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Ch. 20 Recognizing Furniture Styles

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  1. Ch. 20Recognizing Furniture Styles Identify factors that influence changes in furniture design Describe general points that can be helpful in understanding furniture style periods Compare formal and informal furniture styles Identify and describe major styles of American furniture from 1600 to present Describe the types of furniture choices available to today’s buyer

  2. Changing Styles • Some defined by era first made in • Often named for the queen or king in power at time • Others named for person who originated the design • This chapter = recognize major furniture styles • Some will appeal to you more than others • Keep in mind function and quality

  3. Why Designs Change • Changing expectations • Available materials • Traditional wood, modern synthetic, plastic • Methods of manufacturing • Experiments done with different materials • Changes in lifestyles and tastes • Reflect people who will use furniture • Ex: 18th century – formal and elegant due to the lifestyle of the royal court • Tastes are influenced by lifestyle, fashion, and needs

  4. Understanding Furniture Styles • No definate beginning or end to any period • Furniture that incorporates designs from two periods is referred to as transitional • Dates given in this text refer to the period when the styles were most popular in America • Think of furniture in terms of the people who used it and the homes it occupied (not just the dates associated with it) • Most periods begin with simple, basic, designs with decorative features added along the way

  5. Understanding Furniture Styles • Formal furniture styles originated in Europe in the 18th century • Some ornate others classical lines • All formal styles were elegant (created for the wealthy) • Furniture for common people made with simple hand tools • Often plainer, smaller versions of formal styles

  6. Designs that Last • Small percentage of all furniture sold today is truly new, experimental, or contemporary in design • Many people prefer a contemporary look • Some contemporary styles will be successful and eventually become “traditional” • Well designed furniture lasts over the years • There is a large demand for reproductions (accurate copies of originals) • Many people buy antiques = 100+ years old • Term often used informally to mean “old”

  7. Designs from the Beginning • Furniture that was practical for everyday use • Tools and materials were limited resulting in very simple styles • First two successful English colonies were Jamestown and Plymouth • Furniture of this time referred to as Jacobean = dominant style during the time of the pilgrims • Heavy and rectangular, geometrical or floral carvings

  8. Ch. 20 Continued Furniture Styles….

  9. Jacobean • Furniture style of the 17th century • Named after James I, England’s reigning king • Heavy, rectangular • Geometrical, floral carvings • Rounded legs, spindles made by turning • Stools benches more common than chairs • Homes sparsely furnished – little storage room • Chests used often for storage • Chair tables = popular (had large back for protection from drafts, could be tilted forward to form table)

  10. William and Mary 1700-1725 • Named for the royal couple who ruled England • Delicate furniture style • Influenced by the court of Louis XIV • Chairs reflected Asian influence • Curved backs replaced straight backs of Jacobean chairs • Seats often woven from rushes (stems from marsh plants) • Marked by a lightness • Fine carvings and trims • Fine veneer used – thin layer of more expensive wood glued to top of less expensive wood • Velvets/silks used for upholstery • Gate leg table became popular – table with legs on each side that swing out to support drop leaves pulled up from the sides

  11. William and Mary cont.’ • Wardrobes grew = more space needed = chest of drawers became important • Highboy – mounted on legs – developed • Often had brass handles instead of wooden knobs • Became the fanciest piece of furniture in the home

  12. Queen Anne Style 1720-1755 • Graceful, curved lines, became popular with the middle class during the reign of Queen Anne • Influenced by furniture of the Netherlands and Asia • Slender and flowing • Curved rather than straight lines • Cabriole leg – curves out at the middle and tapers in near the bottom with an ornamental foot • Upholstered furniture became widely available • Fully upholstered wing chair became popular and is still popular today • Windsor chair also became popular – stick legs, spindle back, saddle shaped seat

  13. Chippendale 1755-1780 • Named from Thomas Chippendale’s book of furniture designs • He was a popular cabinet maker and furniture designer in England • Produced furniture in variety of designs • Wealthy Americans wanted his designs • Distinctive details: s-shaped chair, table legs ending in claw and ball • Furniture was heavier and more solid than other designs

  14. Post Colonial Period • Designs influenced by delicate, balanced lines of classical styles • Two basic styles of this period: Federal And Empire • Federal Style • Most popular in NY, straight lined and uncluttered, small and rectangular, light, delicate, symmetrical • Hepplewhite and Sherton = rival English designers, displayed similarities and differences in their designs • Reduced manufacturing costs, made furniture more accessible to middle class • Hepplewhite = tapered legs, decorative backs in the shape of shields, ovals or hearts • Sheraton = rectangular/sqaure backs, slender legs, sometimes decorated with reeding (decorative carving resembling stems of tall grass)

  15. Empire Style 1820-1840 Takes its name from the French emperor, Napoleon I Style spread rapidly through Europe Style is a continuation of the Neoclassical style Mostly uncluttered and symmetrical Duncan Phyfe = famous Empire designer, was a Scotsman Used classical designs such as leaves, swans, eagles, and dolphins His shop was known for pedestal tables with brass feet Also known for his chairs with a back shaped like a small harp

  16. Shaker Furniture • Plain and simple • Existed along with federal and empire • Shakers – religious group that settled in England • Emphasized utility, not ornamentation • Very plain yet graceful lines and proportions • Didn’t achieve much popularity until the 1800’s but is popular today

  17. Victorian Period • Style developed during the reign of England’s queen Victoria from 1837-1901 • Very elaborate and fancy designs • Most were simply fads • Fancy upholstery fabrics used • Curving lines, inlaid floral patterns • Ornate and heavy looking • Rosewood, a tropical wood used because of its high luster • Marble, iron, and brass were also used in Victorian furniture

  18. Design Reform • Toward the end of the Victorian period designers and furniture makers reacted AGAINST the use of ornamentation • Designers started using materials in a more natural way and made hand crafted furniture • Most famous reformer – William Morris, English artist and designer • Morris paid close attention to basic line, structure, and proportion of furniture • Because the furniture was hand crafted – very expensive

  19. Modern Period 1901- Present • Stresses the importance of function • Simpler forms that are abstract • Don’t resemble recognizable forms • Very little decoration • Contained fewer parts • Built out of newly invented materials

  20. International Style • Plain, functional style developed by Architect Walter Gropius • Gropius founded the Bauhaus school of design in Germany in 1919 • Wanted to unify architecture, interior design, and furniture design • Abandoned the use of wood and other natural materials • Used chrome-plated steel tubing and manufactured materials • Molded plastic and glass often used

  21. Contemporary Designs • Period we are living in now • General trend toward softening the harshness of modern designs • Difficult to identify contemporary style • They are not confined to one region, nation, or continent • Embodies traditional or national characteristics • Use all kinds of materials (marble, glass, stone, and plastics) • Furniture arranged so that shape stands out against a simple background • Furniture designed for the human form • Modular furniture becoming popular because of it’s convenience and optional value

  22. Knowing Furniture Styles • More today than ever • You can analyze your personal tastes by having a knowledge of all main styles • You can create a more pleasing room by having an awareness of various styles • You can better judge new styles as they become available

  23. Furniture Style Expert • Make a poster highlighting important facts about the style of furniture you choose • Historic origin/Time Period • Economic/Social Highlights of the time period • 5 illustrations of the furniture style with descriptions for each