry III. 

John of Padua 


35th „ 

Chapter iii., employed by 
Henry VIII. 

Johnson, T. . . . 

1 8th ,. 

Chapter vii., p. 198. 

Jones, Inigo (architect) . 

., early 


Chapter iv. 

Juni, (J.D.) . . . 


16th and 17th 


Kampen, Lambert van 


16th century 

Carved the Chapter House 
panels in Minister, Westfalen 

Kauffmann, A. (artist) 



Chapter vii. (painted furniture) 

Kiskner, U. . 



Kraft, J. C. (architect) . 


1 8th ,, 

Chapter vii. 

Kuenlin, J. 




Ladetto, F. . 


1 8th century 

Lalonde, — 



Furniture with mechanical 
contrivances (Louis XVI.). 

Lardant, Jacques . 


1 6th ,, 

Chapter iii., p. 60. 




Names of Artists or 

Country anc 

time in which 

Remarks and References. 

Lathille, Pierre 


18th century 

Worked in Paris, 1737. 

Lawreans, — . 



Pupil of G. Gibbons (chapter 

Chapter vi., designed for Boule. 

Le Brun, — (artist) 



Lecreux, N. A. J. . 



Carved pulpits. 

Lelu, — 


18th century 

Chapter vi., stamped on speci- 
men in Jones Collection. 
Worked forMadameDuBarri. 

Le Moyne 


1 645-1718 

Leopardi, A. . 


I450-I5 2 5 

Le Pautre, J. . 



Le Roux, J. B. 


18th century 

Chimney-pieces and room 
decorations. Worked in 1777. 

Levasseur, — 



Chapter vi. 

Lieutand, — • . 


" " 

Stamped on specimens in col- 
lection " National Mobilier," 

Linnell, J. 


1 8th ,. 

Furniture in Chippendale style 

Lock, M. 



Chapter viii., carver and gilder, 
" Mobilier National," Paris. 

Loir, A. ... 



L'Orme, Ph. de . 


16th century 

Lunigia, A. da 



Mace, J. 


17th century 

; ' Menuisier en ebene," was 
lodged in the Louvre to 
work, in 1644. 

Claud, Isaac, Louis (?) 

sons of the above Mace 

Maffeis, P. di 



Maggiolino, — 


18th „ 

A Milanese cabinet maker 
(marquetry chests of drawers), 
contemporary with Riesener. 

Magister, O. . 


16th ,, 

Majano, B. da 


15th „ 

Coffer maker to Matthias Cor- 
vinus, King of Hungary. 

Majano, G. da 



Manwaring, Robert 


1 8th century 

Chair maker (chap, vii., p. 173). 

Magaritome, — 



Marot, D. 


1650- 1 700? 

Marot, G. 


17th century 

Marot, J. 



Martin, R. . . . 



Chapter vi., introduced Vernis- 

Martincourt, — 


1 8th century 

Bronze chaser. 

Mayhew, — . 



Chapter vii., contemporary 
with Chippendale. 

Meissonnier, J. A. . 



Introduced broken shell-shaped 
curves and the more rococo 
style of Louis XIV. to XV. 

2 5 8 


Names of Artists or 

Country and time in which 
they worked. 

Remarks and References. 

Mendeler, G. . 


17th century 

Meulen, R. van dcr 




Carved chimney-pieces (G. 
Gibbon's style). 

Miglionne, Ferdinand 


17th century 

Invited to France by Colbert. 

Filippo de 

Minore, G. 



Modena, P. da 



Chair of S. Francesco in Tre- 
visco in i486. 

Moenart, M. . 



Carved the stalls in St. James', 

Monbro, — 




Chapter ix., p. 233. 

Montepulciano, G. da 




Morand, de Pont de Vaux 


Stamped on a clock case at 
Versailles, with date 1706. 

Morant, — ... 




Chapter viii. 

Moser, L. . . . 


i 5 th 

Miiller, D. 



Muller, J. 



Nevvrone, G. C. 


1 6th cer 


Nilson, — ... 


1 8th 


Chapter vii., carver. 

Nys, L. de 


- ) 

Carved confessionals, work 

Nys, P. de 



, i 

dated 1768. 

Oeben, Jean Francis 


1 8th cei 


Chapter vi., stamped on secre- 
taire in Jones Collection. In 
1 75 1 ebenistes were bound to 
stamp their work. This 
Oeben died in 1765. 

Oeben, Simon (probably 




Called the "inventor" of cylin- 

son of the above) 

der secretaires. 

Oost, P. van . 



Oppen, Oorde Jean 

Holland and 18th 




Pacher, M. 


15th century 

Padova, Z. da 



Pafrat, — 


1 8th 

On tables in Jones Collection 
at Bethnal Green Museum. 

Panturmo, J. di 




Pardo, G. 


16th century 

Pareta, G. di . 




Passe, C. de . 


Chapter iii. 

Passe, C. de, the younger 


, , 


Chapter iii. 

Percier and Fontaine 


1 8th and 


Chapter viii., p. 205, Empire 






Names of Artists or 

Pergolesi, — (artist) 

Perreal, J. 

Pettitt (otherwise Petit) 

Philippon, A. . 
Picau, — 

PicqJ. . . . 

Piffetti, A. P. . 

Pigalle, — 
Pillon, G. 
Pinodo, — 

Pioniez, — 

Plumier, P. D. 
Poitou, Philiipe 
Porfirio, B. di 
Prignot, — 



Quellin, A. 

Quellin, A., the younger 

Quellin, E. 


Raephorst, B. van . 
Ramello, F. 
Ranson, — 
Rasch, A. 

Revitt, N. (architect) 
Richardson, George 
Richter, C. . 

Riesener, — 

Roentgen, D. (see also 

Rogers, H. . 

Rohan, J. de 
Rohan, J. de 
Rosch, J. 

Country and time in which 
they worked. 


i8lh century 





Flanders 17th ,, 
Italy 1 700- 1 777 

England 18th century 
France late 16th ,. 
Spain 18th ., 







i&th century 
1 6th 




17th century 

15th century 
1 6th 
15th „ 





Remarks and References, 

Chapter vii., employed by 
Robert Adam 

Stamped on specimens in Jones 
Collection and in Belhnal 
Green Museum, " 1761." 

Chapter vii., carver of frames 
(Louis XV. style). 

Furnished Royal Palace of 

Tusin (Boule style). 
French sculptor. 
Chapter iii. 
Signature on painted cabinet 

in Bethnal Green Museum. 
Stamped on secretaire in Jones 


' Ebeniste de France." 

Designed for Jackson and 

Furniture and ship decorator. 

Carver of church reredos in 1740 

Chapter iii. Chimney-piece in 
Palais de Justice, Bruges. 

Chapter vii. 

Chapter vii., p. 186. Designer. 

Stamped on cabinet in the 
Jones Collection. 

Born 1730. Chapter vi., ebe- 
niste to M. Antoinette, came 
from Gladbeck, near Cologne. 
Died in 1806. 

Chapter vi., contemporary with 
Riesener. Was living in 1780. 

Carved in boxwood, Chapter 

:( Maitre Menuisiers " of Lyons, 



Names of Artists or 

Country and time in which 
they worked. 

Remarks and References. 

Rossi, P. de . 

Italy 15th & 


Lady artist of Bologna, carved 
minute work on peach stones 

Rovezzano, B. da . 


1 6th century 

Employed by Cardinal Wolsey. 

Ruckera, Th. 


., ,, 

Chapter iii. (German section), 


steel chair, Longford Castle. 



1 8th century 

Saint, Antoine de . 


" )> 

Salambier, — . 


18th & 19th 

Designed room decorations, 


mirror frames, etc. 

Sangher, J. de 


17th century 

Schelden, P. van der 


16th „ 

Schwanhard, H. 


17th „ 

Invented the " Wavy " mould- 
ings used in Dutch and Ger- 
man furniture 

Seddon, Thomas 



Chapter viii., contemporary 
with early Gillow. 

Seddon, Thomas & George 


, , ,, 

Chapter viii., furnished Wind- 

(sons of above) . 

sor Castle. 

Serlius, S. 


1 6th 

Servellino, G. del . 



Shearer, — 


1 8th 

Chapter vii. 

Sheraton, Th. 


., ,, 

Chapter vii. 

Slocombe, P. . 



Chapter ix., p. 245, designer. 

Smet, R. de . 



Chapter iii. (Bruges chimney 

Smith, G. 



Chapter viii. (published book 
of designs). 

Snell, — ... 



Somer, Jacques 



Stewart, Jas. (architect) . 



Chapter vii. 

Stobre, Laurent 


17th ,, 

Stockel, Joseph 

. , 


Worked at Fontainebleau 

Stoss, V. 



Street, Sir G., R.A. 


19th century 

The New Law Courts (medi- 
aeval woodwork). 

Swan, Abraham (archi- 



Chapter vii. 

tect) .... 

Swerdficher, F. 


" " 

Made the jewel cabinet of 
M. Antoinette, now in the 
" Garde Meuble." 

Syrlin, J. 


15th „ 

Syrlin, J., the younger . 


15th and 1 6th 

Chap. iii. (choir stalls, Ulm 



Cathedral, 1462-1474). 

Taillebert, U. 


16th century 

Talbert, B. J. (architect) 



Chapter ix. Designed furniture 
in Gothic style. 

Tasso, D. 

Italy 15th l\: 

16th centr's. ) 

Known as w r ood carvers in 

Tasso, G. 

Florence. Worked from M. 

Tasso, G. B. . 

„ ,. 

!! !! 1 

Angelo's designs. 




Names of Artists or 

Country and time in which 

Remarks and References. 



r worked. 

Tasso, M. D. 


15th century 

Tatham, C. H. (architect) 



Designed interior decorations, 
&c, for the Duke of York. 

Taurini, R. 



Pupil of A. Durer (stalls of 
Milan Cathedral). 

Thomas, — (architect) . 


1 8th „ 

Chapter vii. 

Thomire, P. Ph. (moun- 


i75 I " l8 43 

Museum of " Mobilier Na- 


tional," Paris. 

Tolfo, G. 


16th century 

Toms and Luscombe 



Chapter ix., p. 235 (French 

Topino, G. 



On examples in Jones Collection 

Toro, — . 


1 8th 

Style of Boule (made for Palace 
of Versailles). 

Torrigiano, — 



Designed shrine of Henry VII. 
(Westminster Abbey). 

Toto, — . 


I33I-I35 1 

Town and Emanuel 


19th century 

Chapter xi., pp. 233-5 (French 


Travers, R. 



Worked in Paris, 1774. 

Trevigi, G. da 



Court painter and decorator to 
Henry VIII. 

Triard, J. B. . 


18th century 

Tuart, — . 


18th ,, 

Lacquer work. 


Uccello, P. . 



Ugliengo, C. . 


18th century 


Vasson, — . . . 


18th century 

A Mounter, or Bronziste. 

Venasca, G. P. 


1 8th 

Verbruggen, P. 



Chapter iii.| Carved church 

[ ornamental work. 

Verbruggen, P., the 



Chapter iii. Pulpit of Jesuits' 


) College, Antwerp. 

Verhaegen, Th. 


1 8th century 

Carved work in several Mechlin 

Vincenzo, Fra 


Worked at Verona (intarsia). 

Vion, — . . . 


18th century 

A Mounter, or Bronzister. 

Yoyers, — . . . 


18th „ 

Louis Seize style of furniture. 

Vriesse, V. de 



Chapter iii. 


Waldron, — . 


1 8th century 

Originally carver, afterwards 

Walker, H. . 


Watson, — . . . 


17th and 1 8th 

Chapter iv., pupil of G. Gibbons. 



19th century 

Chapter ix., p. 235. 


Names of Artists or 

Country and time in which 
they worked. 

Remarks and References. 

Wedgwood, Josiah 


1 8th century 

Chapter vii., introduced his 
plaques for furniture. 

Weinkopf, W. 



Worked in Nuremberg, temp. 
A. Durer. 

Wertheimer, S. 



Chapter ix., p. 233. 

Wilkinson, — 


,, ,, 

Chapter viii. 

Willemfens, L. 



William the Florentine . 


13th century 

Court painter and house de- 
corator to Henry III. 

Wilton, J. 


18th „ 

Employed by Sir W. Chambers. 

Wren, Sir C. . 

„ 1 6th to 

1 7th centuries 

Chapter iv. 

Wright and Mansfield 


igth century 

Adams style of furniture. 


Zabello, F. 


1 6th century 

Stalls in Cathedral of Bergamo. 

Zorn, G. 



Note — The Monogram "ME," branded on some of the old eighteenth century French 
cabinets, stands for " Menuisier Ebeniste," and generally accompanies the name or 
initials of the maker. 

Black Ebony. 
Brazil Wood. 



The following different kinds of wood are used in the manufacture of 

For the Best Furniture. 

Maple. Sweet Cedar. 

Oak (various kinds). Tulip Wood. 

Rosewood. Walnut. 

Satin Wood. Olive. 

Sandal Wood. Zebra Wood. 
Sweet Chestnut. 
For Common Furniture and Interior Fittings. 

Birch. Walnut. 

Cedars. Mahogany. 

Cherry Tree. Ash. 

also some selections of Honduras mahogany when finely marked, and different 
varieties of the Eucalyptus. 

The most expensive of these are used in veneers ; and in the more ornamental 
and polychromatic marquetry, holly, horse chestnut, sycamore, pear tree and 
plum tree are used, being woods easily stained. 

Amongst some of the rarer and more beautifully marked woods, used in small 
quantities, are the following : — ■ 

Mustaiba. Peruvian. Rosetta. 

Palmyra Pheasant Wood. Snakewood. 

Partridge Wood. Purple Wood. Yacca Wood. 
Princes Wood. 

Teak is an extremely strong East India wood ; there is also an African teak 
(Sierra Leone), called African oak. 

Appendix. 263 

Shisham or Blackwood (Dalbergia Sps) is a heavy close-grained wood, dark 
brown in color, resembling ebony when polished, and is much used for furniture 
in India. 

Sandal Wood, Teak, Mango Wood. — Sir George Birdwood, in " Indian 
Arts," gives a complete list of these Indian woods, with their botanical names 
and other valuable information. 

For a more complete list of the different woods used by cabinet makers, the 
reader is referred to Mr. J. Hungerford Pollen's " Introduction to the South 
Kensington Collection " ; to many of these he has been able, after much research, 
to give their botanical names, a task rendered somewhat difficult owing to the 
popular name of the wood being derived from some peculiar marking or colouring 
but giving no clue to its botanical status. Amongst these are tulip wood, rose 
wood, king wood, pheasant wood, partridge wood, and snake wood. It is worthy 
of remark that, whereas in England the terms " king wood " and " tulip wood " 
represent the former, a wood of rich dark reddish-brown color, or " purple 
madder," and the latter one of a yellowish-red, prettily-streaked, in France these 
terms have exactly the reverse equivalents. These were very favourite veneers in 
the best French marqueterie furniture described in Chapter VI., and are frequently 
found, the one as bordering to relieve the panel or drawer front of the other. 

In the Museum at Kew Gardens, and also in the Colonial Galleries of the Imperial 
Institute, are excellent collections of many rare woods well worth examination. 

Some particulars of the different woods mentioned in the Bible, from which examples 
of Ancient Furniture were manufactured, and to which reference has been made 
in Chapter I. 

These notes have been kindly supplied by Dr. Edward Clapton, ivhose collection of 
specimens of these scarce woods is of great interest. 

Shittim Wood is the wood of the Shittah tree, or Acacia Seyal. This spiny 
tree especially abounded in the peninsula of Sinai and around the Dead Sea, but 
was also found in various parts of Syria, Arabia, and Africa. In the present day 
the shittah trees are very few and small, but in the time of Moses there were 
forests of them, and of a size sufficient to form long and wide planks. It is, as 
Jerome says, " a very strong wood of incredible lightness and beauty," and, he 
adds, "it is not subject to decay." This corresponds to the translation of the 
Hebrew term for shittim wood in the Septuagint, which is " incorruptible wood." 
Though light, it is hard, strong, and durable. As a proof of this, the Ark, and 
other furniture of the Tabernacle, which were made of shittim wood, must have 
lasted for a period of some 500 years before all traces of them were lost. Dean 
Stanley remarks that the plural word shittim was given to the wood of the shittah 
tree from the tangled thickets into which the stems of the trees expand. 

Almug. — The wood of the Pterocarpus Santalinus, a large tree of the order 
" Leguminosoe." The wood is very hard, has a reddish color, and takes a fine 
polish. It is a native of India and Ceylon, whence it was in Solomon's time 
conveyed to Ophir, on the east coast of Africa, and from Ophir to Palestine ; " and- 
the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in great plenty of 
almug trees, and the king made of the almug trees pillars for the house of the 
Lord, and for the king's house, harps also and psalteries for singers." 1 Kings x. 
11, 12. Almug is not the same as Algum, which grew on Lebanon with the cedar 
and fir. 2 Chron. ii. 8. 

Thyine Wood. — The wood of the Thuja Articulata, now named Callitris 
Quadrivalvis, a tree of the cypress sub-order of coniferae, from 20 to 30 feet high. 
It is a native of Algiers and the Atlas range of North Africa. The wood is dark 
colored, hard, and fragrant, taking a fine polish ; it yields an odoriferous resin 
called Sanderach, which was much used by the Romans for incense in the worship 
of their gods. Thyine takes its name from " to burn incense." It was much prized 

CC 2 

264 Appendix. 

by the ancient Greeks and Romans, not only because it was considered sacred 
but also on account of the beauty of the wood for various ornamental purposes. 
Pliny speaks of the mania of his countrymen for ornaments made of this wood, and 
tells us that when Roman ladies were upbraided by their husbands for their 
extravagance in pearls, they retorted upon them for their excessive fondness for 
tables made of thyine wood. So great a rage was there for ornamental cabinet 
work in ancient Rome that Cicero had a table made of it that cost ,£9,000. 
Ornaments made of this wood can be seen in the Museum at Kew, presented by 
the late Jerome Napoleon. The ceiling and floor of the celebrated Mosque of 
Cordova are of thyine wood, and it is also referred to in the Bible. 


Gobelins, Beauvais, and Aubusson Tapestry. — The famous factory of 
Gobelins originated in the establishment of some dye works in the Faubourg St. 
Marcel of Paris, by two brothers, Gilles and Jean Gobelin, who had introduced 
from Venice the art of dyeing scarlet ; they also produced some other excellent 
colors, and this enterprise — at first considered foolish, and acquiring the name 
of Folic Gobelin — afterwards became most successful. This was in the reign of 
Francois I. ; they subsequently added a tapestry factory to their dye works. 
Either in 1662 or in 1667, as different authorities state, Colbert, who had succeeded 
Cardinal Mazarin as Chief Adviser and Minister of Louis XIV., purchased the 
factory from the Gobelin family, and reorganised the establishment as the Royal 
Upholstery Works, employing the artists Lebrun, Berain, Simon Vouet, and 
others, to furnish subjects for the cartoons, the former artist being appointed 
Director of the Works. Since 1697 tne manufacture of tapestry only has been 
carried on, and the product of these celebrated looms has become known as 
Gobelins tapestry. Previous to this time, however, namely, 1669, Colbert ordered 
the manufacture at Gobelins of what is termed the " low warp " tapestry suitable 
for furniture — a branch of manufacture which had been transferred to the State 
works of Beauvais, where the special mode of making tapestry, suitable for the 
covering of chairs and sofas, has since been carried on, the looms of Gobelins 
being more generally employed to produce larger panels for hangings. The fine 
texture, the brilliant colorings of the famous tapestry, are world famous ; and 
enormous sums are commanded by some of the older panels, the tints of which 
are softened by age, while the condition remains good. Besides the tapestry for 
furniture, sometimes made at Gobelins, and more generally at Beauvais, a great 
deal has been produced by the looms at Aubusson, a factory said to have been 
originated by the immigration of some Flemish workmen into La March during 
the fourteenth century. Owing, however, to the difficulty in obtaining good patterns 
and the quality of wool required, their tapestry did not acquire a very high 
reputation. Colbert granted these manufactories a Charter in 1669, and also gave 
them protection against foreign rivals ; and the looms of Aubusson became busy 
and their proprietors prosperous. The productions of Gobelins and Beauvais being 
monopolised by the Court, the works of Aubusson had to provide for the more 
general requirements of the people, and, therefore, though good of its kind, and 
occasionally excellent, this tapestry has never attained the reputation of its 
more famous contemporaries. To those who would learn more of Tapestry, its 
history, methods of production, and many instructive details, the little South 
Kensington handbook, "Tapestry," is highly commended; it was written for the 
Science and Art Department by M. Alfred de Champeaux, and translated by 
Mrs. R. F. Sketchley. 

Appendix. 265 


Wood Gilding. — The processes of applying gold to wood and to metal are 
entirely different. In the former the gold, which has been supplied to the gilder in 
extremely thin layers, generally placed between the leaves of a little paper book to 
prevent them sticking together, is transferred therefrom to the surface to be gilt, by 
a dexterous movement of a flat gilder's camel's hair brush, or " tip," as it is termed, 
the wood having been previously prepared by successive coatings of whitening 
and thin glue, a thicker body of preparations being required for those parts which 
are to be burnished. A great deal depends upon the care and time bestowed 
on the preparation of the work, sometimes as many as ten coatings being given 
to the wood, and these are successively rubbed down with pumice stone and glass 
paper, care being taken not to lose the sharpness of carved ornaments. This 
application of gold leaf is termed mechanical gilding, and is used for gilt furniture, 
picture frames, or other decorations. Within the last ten years the gold has 
been applied to the more richly carved furniture in a powder. This preparation 
of gold is very expensive, costing about £7 the ounce, and is only used for 
the more costly chairs and couches, etc., generally of old French make, which 
require re-gilding. 

Metal Gilding. — The process of gilding metal which was practised by the 
mounters of the fine old French furniture described in Chapter VI., consisted in 
applying to the " ormolu " an amalgam of gold and mercury ; the latter was 
evaporated by heat, and the gold remained firmly adhered to the metal mount, 
and was afterwards colored as desired, a slightly greenish tinge being effected by 
such masters as Caffieri, Gouthiere, and others. This kind of gilding requires a 
considerable quantity of the precious metal to be used, and is therefore very costly, 
but is rich in effect, and, under favourable conditions, permanent. It is, however, 
very injurious to the workers, on account of the fumes of the mercury poisoning the 
system ; and it has generally been abandoned in favour of the much quicker and 
far cheaper process of electro-gilding, by which an effect can be produced by an 
infinitesimal coating of gold. The water gilding process is still used to a moderate 
extent by the makers of the more expensive reproductions of old furniture in 
Paris. There is a very cheap and effective process of lacquering which sometimes is 
termed "gilding," used to give ormolu mounts the color of gold; this is done by 
applying a solution of shellac and spirits of wine to the metal when heated, and, 
as with water-gilding, the volatile spirit evaporates and leaves a thin coating 01 
the shellac, which may also be treated so as to have very much the appearance of 
gold, to the inexperienced eye. It should be mentioned that where mounts are 
gilt, it is usual to make the material more like the color of gold than ordinary 
brass would be ; this is done by the admixture of a considerable amount of copper, 
the amalgam being generally termed "or-molu." 

Polishing. — The older method of polishing woodwork consisted in the 
application of a mixture of turpentine and beeswax to the surface ; this would be 
repeated again and again, and then well rubbed down with a hard brush, when a 
very durable polish was obtained. For flat surfaces, and particularly for the tops 
of dining tables which were formerly uncovered to show the wood, oil polishing 
was the fashion ; this was effected by rubbing the table-top with a heavy weight 
backwards and forwards, using oil as a lubricant. Good housewives used to 
polish up their dining tables very frequently. Oil polishing had the great 
advantage, too, of producing a surface which hot plates did not easily mark. The 
cost, time, and trouble, however, caused these older processes to be abandoned in 
favour of " French " polishing, which is the application on a prepared surface 
of shellac dissolved in methylated spirits, and often other ingredients to give 
poor-looking wood a richer color. This polish is quicker, and therefore, cheaper 
than the old-fashioned method. It has come into general adoption since the Great 
Exhibition of 1851. 

266 Appendix. 


The Pianoforte is such an important article in the furniture of the present time, 
that a few notes about its development, from a decorative point of view, 
may be acceptable. In " Musical Instruments," one of the South Kensington 
handbooks, Carl Engel traces the Pianoforte from the " Clavicembalo," which he 
tells us, " was, in fact, nothing but a Cembalo or Dulcimer, with a key board 
attached to it." Our present Grand Piano was, however, more immediately a 
development of the Harpsichord" and Spinet, which had succeeded the Virginal 
of the 1 6th century. These were made of oblong shape and supported on stands, 
which were simply supports for the instrument, and did not form a part of it as do 
the legs of a modern " grand." In an original play bill, which is still preserved 
at Messrs. Broadwoods', there is an announcement that at the Theatre Royal, 
Covent Garden, on the 16th of May, 1767, at the end of Act I. (of the Beggars' 
Opera), " Miss Brickler will sing a favourite song from 'Judith,' accompanied by 
Mr. Dibden, on a new Instrument, called Pianoforte." 

There is an illustration on p. 172 of a Harpsichord which is in the South 
Kensington Museum, and in the same collection are others, varying in types as 
instruments, and of different decorations. The one which belonged to Handel is a 
good specimen of the decoration bestowed on these instruments. Others of about 
the middle of the eighteenth century, were covered with a coating of lacquer, 
like some of the furniture referred to in Chapter VI., the parts of the cases to be so 
decorated having been sent to China, and returned when coated with the 
preparation, then only known to the Chinese, but afterwards imitated in Europe. 
Some of these lacquered cases are very beautiful, and those which were elaborately 
painted in the Vernis Martin style, are finished with the care of cabinet pictures 
or miniatures. They have, as a rule, the fine subject painting, or landscape, inside 
the lid of the case, as in the illustration on p. 172, while the outside of the case is 
decorated with arabesques of gold on a dark colored ground. Such an Instrument 
was sold at the sale of Lord Lonsdale's furniture, a few years ago, for some three 
hundred pounds. 

The rectangular shape appears to have been partially abandoned for the 
" Wing form," of which the modern " Grand" is a development, about the time of 
Queen Anne, and was, in some cases, adapted to the Harpsichord of the time. 
The earlier pianofortes were rectangular in form, with the idea of preventing the 
unequal appearance produced by the bent treble side of the Grand, and the writer 
has in his possession such an instrument, without pedals, which bears the 
inscription: — "By Royal Patent. Longman and Broderip, Musical Instrument 
makers, 13, Haymarket, and 26, Cheapside, London." Collard and Collard are 
the successors of this firm, and still retain the same premises in Cheapside. The 
oldest Broadwood piano, at present on exhibition in Vienna, bears the name of 
" Schudi and Broadwood," with date 1780. It is square and without pedals. 

Towards the end of the last century pianos were made to harmonize with the 
Adam, Hepplewhite, and Sheraton furniture of the day, and some were elaborately 
inlaid with small plaques of Wedgwood's Jasper ware. 

There are also instruments in existence, and designs, which shew that as the 
style of furniture changed during the time of the French Revolution, and subse- 
quently to the Classic Greek, the Piano followed the new fashion. There is in St. 
James's Palace the instrument made by Broadwood for the Princess Charlotte, 
who died early in the nineteenth century. This is square in form, and is veneered 
with a single sheet of ivory, the elephant's tusk having been first softened by 
acid, and then cut circular fashion. 

* The Harpsichord made for Frederick the Great, by Burkardt-Tschudi, whose son-in-law was 
the first John Broadwood, was in the style of German Renaissance. 

Appendix. 267 

In France, the older Harpsichord and the later Pianoforte have followed the 
different styles which have affected the decorative furniture of that country, and 
the same remark applies to the more limited productions of such instruments in 
other countries. 

During the period of bad taste which prevailed in England thirty or forty 
years ago, those who made and those who purchased pianos were content to have 
either the instrument in the most ordinary and commonplace case of mahogany, 
walnut, or the rosewood which about 1840 came into great favour, or else the 
cases were designed in an extravagant fashion, and covered with a super- 
abundance of ornament, quite out of keeping with the use of a musical 

Two illustrations in Chapter IX., one of Broadwood's Grand, and the other 
of an upright in Boule's style of work, by Leistler, of Vienna, may be taken as 
the most favourable examples of pinaoforte decorations at the time of the 1851 

Latterly there has been amongst leading manufacturers, especially those of 
our own country, a marked improvement, and the cases are made of rare and 
carefully chosen woods, and the style adapted, in many instances to the furniture 
of the room. Sir Alma Tadema designed cases in the Byzantine style. Mr. 
Burne-Jones painted one with an elaborate design of figures and scrolls ; another 
with a shower of roses right across the sounding board, and he also revived the 
old-fashioned trestle support, formerly used for harpsichords. Mr. Waterhouse, 
R.A., Mr. John Birnie Philip, who executed the podium of the Albert Memorial, 
Mr. T. G. Jackson, R.A., and others, have also designed piano cases for friends 
and clients. 

In the "Inventions" Exhibition, a few years since, there was a very good 
opportunity of noticing the advance in design of the Pianoforte. In nearly every 
instance the old fashioned fretwork front had been abandoned for a painting or a 
marquetry panel. Some were enamelled white, and relieved by gilding ; others 
had a kind of gesso-work decoration, and the different fashionable styles of 
furniture were reproduced with various modifications. Amongst others, Kirkmans 
exhibited a grand and an upright made from designs by Col. Edis, and Hopkinson 
a boudoir grand and some small cottage pianos in satinwood and marquetry, and 
also in satinwood painted in the old English style, and having silk panels in front 
with copies of Bartolozzi prints. The designs were in the latter case made by the 
author. Broadwoods, and other English firms, also produced special designs. 

Since this Exhibition, if there has not been improvement, there has been 
endless variety, and the piano case is now designed and decorated to please the 
taste of the most fastidious or the most eccentric. 


Note. — The Names of several Designers and Makers, omitted from the 
Index, will be found in the list in the Appendix, with references. 


Brittany Furniture . . .. .. ..62,63 

Broad wood, Messrs . .. .. 231,266,267 

Bronze Mountings 146, 158, 159, 162, 163, 179 

232, 265 
Bruges, Chimney-piece at.. .. .. 63 

Bryan, Michael, referred to .. .. 48 


Academy (French) of the Arts founded .. 146 
Adam, Robert and James 174, 175, 195, 227, 236 




.. 131 

. . 246 

48, 49, 169 

..24, 28 

.. 138 





Ahasuerus, Palace of . . 

Alcock, Sir Rutherford, Collection of 

" American Sketches " 

Angelo, Michael 

Anglo-Saxon Furniture 

Arabesque Ornament, origin of 

Arabian Woodwork .. 

Ark, reference to the .. 

Armoires, mention of . . 6r, 62, 147, 221 

Art Journal, the 104, 1 11, 219, 222, 223,224,225,231 

Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society. . 241, 258 

Aspinwall, of Grosvenor Street 

Assyrian Furniture 

Aubusson Tapestry 

Audley End 

Austrian Work 

Barbers' Company, Hall of the 

Baroque, the style 

Barry, Sir Charles, R.A. 

Beauvais Tapestry 151, 154, 

Bedroom Furniture .. 

Bedstead of Jeanne d'Albret. . 

Bedstead in the Cluny Museum 

Bellows, Italian 

Benjamin, Mr , referred to . . 

Berain, Charles, French artist 

" Bergere (Chaise) " .. 

Bethnal Green Museum 

Biblical references 

Birch, Dr., reference to 

Bird wood, Sir George, referred to 

Black, Mr. Adam, reference to 

Bloomfield, Mr. Reginald T. 

Boards and Trestles 

Boleyn, Anna, Chair to 

Bombay Furniture 

Bonnaffe, referred to . . 

Boucher, artist 


Boule, Andre Charles. . 

Brackets, Wall 

British Museum, reference to specimens in 

the .. 1,,7,8,9,11,23,26,28 


2, 3 



77. 87 


96, 98, 




9. 166, 










8, 133, 


r, 2 

135. 263 




• • 133 

48, 55- 59. 70 
154, 161 
150, 153 
146, 149 
.. 52 

Buffet, The 


Buffet, Old English 
Buffet, Old French.. 
Buffet, Old Flemish 
Bureau du Roi 

Burges, Mr. W 

Burleigh House 
Byzantine-Gothic, Discarded 
Byzantine style 

" Cabinet Maker and Art Fin 
Cafheri, work of 
Cairo Woodwork 
Canopied Seats 
Canterbury Cathedral 
Carpenters' Company 
Cashmere Work 
Cauner, French carver 
Cellaret, The 

Cellini, B 

Chambers, Sir William, R.A. 
Chair of Dagobert 
Chairs of St. Peter 
Chairs, Canopied 
Chair, The Coronation . . 
Chair of Charles I. 
Chair, The Glastonbury . . 
Chair, Jacobean style 
Chair of Cromwell's Family 
Chairs become common . . 
Chairs, German Gothic . . 
" Chaise Bergere " 
Chardin, reference to 
Charlemagne, reference to 
Charles F, reference to 
Charles IF, reference to 
Charlton, Little .. 
Charterhouse, The 
Chaucer quoted . . 
Chimney-pieces . . 

43. 44. 5o. 60 
. . 159, 160 

;her ' . . 246 

[58, 159, 179, 265 


.. 37, 38 

. . 32, 102 

84, 86, 95, 96 


25, 173, 176, 179 

19, 20 


30. 3i 

[08, 109 



03, 104, 105, 


17, 21 

IO7, 109 

[II, 112 







Chippendale's Work .. 125, 168, 173, 177, 178, 
179, 180, 181, 182,183,200 

Chippendale's " Gentleman and Cabinet- 
maker's Director " .. .. 177-180 

Christianity, Influence of .. .. .. 18 

Christie, Manson & Wood, Messrs... 147, 151 
,, ,, ., reference to 

old catalogues of . . .. .. 220,221 

Cicero's Tables 

Cipriani .. 

Clapton, Dr. Edward, reference to . . 

Cleyn Francesco .. .. ..103, 

Club Houses of London . . . . : 

Cluny Museum, reference to. . 
Colbert, Finance Minister .. 
Collard's predecessors 
Collinson & Lock 
Collman, L. W., Work of 
Constantinople, Capture of . . 

Cope, Sir Walter 

Cope Castle 

Coronation Chair, The 


Couch, introduction of 

Crace, Work of . . 

Crane, Mr. Walter .. .. 241, 

Cromwell referred to . . 

Crusades, Influence of the 

Cutler, Mr. T 

Cypselus of Corinth, Chest of 

Dado, the, described 

Dagobert Chair 

Dalburgia or Blackwood 

Damascus, Room from a house in . . 

Davillier, Baron 

Dickens, Charles, referred to 

" Dining Room," the, various definitions 

Divan, derivation of .. 

Douthwaite, Mr. W. R., referred to 

Dowbiggin (Gillow's apprentice) 

Dryden quoted. . 

Diirer, A., referred to.. 

D'Urbino Bramante .. 

Du Sommerard referred to . . 

Dutch Furniture .. ..61, 63-66, 



104, 123 
221, 222 
.. 61 
.. 146 
. . 267 
. . 220 
. . 220 

• • 103 
.. 103 
•• 30-32 
.. 49 
.. 107 
. . 212 
242, 246 
no, III 

. . 246 

.. 216 

21, 22 
•• 133 
1 39-141 

.. 69 
•• 238 
. . 200 
•• 143 
•• 83 
I94, 212 

•• 199 
.. 70 
.. 48 
I7O, 206 

Eagle House, Wimbledon .. .. .. 104 

Eastlake, Mr. C, reference to 99, 100, 102, 245 
Edis, Col. Robert, referred to .. 245,267 

Elgin and Kincardine, Earl of, Collection of 131 
Elizabethan Work . . . . . . 67, 77, 102 

Empire Furniture .. .. .. 203-215 


English Work .. .. .. .. .. 71 

Evelyn's Diary. . .. .. .. .. 112 

Exhibition, The Colonial .. .. .. 133 

The Great (1851) 228, 229, 230 


, 242, 246 

of 1862 

•• 235 

Retrospective of Lyons 



. . 267 

The Stuart 

.. 109 

Exhibitions, Local 

.. 223 

Falke, Dr., reference to 

. 1 

1, 79. 204 

Faydherbe, Lucas 

■• 65 

Fitzcook, H , designer 

.. 225 

Flaxman's Work 


Flemish Renaissance 

63, 66 

Flemish Work 

.. 226 

Florentine Mosaic Work 

• • 50 

Folding Stool 

.. 29 

Fontainebleau, Chateau of .. 

.. 58 

Fourdinois, Work of . . 

227, 236 

Fragonard, French artist, reference to 

.. 161 

Frames for pictures and mirrors 

•• 79 

Franks, Mr. A. W 

.. 24 

Fretwork Ornament 

.. 181 

" Furniture and Decoration " 

. . 246 

Gavard's, C, Work on Versailles 
German Work 
Gesso Work 

Ghiberti, L 

Gibbon, Dr., Story of . . 
Gilding, Methods of . . 

•• M5 
70, 71 
.. 50 
.. 49 
•• 195 
50, 265 

Gillow, Richard, extending table patented by 193 
,, ,, Work of .. .. 208,210 

Gillow's Records .. .. .. .. 194 

Gillow's Work.. .. .. .. 174,237 

Giraud, M., Work by 61 

Glastonbury Chair . . . . . . . . 78 

Gobelins Tapestry 146, 151, 154, 159, 166, 264 
Godwin, Mr. E. W. . . .. .. .. 246 

Godwin, Mr. G , referred to.. .. 74, 76 

Goodrich Court . . . . . . . . 78 

Gore House, Exhibition at . . . . . . 221 

Gothic Architecture 30 

Gothic Work, French 44.46 

German .. .. .. 42 

,, ,, Chippendale's .. .. 180 

Gough, Viscount, collection of .. .. 131 

Gouthiere, Pierre .. .. 159,164,165 

" Grandfather " Clocks 121-2 

Gray's Inn, Hall 83 

Greek Furniture .. .. .. 9,10,11 

270 , 

Greuze, reference to . . 

Hall, Mr. S. C, referred to 
Hamilton Palace Collection 



Jones Collection, The 

156- 158, 162 

■ Co, 

Hampton Court Palace 72, 73, 79, 112, 

Hardwick Hall 77. 

Harpsichord, the .. .. 172,231, 

Harrison quoted 

Hatfield House 

Heaton, J. Aldham, Mr., referred to 

Hebrew Furniture 

Henri II., timeof 

Henri IV., style of Art in France . . 

Henry VIII 7 2 

Hepplewhite, Work of .. 184,186, 

Herculaneum and Pompeii, Discovery of 
Herbert's " Antiquities " 

Hertford House Collection 

Holbein . . . . . . . . . . 7 

Hook, Theodore 

Holland House .. .. 102,103, 

Holland, Lord. . 

Holland & Sons 

Holmes, W., designer 

Home Arts and Industries Association 

Hope, Thomas, design by . . 

Hopkinson's Pianos 

Hotel de Boheme 

Howard & Sons, firm of, founded . . 

Ilchester, Lady, referred to . . 
Ince, W., contemporary of Chippendale 
(Ince and Mayhew's Work) 183, 184 
Indian Furniture 

Indian Museum, The. . .. .-134, 

Indo-Portuguese Furniture .. 
Intarsia Work, or Tarsia 
Inventories, Old 
Ireton, General, House of . . 
Italian Carved Furniture .. ..226, 

Italian Renaissance 

Jackson, Mr. T. G., A.R.A., referred to 
53. io 4l 
Jackson & Graham 
Jacobean Furniture 
Jacquemart, M., reference to 
Japan, The Revolution in 
Japanese Joiner, The 
Japanned Furniture 
Jeanne d' Albret, Bedstead of 
Jones, Inigo 


266, 267 


••77. 78 

. . 202 



.. 61 

. 73. 79 

191, 200 

.. 161 

.. 84 

•• 247 

2, 76, 79 

107, 108 

104, 123 

102, 103 

194, 212 

• • 225 

. . 242 

. . 210 

. . 267 

.. 36 

. . 212 

.. 103 










. 7° 





•• 48-57 











92, 93 






. 151 
, 172 

Kauffmann, Angelica. . .. .. 174,192 

Kensington, South, Museum, foundation of 237 
reference to 
specimens in the 21, 22, 41, 42, 44, 51, 52, 54, 
56, 57, 61, 63, 64, 65, 66, 75, 79, 80, 81, 95, 96, 
98, no, 129, 131, 133, 136, 137, 139, 140, 141, 
142, 146, 158, 161, 162, 165, 167, 170, 171, 172, 
176, 199, 236, 237 

Khorsabad, reference to 3.4-5 

King, H.M. the, Art Collection of. . .. 136 

Kirkman's Exhibit 267 

Knife Cases 199 

Knole 79, 98, 102 

Lacquer Work, Chinese and Japanese 

• 129, 130, 131, 155, 156 


Lacroix, Paul, reference to . . 
Lancret, artist. . 
Layard, Sir Austen, reference 
Lebrun, artist. . 
Leighton, Sir F , referred to 
LeoX., Pope . . 


22, 3/ 

r 4 6, 147, 






Lethaby, Mr. W. R 242 

Liechtenstein, Princess Marie .. .. 103 

Linger, Sir Henry . . . . . . . . 44 

Litchfield & Radclyffe . . . . . . 235 

Livery Cupboards .. .. .. . . 73, 78 

Longford Castle Collection 70 

Longman & Broderip -267 

Longleat 77, 97 

Louis XIII. Furniture .. .. .. 61 

Louis XIV 147,151,167 

death of . . 

Louis XV 

death of. . 

Louis XVI 1 

Louvre, The 

Lucas, Seymour, Mr., A.R.A., referred to 

Lyon, Dr., quoted 

Lytton, Lord, quoted 



Macaulay, Lord, quoted .. .. 103, 112, 167 

Machine-made Furniture .. .. 222,238 

Madrid, French Furniture in . . . . 16S 

Magniac Collection 52 

Mahogany, introduction of . . . . . . 195 

Mansion House, the Furniture of . . . . 214 

Manwaring, Robert, Work of . . . . 183 

Marie Antoinette 146, 159, 160, 161, 163, 164, 172 




Marie Louise, Cabinet designed for .. 204 Prignot, Designs of .. .. .. .. 220 

Marqueterie . . 54, 61, 66, 150, 155, 237, 238 ■ Prior, Mr. Edwards, Essay on Furniture 242, 244 

Maskell, Mr., reference to . . ..20, 53, 

Mayhew, J., contemporary of Chippendale 

183, 190, 191 
Medicis Family, Influence of the . . . . 58 

Meyrick, S. . . . . . . . . . . 79 

Middle Temple Hall 83,84 

Miles and Edwards . . . . . . . . 212 

Milton quoted . . . . . . . . . . 199 

Mirror Frame, Elizabethan . . . . 78, 79 

Mirror, Mosaic. . .. .. .. .. 135 

Mirrors, introduction of . . . . 79, 150 

" Mobilier National," Collection of 6o, 61, 159, 163 
Modern fashion of Furnishing 244, 245, 246 

05 Pugin, Mr. A. W., work of 

Queen Anne Furniture 
Queen Victoria's Collection 

Mogul Empire, The 

Monbro .. .. 

Morant's Furniture 

Morris, Mr. W. 

Mounting of Furniture 

Munich, Work and Exhibition of 

Napoleon alluded to . . 
Nilson, French carver 
Norman civilisation, influence of 
North Holland, Furniture of . . 
Notes and Queries 
Nineveh, Discoveries in 

Oak Panelling (see Panelling) 
Oriental Conservatism 
Ottoman, derivation of 
Oxford Museum 

••32. 34. 
translator of 

87, 106, 

" Kunst 


Panelling (oak)., .. 79, 80, 81, 89, 

Papier-Mache Work .. 

Passe, C. de 

Paxton, Sir Joseph 

Penshurst Place 

Perkins, Mr, C, 

Hause " 
Persian Designs 
Pianoforte, the. 
Picau, French carver .. 
Pietra-dura introduced 
Pindar, Sir Paul, House of . . 
Pollen, Mr. J. Hungerford, reference to 

12, 14, 18, 30, 31, 59, 76 

80, 95, 134, 161, 199, 242, 244, 249 

Pompadour, Madame . . .. .. .. 159 

Portuguese Work . . . . . . . . 69 

Prie Dieu Chair, the . . . . . . 35, 58 



266, 267 

.. 179 

•• 54 


.. 174 

57. 68, 69, 

Racinet's Work, " Le Costume Historique " 
Radspieler of Munich (manufacturer) 
Raffaelle, referred to . . . . . . 48, 49, 

Raleigh, Sir W. 

Regency, Period of the, in France .. 152, 
Renaissance .. .. 44, 48, 86, 87, 

Renaissance in England 
,, France 







.. 132 
.. 232 


240, 246 


.. 248 

204, 206 
.. 179 
.. 66 
.. 107 
3. 4. 5 

139. 143 

.. 142 


Germany .. .. .. 70-71 

Italy 48-57 

The Netherlands .. ..63-66 

Spain . . . . .. 67-70 

Restoration, the .. .. .. .. in 

Revolution, the French . . 168, 203, 204 

Revival of Art in France . . . . . . 58 

Ricardo, Mr. Halsey .. .. .. 241, 242 

Rich, Sir Henry .. .. .. .. 103 

Richardson's " Studies " .. .. ..70-78 

Riesener, Court Ebeniste 159, 163, 164, 165, 167, 203 
Robinson, Mr. G. T., quoted 105, 10S, in 

Rococo Style, the . . . . 195, 216 225, 226 

Rogers, Harry, W 7 ork of .. .. 223, 224 

Roman Furniture .. ..12, 13, 14, 15, 16 

Rowe, Miss, and School of Woodcarving. . 242 

Ruskin, Mr., quoted .. 
Russian Woodwork 

St. Augustine's Chair . . 
St. Peter's Chairs 
St. Peter's Church 
St. Saviour's Chapel . . 
Sallust, House of 


239, 240, 241 
.. 23 

18, 19, 20 

Salting, Mr, Collection of .. .. .. 131 


■ 244 



J 74 

)f 131 

22, 23, 169, 170 




Salzburg, Bishop's Palace at 
Sandringham House, referred to 
Saracenic AfV^ . 
Sarto, Andrea del 
Satinwood, introduction of . . 
Saxe-Coburg, late Duke of, Art Collection 
Scandinavian Woodwork 
Science and Art Department, the 
Scott, Sir Walter, reference to 
Screens, Louis XV. period . . 
Scrowled Chair 

Secret Drawers, etc., in Furniture 
Sedan Chair, the 




.. 161 
<58. 167 
87, 88 
105, 107 
. . 246 
78, 112 

36, 141 
• 3- 4 
'3. 214 

Seddon, Thomas, and his Sons, Work of 
Serilly, Marquise de, Boudoir of . . 
Sevres Porcelain, introduction of .. 
Shakespeare's Chair 
Shakespeare, quoted .. .. 87, 103, 

Shaw, Mr. Norman, R.A. .. 

Shaw's " Ancient Furniture " 

Sheraton, Thomas 192, 195, 197, 198, 207,208. 210 

Shisham Wood .. .. .. 135, 136 

Sideboard, reference to the 183, 192, 199, 20c, 225 
Skinners' Company, The .. .. .. 215 

Smith, Major-Gen. Murdoch, reference to 
Smith, Mr. George, explorer, reference to 
Smith, George, manufacturer 212, 2 

Snell, Work of 

Soane Museum, The .. 
Society of Arts, The . . 

, , Upholsterers and Cabinet Makers 
Sofa, Derivation of . . 
South Kensington. See Kensington. 
Spanish Furniture . . . . . . 67 

Speke Hall, Liverpool 

Spitzer Collection, The 

Spoon Cases 

Sta ioners' Hall . . . . . . 1 

Steam power applied to manufactures 
Stephens, Mr., referred to 
Stockton House 
Stone, Mr. Marcus 
" Strap Work " 

Strawberry Hill Sale i 

Street, Mr., R.A 

Strudwick, J, designer 
Sydney, Sir Philip 


Tabernacle, The 
Table " Dormant " 

" Drawinge " .. 


Folding .. 

Framed .. 


,, Pier 

,, Side 



,, Wine 

Tables and Trestles . . 
Tadema, Sir Alma, design bv 
Talbert's Designs 



J 05 

104, 105 

210, 240, 246, 267 

237, 246 

151. 154. i59 


68, 69 

57- 219 

Tarsia Work, or Intarsia 

Tea Caddies 


Thackeray, quoted 

Theebaw, King, Bedstead of 

Thyine Wood 

" Times" Newspaper, The, quoted 


Toms & Luscombe 
Town & Emanuel 
Trades Unionism 
Traditions, Loss of old 
Transition period 
Trianon, The 
Trollopes founded 
" Tunbridge Wells" Work 

Ulm, Cathedral of 
Urn Stands, The 


Venice, Importance of 

Venice, referred to 

Verbruggens, The 

Vernis Martin 

Versailles, Palace of . . 

Victorian (early) Furniture 

Vinci, L. da 


" Vitrine," The 

Vriesse, V. de . . 

Wallace, Sir Richard, Collection of 

Walpole, Horace 

Ware, Great Bed of . . 

Waterhouse, Mr., R.A. 


Watts, artist, referred to 

Webb, Mr. Stephen 

Webb, manufacturer 

Wedgwood, Josiah 

Wertheimer, S. 

Westminster Abbey 

Wilkinson, of Ludgate Hill .. 

Williamson (Mobilier National) 

Woods used for Furniture . . 

Wotton, Sir Henry, quoted . . 

Wren, Sir Christopher, referred to 

Wright, Mr., F.S.A., referred to 

Wyatt, Sir Digby, Paper read by 

York House, described in ' ' The Art 

York Minster, Chair in 


53. 54. 70 

. . 201 

. . 201 

53. 81 

• • 135 


.. 172 

•■ 49 
•• 233 

221, 233 
.. 241 

240, 241 
43. 46 

. . 210 

.. 23S 

41, 42 

87, 200, 201 

237, 238 


98, 226 

• • 65 
156, 157 
145. 146 
.. 216 
48, 169 
.. 58 

• • 151 
•■ 6 5 

• • 247 

.. 246 

H^ 154 

.. 103 

242. 246 

•• 235 

176, 236 

•• 233 
■3. 97. 98 

60, 163 

.. 263 

91, 92 

. . 112 


Journal " 

219, 220 
.. 32 

14 DA Xwh£h borrowed \ 







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