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Title: Illustrated History of Furniture - From the Earliest to the Present Time
Author: Litchfield, Frederick, 1850-1930
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: Interior of a French Chateau Shewing Furniture of the Time.
Period: Late XIV. or Early XV. Century.]

Illustrated History Of Furniture:

_From the Earliest to the Present Time._


Frederick Litchfield.

With numerous Illustrations



In 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 is 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 interest.

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 _meubles 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 ten or fifteen 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 connoisseurs.

In order to gain a more correct idea of the design of Furniture of
different periods, it has been necessary 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 antiquarian, than by an antiquarian with only a limited
knowledge of architecture.

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 endeavoured 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 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. Hanway Street, London, _July_, 1892.


Chapter I.

   BIBLICAL REFERENCES: Solomon's House and Temple--Palace of Ahashuerus.
   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.

Chapter II.

   Period of 1000 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 in 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.

Chapter III.

   THE RENAISSANCE IN ITALY: Leonardo da Vinci and Raffaele--Church of St.
   Peter, contemporary 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 in 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 Dürer--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 in 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.

Chapter IV.

   English Home Life in the Reign of James I.--Sir Henry Wootton
   quoted--Inigo Jones 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.

Chapter V.

   CHINESE FURNITURE: Probable source of artistic taste--Sir William
   Chambers quoted--Racinet's "Le Costume Historique"--Dutch
   influence--The South Kensington and the 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 Table--Specimens in the India
   Museum. PERSIAN WOODWORK: Collection of Objets d'Art formed by Gen.
   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.

Chapter VI.

   PALACE OF VERSAILLES: "Grand" and "Petit Trianon"--The three Styles of
   Louis XIV., XV., and XVI.--Colbert and Lebrun--André 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 Ébenistes--Vernis Martin
   Furniture--Caffieri and Gouthière Mountings--Sêvres 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--Gouthière'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

Chapter VII.

   Chinese style--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.

Chapter VIII.

   The French Revolution and 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 first part of present reign--Continental
   designs--Italian carving--Cabinet work--General remarks.

Chapter IX.

   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--Revival of
   Marquetry--Comparison of Present Day with that of a Hundred Years
   ago--Æstheticism--Traditions--Trades-Unionism--The Arts and Crafts
   Exhibition Society--Independence of Furniture--Present
   Fashions--Writers on Design--Modern Furniture in other
   Countries--Concluding Remarks.


   List of Artists and Manufacturers of Furniture--Woods--Tapestry used
   for French Furniture--The processes of Gilding and Polishing--The


List of Subscribers.

List of Illustrations.

Frontispiece--Dwelling Room of a French Chateau

Chapter I.

Vignette of Bas-relief--egyptian Seated, as Ornament to Initial Letter.
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; Stand
  for a Vase; Head-rest or Pillow; Workman's Stool; Vase on a Stand;
  Folding Stool; Ebony Seat inlaid with ivory
An Egyptian of High Rank Seated
An Egyptian Banquet
Chair with Captives as Supports, and an Ivory Box
Bacchus and Attendants Visiting Icarus
Greek Bedstead with a Table
Greek Furniture
Interior of an Ancient Roman House
Roman State Chair
Bronze Lamp and Stand
Roman Scamnum or Bench
Bisellium, or Seat for Two Persons
Roman Couch, Generally of Bronze
A Roman Study
Roman Triclinium or Dining Room

Chapter II.

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 Daïs
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
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)
Carved Oak Table
Flemish Buffet
A Tapestried Room
A Carved Oak Seat
Interior of Apothecary's Shop
Court of the Ladies of Queen Anne of Brittany

Chapter III.

Vignette of the Caryatides Cabinet, as Ornament to Initial Letter
Reproduction of Decoration by Raffaele
Salon of M. Bonnaffé
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 Engraving On Wood
Carved Oak Bedstead of Jeanne D'albret
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 (XVI. Century)
A Flemish Citizen at Meals
Sedan Chair of Charles V.
Silver Table (Windsor Castle)
Chair of Walnut or Chesnut Wood, Spanish, with Embossed Leather
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
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

Chapter IV.

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
Two Carved Oak Chairs
Settle of Carved Oak
Staircase in General Treton's House
Settee and Chair (Penshurst Place)
Carved Ebony Chair
Sedes Busbiana
The Master's Chair in the Brewers' Hall
Carved Oak "Livery" Cupboard
Carved Oak Napkin Press
Three Chairs From Hampton Court, Hardwick, and Knole
Carved Oak Screen in Stationers' Hall
Silver Furniture at Knole
Three Chimney Pieces by James Gibbs

Chapter V.

Pattern of a Chinese Lac Screen
An Eastern (Saracenic) Table, as Ornament to Initial Letter
Japanese Cabinet of Red Chased Lacquer Ware
Casket of Indian Lacquer-work
Door of Carved Sandal Wood From Travancore
Persian Incense Burner of Engraved Brass
Governor's Palace, Manfulut
Specimen of Saracenic Panelling
A Carved Door of Syrian Work
Shaped Panel of Saracenic Work

Chapter VI.

Boule Armoire (Hamilton Palace)
Vignette of a Louis Quatorze Commode, as Ornament to Initial Letter.
Boule Armoire (Jones Collection)
Pedestal Cabinet by Boule (Jones Collection)
A Concert in the Reign of Louis XIV.
A Screen Panel by Watteau
Decoration of a Salon in the Louis XIV. Style
A Boule Commode
French Sedan Chair
Part of a Salon (Louis XV.)
Carved and Gilt Console Table
Louis XV. Fauteuil (Carved and Gilt)
Louis XV. Commode (Jones Collection)
A Parqueterie Commode
"Bureau Du Roi"
A Boudoir (Louis XVI. Period)
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 Sêvres Plaques
A Clock by Robin (Jones Collection)
Harpsichord, About 1750
Italian Sedan Chair

Chapter VII.

Vignette of a Chippendale Girandole, as Ornament to Initial Letter
Fac-simile of Drawings by Robert Adam
English Satinwood Dressing Table
Chimney-piece and Overmantel, Designed by W. Thomas
Two Chippendale Chairs in the "Chinese" Style
Fac-simile of Title Page of Chippendale's "Gentleman and Cabinet Maker's
Two Book Cases From Chippendale's "Director"
Tea Caddy Carved in the French Style (Chippendale)
A Bureau From Chippendale's "Director"
A Design for a State Bed From Chippendale's "Director"
"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
Toilet Glass and Urn Stand, From Hepplewhite's Guide
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 Hepplewhite's "Guide"
Kneehole Table by Sheraton
Chairs by Sheraton
Chair Backs, From Sheraton's "Cabinet Maker"
Urn Stand
A Sideboard in the Style of Robert Adam
Carved Jardiniere by Chippendale
Cabinet and Bookcase with Secretaire, by Sheraton

Chapter VIII.

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, Designed by Sheraton
"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)
Cradle for H.M. the Queen 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. H. Fitzcook
Venetian Stool of Carved Walnut

Chapter IX.

Examples of Design in Furniture in the 1851 Exhibition:--
  Sideboard, in Carved Oak, by Gillow
  Chimney-piece and Bookcase by Holland and Sons
  Cabinet by Grace
  Bookcase by Jackson and Graham
  Grand Pianoforte by Broadwood
  Vignette of a Cabinet, Modern Jacobean Style, as Ornament to Initial
  Lady's Escritoire by Wettli, Berne
  Lady's Work Table and Screen in Papier Maché
  Sideboard (Sir Walter Scott) by Cookes, Warwick
  A State Chair by Jancowski, York
  Sideboard, in Carved Oak, by Dorand, Paris
  Bedstead, in Carved Ebony, by Roulé, Antwerp
  Pianoforte by Leistler, Vienna
  Bookcase, in Lime Tree, by Leistler, Vienna
  Cabinet, with Bronze and Porcelain, by Games, St. Petersburg
  Casket of Ivory, with Ormolu Mountings, by Matifat, Paris
  Table and Chair, in the Classic Style, by Capello, Turin
Cabinet of Ebony, with Carnelions, by Litchfield & Radclyffe (1862
  Exhibition, London)
Cabinet of Ebony, with Boxwood Carvings, by Fourdinois, Paris (1867
  Exhibition, Paris)
Cabinet of Satinwood, with Wedgwood Plaques, by Wright and Mansfield (1867
  Exhibition, Paris)
Cabinet of Ebony and Ivory by Andrea Picchi, Florence (1867 Exhibition,
The Ellesmere Cabinet
The Saloon at Sandringham House
The Drawing Room at Sandringham House
Carved Frame by Radspieler, Munich
Carved Oak Flemish Armoire, as Tail Piece
A Sixteenth Century Workshop

Chapter I.

Ancient Furniture.

   BIBLICAL REFERENCES: Solomon's House and Temple--Palace of Ahashuerus.
   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.

Biblical References.

The first reference to woodwork is to be found in the Book of Genesis, in
the instructions given to Noah to make an Ark of[1] gopher wood, "to make
a window," to "pitch it within and without with pitch," and to observe
definite measurements. From the specific directions 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 carry 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 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 a history of furniture. One of these is the verse (Kings ii. chap. 4)
which tells us the contents of the "little chamber in the wall," when
Elisha visited the Shunamite, about B.C. 895; 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." The other incident
is some 420 years later, when, in the allusion to the grandeur of the
palace of Ahashuerus, 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 Soltan'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 animals, be of a similar

Assyrian Furniture.

[Illustration: Part of Assyrian Bronze Throne and Footstool, about B.C.
880, Reign of Asshurnazirpat. (_From a photo by Mansell & Co. of the
original in the British Museum._)]

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, 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
Khorsabad, 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 rains
of Nirnrod's palace, which shews ability of high order for skilled metal

Mr. Smith, the famous Assyrian excavator and translator of cuneiform
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 coloured in horizontal bands of red, green, and
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 interesting fact that on the under
side of the bricks he found the legend of Shalmeneser II. (B.C. 860), who
probably built this palace.

[Illustration: Assyrian Chair from Khorsabad. (_In the British Museum._)]

[Illustration: Assyrian Chair from Xanthus. (_In the British Museum._)]

[Illustration: Assyrian Throne. (_In the British Museum._)]

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 at others being part of the merely decorative design.

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 years
later than the bronze throne and footstool.

[Illustration: Repose of King Asshurbanipal. (_From a Bas relief in the
British Museum._)]

Egyptian Furniture.

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

[Illustration: "Stool", "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 & Co. of the originals in the British

Nothing can be more suitable for its purpose then the "Workman'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 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.

[Illustration: An Egyptian of High Rank Seated. (_From a Photo by Mansell
& Co. of the Original Wall Painting in the British Museum._) PERIOD: B.C.

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
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.

[Illustration: An Egyptian Banquet. (_From a Wall Painting at Thebes._)]

Amongst these are boxes 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, was 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 day."

The above paragraph forms part of the notice with which the late Dr.
Birch, the eminent antiquarian, formerly at the head of this department 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 interesting people.
In one of these will be seen a representation of the wooden head-rest
which prevented the disarrangement of the coiffure of an Egyptian lady of
rank. A very similiar head-rest, with a cushion attached for comfort to
the neck, is still in common use by the Japanese of the present day.

[Illustration: Chair with Captives As Supports. (_From Papyrus in British

[Illustration: An Ivory Box.]

[Illustration: Bacchus and Attendants Visiting Icarus. (_Reproduced from
a Bas-relief in the British Museum._) Period: About A.d. 100.]

Greek Furniture.

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

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. On the opposite leaf there is an
illustration of a has relief in stone, "Bacchus received as a guest by
Icarus," in which the couch has turned legs and the feet are ornamented
with carved leaf work.

[Illustration: GREEK BEDSTEAD WITH A TABLE. (_From an old Wall

We know, too, from other illustrations of tripods used for sacred
purposes, and as supports for braziers, 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 lions,
leopards, and sphinxes to that which we have noticed in the Assyrian

[Illustration: Greek Furniture. (_From Antique Bas reliefs._)]

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. 655-625). 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

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 enrichment 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 _chef d'oeuvres_ of Phidias 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.

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.

Roman Furniture.

As we are accustomed to look to Greek Art of the time of Pericles for
purity of style and perfection of taste, so do we naturally expect the
gradual demoralisation of art 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 civilised 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 prosperity. The houses had no upper story, but were formed
by the enclosure of two or more quadrangles, each surrounded by courts
opening into rooms, and receiving air and ventilation from the centre open
square or court. The illustration 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 _domus_ 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. [Illustration: Interior of an
Ancient Roman House. Said to have been that of Sallust. Period: B.C. 20 TO
A.D. 20.]

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. Ivory was
much used, and not only 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 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.

[Illustration: Roman State Chair. (_From the Marble example in the Musée
du Louvre._)]

[Illustration: Roman Bronze Lamp and Stand. (_Found in Pompeii._)]

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 has made
a collection of woods named in the Scriptures, has 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.[2]

Roman, like Greek houses, were divided into two portions--the front for
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 given here 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 favorite 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.

[Illustration: Roman Scamnum or Bench.]

[Illustration: Roman Bisellium, or Seat for Two Persons. But generally
occupied by one, on occasions of festivals, 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 at the end of this chapter 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 they 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 an 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 doubtless 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 colouring of
Eastern hangings and embroideries, of rich carpets and comfortable
cushions, of the lavish use of gold and silver, and meritricious and
redundant ornament.

[Illustration: Roman Couch, Generally of Bronze. (_From an Antique Bas

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
manufactures 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 they 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.

[Illustration: A Roman Study. Shewing Scrolls or Books in a "Scrinium;"
also Lamp, Writing Tablets, etc.]

[Illustration: The Roman Triclinium, or Dining Room.

The plan in the margin shews the position of guests; the place of honor
was that which is indicated by "No. 1," and that of the host by "No. 9."

(_The Illustration is taken from Dr. Jacob von Falke's "Kunst im

[Illustration: Plan of a Triclinium.]

Chapter II.

The Middle Ages.

   Period of 1000 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.


The 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 panorama 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, for a common
cause, united 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 the close, a time of comparative
civilisation and progress, of darkness giving way to the light which
followed; the night of the Middle Ages preceding the dawn of the

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

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

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

[Illustration: Chair of St. Peter, Rome.]

Formerly there was in Venice another chair of St. Peter, 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 Michel, son of Theophilus
(824-864), to the Venetian Republic in recognition of services rendered,
by either the Doge Gradonico, who died in 1864, 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 was read upon it, 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 afterwards 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.

[Illustration: Dagobert Chair. Chair of Dagobert, of gilt bronze, now in
the Museé 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.]

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 "Manners,
Customs, and Dress of the Middle Ages," tells us that the trichorium 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 always
very 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 illuminations and missals of
these remote times. They represent chiefly the seats of state used by
sovereigns on the occasions of grand banquets, or of some ecclesiastical
function, and from the valuable collections of these documents in the
National Libraries of Paris and Brussels, some illustrations are
reproduced, and it is evident from such 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 Cæsarism of Napoleon I., during the early years of the
nineteenth century, produced so many designs which we now recognise as

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.

[Illustration: A Carved Norwegian Doorway. Period: X. to XI. Century.]

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

Under this 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.

[Illustration: Carved Wood Chair, Scandinavian Work. Period: 12th to 13th

The covers and caskets of early mediaeval times were no inconsiderable
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 archæology, 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 Mr. A.W. Franks, F.S.A., and is one of the
many valuable specimens given to the British Museum by its generous

[Illustration: 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 _mise en scéne_ of a novel for an authority, we shall imagine the
more easily what kind of furniture our Anglo-Saxon forefathers indulged

[Illustration: Saxon House of 9th or 10th Century. (_From the Harleian
MSS. in the British Museum._)]

"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 daïs, 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 transversely across the
platform, from the middle of which ran the longer and lower board, at
which the domestics 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 daïs, and over these
seats and the elevated table was fastened a canopy of cloth, which served
in some degree to 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 daïs 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 bed-clothes (bed-reafes) with a curtain (hyrite) and sheet
(hepp-scrytan), and all that thereto belongs," should be given to his son.

In the account of the murder of King Athelbert by the Queen 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."

[Illustration: Anglo Saxon Furniture of About the Tenth 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 däis," "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 storytellers,
the minstrels, and the gleemen (conjurers) or jesters, beguiling the
festive hour by their different performances.

[Illustration: The Seat on The Daïs.]

[Illustration: Saxon State Bed.]

Some of these Anglo-Saxon houses had formerly been the villas of the
Romans during their occupation, 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
Saxonised Roman houses, in his reference to Hilda's abode.

The gradual influence of Norman civilisation, however, had its effect,
though the unsettled state of the country prevented any rapid development
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 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 were made in some of the rooms, of brick or
stonework, 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 carving, and Presses date from
about the end of the eleventh century.

[Illustration: English Folding Chair, 14th Century.[3]]

[Illustration: 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 shows 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 Westminster 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 following 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.[4]

The carved lions which support the chair are not original, but modern
work; and were regilt in honour of the Jubilee of Her Majesty in 1887,
when the chair was last used. The rest of the chair now shows 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 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 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. 7d. '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.'"

[Illustration: Coronation Chair. Westminster Abbey.]

In 1328, June 1, there is 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 never went. 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.

[Illustration: 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 the 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
therein, 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

[Illustration: Chair. In St. Mary's Hall, Coventry. Chair. From an Old
English Monastery. Period: XV. Century.]

Penshurst Place, near Tonbridge, the residence of Lord de l'Isle 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 Lord de l'Isle, the writer has
been 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 then appeared, when that
part of the house was the scene of the chief events in the life of the
family--the raised daïs for host and honoured guests, the better table
which was placed there (illustrated) 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 possess the only hearth of the time 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.

[Illustration: "Standing" Table at Penshurst, Still on the Daïs in the

[Illustration: Bedroom in which a Knight and His Lady are Seated. (_From a
Miniature in "Othea," a Poem by Christine de Pisan. XIV. Century,

An idea of the furniture of an apartment in France during the fourteenth
century is conveyed by the above illustration, 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 lady" were arranged. The prie dieu chair was generally
at the bedside, and had a seat which lifted up, the lower part forming a
box-like receptacle for devotional books then so regularly used by a lady
of the time.

[Illustration: Bedstead and Chair in Carved Oak. _From Miniatures in the
Royal Library, Brussels._ Period: XIV. Century.]

Towards the end of the fourteenth century there was in high quarters a
taste for bright and rich colouring; we have the testimony of an old
writer who describes the interior of the Hotel de Bohême, 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 Burgundy 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 inventory--'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, Geneva, Florence, Milan,
Ghent, Bruges, Antwerp, and many other famous cities had traded
extensively with the East and had grown opulent, and their homes naturally
showed signs of wealth and comfort that in former times had been
impossible to any but princes and rich nobles. Laws had been made in
answer to 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[5] 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 description of a
furnished apartment in P. Lacroix's "Manners and Customs of the Middle

"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 lady was not the wife of a great merchant, such as 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.'"

[Illustration: "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 Hélaine," National Library of Paris_)]

As we approach the end of the fourteenth century, we find canopies added
to the "chaires" or "chayers á dorseret," which were carved in oak or
chesnut, 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 century.

[Illustration: 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 incrustation 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.

[Illustration: 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 a back carved in the Gothic ornament of the time. In
Skeat's Dictionary, our modern word "banquet" is said to be derived from
the banes or benches used on these occasions.

[Illustration: A High Backed Chair, in Carved Oak (Gothic Style). Period:
XV. Century. French.]

[Illustration: Mediaeval Bed and Bedroom. (_From Viollet-le-Duc._)
Period: XIV. to XV. Century. French.]

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 take place,
was also furnished with three "dressoirs" for the display of the gold and
silver drinking cups, and vases of the time; the repast 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.

[Illustration: Scribe or Copyist. Working at his desk in a room in which
are a reading desk and a chest with manuscript. (_From an Old Minature_)
Period: XV. Century.]

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 supply the inventory of the furniture of the chief room in a house
of a well-to-do merchant in France until the fourteenth 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 p. 39.

Turning to German work of the fifteenth century, there is a cast of the
famous choir stalls in the Cathedral of Ulm, which are considered 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; and 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.

[Illustration: Two German Chairs (Late 15th Century). (_From Drawings made
in Old German Castles 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 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 of the celebrated Pulpit in the
Baptistry of Pisa, the date of which is 1260. 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.

[Illustration: Carved Oak Buffet in Gothic Style (Viollet le Duc).
Period: XV. Century. French.]

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 here illustrated is an example of this transition, and may be
contrasted with the French Gothic buffet referred to in the following
paragraph. 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.

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

[Illustration: Carved Oak Table. Period: Late XV. or Early XVI. Century.

[Illustration: Flemish Buffet. 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.

[Illustration: A Tapestried Room in a French Chateau, With Oak Chests as

[Illustration: Carved Oak Seat, With moveabls Backrest, in front of
Fireplace. Period: Late XV. Century. French.]

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 Riesener 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."

[Illustration: Interior of An Apothecary's Shop. Late XIV. or Early XV.
Century. Flemish. (_From an Old Painting._)]

[Illustration: Court of the Ladies of Queen Anne of Brittany. (_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.]

Chapter III.

The Renaissance.

   THE RENAISSANCE IN ITALY: Leonardo da Vinci and Raffaele--Church of St.
   Peter, contemporary 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. Bonnaffé 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 Dürer--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 Carpenter's Company--The
   Great Bed of Ware--Shakespeare's Chair--Penshurst Place.


It is impossible to write about the period of the Renaissance without
grave misgivings as to the ability to render justice to a period which has
employed the pens of many cultivated writers, and to which whole volumes,
nay libraries, 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 and 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 glorious Athenian artists of old.

The Renaissance in Italy.

Italy was the birthplace of the Renaissance. Leonardo da Vinci and
Raffaele may be said to have guided and 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, Michelino, and introduced the
beautiful simplicity and purity of the Grecian and Roman styles."

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 Raffaele, to whose superintendence Pope Leo X.
confided the work on the death of the architect in 1514, Michael Angelo
having the charge committed to him some years after Raffaele's death.

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.

[Illustration: Reproduction of Decoration By Raffaelle. In the Loggie of
the Vatican. Period: Italian Renaissance.]

[Illustration: A Sixteenth Century Room. Reproduced from the "Magazine of
Art" (By Permission)]

[Illustration: Salon of M. Edmond Bonnaffé, Decorated and Furnished in
the Renaissance Style.]

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 Germany had in
turn striven to acquire her fertile soil, gave the princes and nobles
leisure to rebuild and adorn their palaces; and the excavations 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 was a
member of that remarkable and powerful family the Medicis, the very
mention of whom 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 encouragement and scope for
the employment of their talents. Michael Angelo, Titian, Raffaele Sanzio,
Andrea del Sarto, Correggio, and many other great artists were raising up
monuments of everlasting fame; Palladio was rebuilding the palaces of
Italy, which were then the wonder of the world; Benvenuto Cellini and
Lorenzo Ghiberti were designing those marvellous chef d'oeuvres 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.

[Illustration: Chair in Carved Walnut. Found in the house of Michael

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 aspire to 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 _cassone_, of oak, or more commonly of chesnut
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 are
so many evidences of a style which is palatial rather than domestic, in
design as in proportion.

[Illustration: 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; this kind of decoration was termed "gesso work."

[Illustration: Marriage Coffer in Carved Walnut. (Collection of Comte de
Briges.) Period: Renaissance (XVI. Century) Venetian.]

[Illustration: Marriage Coffer, Carved and Gilt with Painted Subject.
Italian. XVI. Century.]

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 through the faded gold, the
harmony of color is very satisfactory.

[Illustration: Pair of Italian Carved Bellows, in Walnut Wood. (_South
Kensington Museum._)]

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 chesnut wood, which were
almost invariably employed.

Of the smaller articles of furniture, the "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 of bellows in the South Kensington collection.

[Illustration: Carved Italian Mirror Frame, 16th 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 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 dexterity of those
monks at this work.[6] It is true that 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 in 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 introduced. 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
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 give definition to the design.

[Illustration: A Sixteenth Century "Coffre-Fort."]

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
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 _raison 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 these safeguards for valuable documents at a
time when the modern burglar-proof safe had not been thought of.

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 last chapter as to
the present.

"Pietra-dura" as an ornament was first introduced in 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; tortoiseshell,
brass, mother of pearl, and other enrichments were introduced 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.

Edmond Bonnaffe, contrasting the latter period of Italian Renaissance with
that of sixteenth century French woodwork, has pithily remarked: "_Chez
cux, l'art du bois consiste à le dissimuler, chez nous à le faire

[Illustration: Italian Coffer with Medallions of Ivory. 15th Century.
(_South Kensington Museum._)]

In Ruskin's "Stones of Venice," the author alludes to this
over-ornamentation of the latter Renaissance in severe terms. After
describing the progress of art in Venice from Byzantine to Gothic, and
from Gothic to Renaissance he subdivides 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 elements, seasons, months, the cardinal virtues, or the
battle scenes and triumphal processions of earlier times.

[Illustration: Carved Walnut Wood Italian Chairs. 16th Century. (_From
Photos of the originals in the South Kensington Museum._)]

[Illustration: Ebony Cabinet. With marble mosaics, and bronze gilt
ornaments, Florentine work. Period: XVII. Century.]

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 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

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 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.

[Illustration: Venetian State Chair. Carved and Gilt Frame, Upholstered
with Embroidered Velvet. Date about 1670. (_In the possession of H.M. the
Queen at Windsor Castle._)]

The Renaissance In France.

From Italy the great revival of industrial art travelled to France.
Charles VIII., who for two years had held Naples (1494-96), brought
amongst 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 Vinci and Andrea
del Sarto came from Florence to decorate the interior. Guilio Romano, who
had assisted Raffaele 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 later that of Marie de Medici with Henri Quatre
continued that influence. Diane de Poietiers, mistress of Henri 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,[7] 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 the 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
Viollet 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.

[Illustration: Ornamental Panelling in St. Vincent's Church, Rouen.
Period: Early French Renaissance. Temp. Francois I.]

[Illustration: Chimney Piece. In the Gallery of Henri II., Chateau of
Fontainebleau. Period: French Renaissance, Early XVI. Century.]

The large high-backed chair of the sixteenth century "_chaire à haut
dossier,"_ the arm chair "_chaire à bras," "chaire tournante_," for
domestic use, are all of this time, and some illustrations will show the
highly finished carved work of Renaissance style which prevailed.

Besides the "_chaire_" which was reserved for the "_seigneur_," there were
smaller and more convenient stools, the X form supports of which were
also carved.

[Illustration: 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 generally decorated with carving,
the upper, part having richly carved panels, which when open disclosed
drawers with fronts minutely carved.

M. Edmond Bonnaffé, 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 "menuisiers," and in the old documents
certain articles of furniture are particularized as "_fait à Paris_."

He also mentions that Francis I. preferred to employ native workmen, and
that the Italians were retained only 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 garnies de leurs tréteaux," "chandeliers de bois_" and other

[Illustration: Facsimiles of Engravings on Wood, By J. Amman, in the 16th
century, showing interiors of Workshops of the period.]

The bedstead, of which there is an illustration, 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 Quatre, 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

[Illustration: Carved Oak Bedstead of Jeanne D'albret. From the Chateau
of Pau. (Collection "Mobilier National.") Period: French Renaissance (Date

[Illustration: Carved Oak Cabinet. Made at Lyons. Period: Latter Part of
XVI. Century.]

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.

Towards the latter part 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 the
plaster cast of a large chimney-piece from the Chateau of the Seigneur de
Villeroy, near Menecy, by Germain 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. This cast is in the same collection.

During the 'Louis Treize' 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 dictionary to denote the less throne-like 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 visible and slightly carved.
In the illustration here given, the King and his courtiers are seated on
chairs such as have been described. Marqueterie was more common; large
armoires, clients 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 colour 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.

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 three or four 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 Dinan, there were still to be seen many 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.

[Illustration: Louis XIII. And His Court in a Hall, Witnessing a Play.
(_From a Miniature dated_ 1643.)]

[Illustration: Decoration for a Salon in Louis XIII. Style.]

The Renaissance in the Netherlands.

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, the houses of the
Burgomasters, the Town Halls, and the 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 wood work 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
d'oeuvre_ 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, André 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 coloured black to indicate the marble of which
it was composed, with panels of alabaster carved in relief, while the
whole of the upper portion and the richly carved ceiling of the room is of
oak. The model, including the surrounding woodwork, measures thirty-six
feet across, and should not be missed by any one who is interested in the
subject of furniture, for it is noteworthy historically as well as
artistically, 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 royal families with which the conqueror claimed
connection, are prominent features in the intricate 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 Audenarde, 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.

[Illustration: An Ebony Armoire, Richly Carved, Flemish Renaissance. (_In
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 we
recognise as "Flemish Renaissance."

Lucas Faydherbe, architect and sculptor (1617-1694)--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, 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.

[Illustration: A Barber's Shop. From a Wood Engraving by J. Amman. 16th
Century. Shewing a Chair of the time.]

In the chapter on Jacobean furniture, we shall see the influence and
assistance which England derived 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 a high order, and though 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,
and these generally form 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 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 colouring of the woods is varied, and the effect
heightened by the addition of small pieces of mother of pearl and ivory.
Later, this marqueterie became florid, badly finished, and the colouring
of the veneers crude and gaudy. Old pieces of plain mahogany furniture
were decorated with a thin layer of highly coloured veneering, a
meretricious ornamentation altogether lacking refinement.

There is, however, a peculiarity and character about some of the furniture
of North Holland, in the towns 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 farm houses of the Nord-Hollander were
furnished with the rush-bottomed chairs, painted green; the three-legged
tables, and dower chests painted in flowers and figures of a rude
description, with the colouring chiefly green and bright red, is extremely

[Illustration: A Flemish Citizen at Meals. (_From a XVI, Century MS._)]

The Renaissance in Spain.

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

[Illustration: Sedan Chair Of Charles V. Probably made in the Netherlands.
Arranged with moveable back and uprights to form a canopy when desired.
(_In the Royal Armoury, Madrid._)]

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 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 repoussé plaques of silver, and later of tortoiseshell, of
ebony, and of scarce woods from her Indian possessions; though in a more
general way chesnut was still a favorite medium.

Contemporary 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. Riario, 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
Borgoña. He was the chief promoter of the Italian style, 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."

[Illustration: Silver Table, Late 16th or Early 17th Century. (_In the
Queen's Collection, Windsor Castle._)]

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 "Varguenos," 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 classify them." * * *

[Illustration: Chair of Walnut or Chesnut Wood, Covered in Leather with
embossed pattern. Spanish, (Collection of Baron de Vallière.) Period:
Early XVII. Century.]

[Illustration: Wooden Coffer. With wrought iron mounts and falling flap,
on carved stand. Spanish. (Collection of M. Monbrison.) Period: XVII.

"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 Her 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 tortoiseshell, representing episodes in
the history of _Don Quichotte_, and 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
where 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 treatment.

To the seventeenth century also belong 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 chesnut,
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 different 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 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 chesnut (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.

The Renaissance in Germany.

German Renaissance may be said to have made its debut under Albrecht
Dürer. There was already in many of the German cities a disposition to
copy Flemish artists, but under Dürer'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 towns.

Although made of steel, the celebrated chair at Longford Castle in
Wiltshire is worthy 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 different events in
history; a triumphal procession of Caesar, the Prophet Daniel explaining
his dream, the landing of Aeneas, 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 said to include
an exuberant realism and a fondness for minute detail. M. Bonnaffé has
described this work in a telling phrase: "_l'ensemble est tourmenté,
laborieux, touffu tumultueux_."

[Illustration: The Steel Chair, At Longford Castle, Wiltshire.]

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,
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 backs 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 1651, 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 Rev. Mother at the head
of S. Saviour's to say that any one who is interested in Art will be
allowed to see the chapel.

[Illustration: German Carved Oak Buffet, 17th Century. (_From a Drawing by
Prof. Heideloff._)]

The Renaissance In England.

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 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.

[Illustration: Carved Oak Chest in the Style of Holbein.]

The joiner's work played 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 architecture
as the "Perpendicular," some of the finest specimens of oak 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 part of the seats, or "misericords,"
are especially 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

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 specified.

   "Ye cobards they be made ye facyon of livery y is w'thout doors."

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 bedstead, and a chair, some
benches, and the board on trestles, which formed the table of the period.
This room, called a "parler" or "privée 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 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

[Illustration: Chair Said To Have Belonged to Anna Boleyn, Hever Castle.
(_From the Collection of Mr. Godwin, F.S.A._)]

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.

[Illustration: Tudor Cabinet in the South Kensington Museum. (_Described

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 4 ft. 7 in. and width 3 ft. 1 in., 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 an exceedingly judicious

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 p. 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 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 allowed.

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 ebony
seats, and as the actual date of the will of Alderman Glasseor quoted
below is 1589, we may gather from the extract given, something 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-chamberlain:--

   "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 pence

   A joyned frame xvj_d_.

   A bord ij_s_. vj_d_.

   A little side table upon a frame ij_s_. v_d_.

   A pair of virginalls with the frame xxx_s_.

   Sixe joyned stooles covr'd with nedle werke xv_s_.

   Sixe other joyned stooles vj_s_.

   One cheare of nedle worke iij_s_. iiij_d_.

   Two little fote stooles iiij_d_.

   One longe carpett of Turky werke vil_i_.

   A shortte carpett of the same werke xiij_s_. iij_d_.

   One cupbord carpett of the same x_s_.

   Sixe quysshens of Turkye xij_s_.

   Sixe quysshens of tapestree xx_s_.

   And others of velvet "embroidered wt gold and silver armes in the

   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 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, Longleaf, 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 in cases where Flemish or
Italian carvers were not employed, the actual execution was often by 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.

[Illustration: 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 work than English.
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 4 ft. 5 ins. by 3 ft. 6 ins. It bears the date 1559 and
initials R. M.; this was the year in which Roland Meyrick became Bishop of
Bangor, and 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, described above, 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 had been 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 for toilet use.

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

Indeed, there was no glass used for windows[8] previous to the fifteenth
century, the substitute being shaved horn, parchment, and sometimes 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 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 52 ft.
and average height 8 ft. 3 in. If this panelling could be arranged as it
was fitted originally in the house of one of Elizabeth's subjects, with
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.

[Illustration: Carved Oak Elizabethan Bedstead.]

A later purchase by the Science and Art Department, which was only secured
last year for the extremely moderate price of £1,000, is the panelling of
a room some 23 ft. square and 12 ft. 6 in. 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 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 fluted
with 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 of nearly 200 years ago.

[Illustration: Oak Wainscoting, From an old house in Exeter. S. Kensington
Museum. Period: English Renaissance (About 1550-75).]

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 1593, and has all
the 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,
Sir Thomas Sutton, a citizen who was reputed to be one of the wealthiest
of his time, and some of the furniture given by him will be found noticed
in the chapter on the Jacobean period.

[Illustration: Dining Hall in the Charterhouse. Shewing Oak Screen and
front of Minstrels' Gallery, dated 1571. Period: Elizabethan.]

[Illustration: Screen in the Hall of Gray's Inn. With Table and Desks
referred to.]

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. An illustration of the carved screen
supporting the Minstrels' Gallery in the older Hall is given by permission
of Mr. William R. Douthwaite, librarian of the "Inn," for whose work,
"Gray's Inn, its History and Associations," it was specially prepared. 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 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 later still. It may be mentioned here, too,
that the long table which stands at the opposite end of the Hall, on the
daïs, 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 daïs), are of unmistakable Dutch origin, and, so far as the
writer's observations and investigations have gone, were 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 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 Courts of Chancery," there are
several facts of interest in connection with the woodwork of Middle
Temple. He mentions that the screen was paid for by contributions 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.

[Illustration: Three Carved Oak Panels. Now in the Court Room of the Hall
of the Carpenters' Company. Removed from the former Hall. Period:

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 iij_s_."

   "Paide to the Carver for carvinge the Arms of the Companie xxiij_s_.

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 many 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

[Illustration: 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 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 early seventeenth
century needlework.

[Illustration: The Entrance Hall, Hardwick Hall. Period Of Furniture,
Jacobean, XVII. Century.]

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 p. 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

   "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 em
   down, go about it."

Another illustration shows 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 shew 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
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, and, as a domestic seat, into a dignified throne; tables have,
towards 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 supported by corbels, have been
replaced by handsome carved oak erections, ornamenting the hall or room
from floor to ceiling, and the English livery cupboard, with its foreign
contemporary the buffet, is the forerunner of the sideboard of the future.

[Illustration: Shakespeare's Chair.]

[Illustration: The Great Bed of Ware. Formerly at the Saracen's Head,
Ware, but now at Rye House, Broxbourne, Herts. Period: XVI. Century.]

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, Germany, Spain, and England, we have the
elegancies and grace with which Art, and increased means of gratifying
taste, enabled the sixteenth century virtuoso to adorn his home.

[Illustration: The "Queen's Room," Penshurst Place. (_Reproduced from
"Historic Houses of the United Kingdom" by permission of Messrs. Cassell &
Co., Limited._)]

[Illustration: Carved Oak Chimney Piece in Speke Hall, Near Liverpool.
Period: Elizabethan.]

Chapter IV.

Jacobean furniture.

   English Home Life in the Reign of James I.--Sir Henry Wootton
   quoted--Inigo Jones 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.


In 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 place.

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 any time
bring destruction upon the household by giving information about items of
conversation he had overheard. There is a passage in one of Sir Henry
Wootton'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, may
well deserve by these attributes, according to the degree of the master,
to be delightfully adorned."

[Illustration: Oak Chimney Piece 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.]

Sir Henry Wootton was ambassador in Venice in 1604, and is said to have
been the author of the well-known definition of an ambassador's calling,
namely, "an honest man sent abroad to lie for his country's good." This
offended the piety of James I., and caused him for some time to be in
disgrace. He also published some 20 years later "Elements of
Architecture," and being an antiquarian and man of taste, sent home many
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 Vitruvius, 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

[Illustration: Chimney Piece in Byfleet House. Early Jacobean.]

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, though
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 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 that 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.

[Illustration: The King's Chamber, Ford Castle.]

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 Art_. 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
have belonged to the earlier period.

The illustrations of wooden chimney-pieces will show 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 somewhat 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.

[Illustration: Carved Oak Centre Table. _In the Hall of the Carpenters'

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 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, and it shews signs of having been made with
considerable skill and care.

[Illustration: Carved Oak Chair. From Abingdon Park.

Carved Oak Chair. In the Carpenters' Hall

_From Photos in the S. Kensington Museum Album._ Early XVII. Century.

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

[Illustration: Oak Chimney Piece. Removed from an old house in Lime
Street, City. (_South Kensington Museum._) Period: James I.]

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
corporation. There are some three or four tallies of 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,
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 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.

[Illustration: Oak Sideboard in the S. Kensington Museum. Period: William

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 four others at the corners; these, while being
cast in the simple lines noticed in 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, about this date, 1615-20; it
is mounted on a stand which has three feet in front and two behind, much
more primitive and quaint than the ornate supports of Elizabethan carving,
while the only ornament on the drawer fronts which form the frieze of the
stand are moulded panels, in the centre of each of which 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 shows 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 last year from the Hailstone
collection, though dated 1614, is really more Elizabethan in design.

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 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 occupied.

In the carved work of this furniture we cannot help thinking the hand of
the Venetian is to be traced, and it is probable they were either imported
or copied from a pattern brought over for the 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 X 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 100 from a drawing
of Mr. Charles Eastlake's.

[Illustration: Seats at Knole. Covered with Crimson Silk Velvet. Period:
James I.]

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.

[Illustration: Arm Chair. Covered with Velvet, Ringed with Fringe and
studded with Copper Nails. Early XVII. Century. (_From a Drawing of the
Original at Knole, by Mr. Charles Eastlake._)]

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 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 description.

[Illustration: The "Spangle" Bedroom At Knole. The Furniture of this room
was presented by James I. to the Earl of Middlesex. (_Front a Photo by Mr.
Corke, of Sevenoaks._)]

It seems from the Knole furniture, and a comparison of the designs with
those 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, showing 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 cupids in
a flying attitude holding up a crown. This kind of furniture was generally
gilt, and under the black paint of those at Knole are still to be seen
traces of the gold.

Mr. Eastlake visited Knole and made 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 a slip of paper
tucked beneath the webbing of a settle there, with an inscription in Old
English characters which fixed the date of some of the furniture at 1620.
In a letter to the writer on this subject, Mr. Lionel Sackville West
confirms this date by referring to the heirloom book, which also bears out
the writer'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 shown 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.

In Holland House, Kensington,[9] which is a good example of a Jacobean
mansion, there is some oak enrichment of the seventeenth century, and also
a garden bench, with its back formed of three shells and the legs shaped
and ornamented with scroll work. Horace Walpole mentions this seat, and
ascribes the design to Francesco Cleyn, who worked for Charles I. and some
of the Court.

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 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.

Another relic of this time is the panel of carved oak in the lych gate of
St. Giles', Bloomsbury, dated 1638. This is a realistic representation of
"The Resurrection," and when the writer examined it a few weeks ago, it
seemed in danger of perishing for lack of a little care and attention.

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 Raffaele Cartoons to encourage the
work--and much was to be hoped from a monarch who had the 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; it 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 by carved work. The
word trestle, by the way, is 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 says:--

    "... 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 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, although it remains to us as a souvenir of the
past in the name we still give to any body of men meeting for the
transaction of business, or in its more social meaning, expressing
festivity. 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 long after there was any necessity for its

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 two flaps which drew out 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, and 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 its extended size. There is one of these
tables in the Stationers' Hall.

[Illustration: Couch, Arm Chair and Single Chair. Carved and Gilt.
Upholstered in rich Silk Velvet. Part of Suite at Penshurst Place. Also an
Italian Cabinet. Period: Charles II.]

[Illustration: Folding Table at Penshurst Place. Period: Charles II. to
James II.]

[Illustration: "Drawing" Table with Black Lines Inlaid. Period: Charles

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 velvet gown"
of Malvolio having come from a "day bed," and there is also an allusion to
one in Richard III.[10]

In a volume of "Notes and Queries" there is a note which would show 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 wearing apparel
belonging to a certain Lady 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 to furnish a
lady's bedroom in the reign of James I. or of his successor.

[Illustration: Theodore Hook's Chair.]

[Illustration: Scrowled Chair in Carved Oak.]

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. Dalton, 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 work box or ash stained to a greenish black to
represent green ebony, with a few small pieces of rich red wood then in
great favour; and, says Mr. G. T. Robinson, to whose article mentioned
above we are indebted for the description, "probably brought by some
buccaneer from the West." Mr. Robinson 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 p. 106.

Another chair which played an important part in history is the one in
which Charles I. sat during his trial; this was exhibited in the Stuart
Exhibition in London in 1889. The illustration is taken from a print in
"The Illustrated London News" of the time.

[Illustration: Chair Used by King Charles I. During His Trial.]

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 appear to have survived, but there are still to be seen
in pictures of the period a chair represented as covered with crimson
velvet, studded with brass nails, the seat trimmed with fringe, similar to
that at Knole, illustrated on p. 100.

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 p. 107.)

[Illustration: Carved Oak Chair. Said to have been used by Cromwell. (_The
original in the possession of T. Knollys Parr, Esq._)]

[Illustration: Carved Oak Chair, Jacobean Style. (_The original in the
Author's possession._)]

Inlaid work, which had been crude and rough in the time of Elizabeth,
became more in fashion as means increased of decorating both the furniture
and the woodwork panelling of the rooms of the Stuart period. Mahogany had
been discovered by Raleigh as early as 1595, but did not come into general
use until the middle of the eighteenth century.

The importation of scarce foreign woods in small quantities gave an
impetus to this description of work, which in the marqueterie of Italy,
France, Holland, Germany, and Spain, had already made great progress.

[Illustration: Settle of Carved Oak. Probably made in Yorkshire. Period:
Charles II.]

Within the past year, owing to the extensions 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. It will shortly be arranged 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. This was the residence of Sir Paul Pindar, diplomatist, during
the time of Charles I., and it contained a carved oak chimney-piece, with
some other good ornamental woodwork of this period. The quaint and
richly-carved chimney-piece, which was dated 1600, and other decorative
work, was removed early in the present century, when the possessors of
that time were making "improvements."

[Illustration: Staircase in General Ireton's House, Dated 1630.]

[Illustration: Pattern of a Chinese Lac Screen. (_In the South Kensington

In the illustration of a child's chair, which is said to have been
actually used by Cromwell, 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
was an heirloom since one of his ancestors 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 above illustration, however, 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 they chose, and no longer regarded the chair as the lord's place. A
style of chair, which we still recognise as Cromwellian, was also largely
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
the 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, and there is a chair of this Indo-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 illustration on the next
page shews all the details of the carving. Another woodcut, on a smaller
scale, represents a similar chair grouped with a settee of a 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 Flemish, judging by one now in the South Kensington

In connection with this Indo-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 effect 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
the lathe the effect which had just come into fashion. There are, too, in
some illustrations in "Shaw's Ancient Furniture," some lamp-holders, in
which this spiral turning is overdone, as is generally the case when any
particular kind of ornament comes into vogue.

[Illustration: Settee And Chair. In carved ebony, part of Indo-Portuguese
suite at Penshurst Place, with Flemish folding chair. Period: Charles II.]

[Illustration: Carved Ebony Chair of Indo-portuguese Work, Given by
Charles II. to Elias Ashmole, Esq. (_In the Museum at Oxford_).]

Probably the illustrated suite of furniture at Penshurst Place, which
comprises thirteen pieces, was imported about this time; two of the
smaller chairs appear to have their original cushions, the others have
been lately re-covered by Lord de l'Isle 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.[11]
... 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

After the great fire which occurred in 1666, and destroyed some 13,000
houses and no less than 80 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 Louis XIV. has left to posterity no
work which can bear a comparison with St. Paul's."


    Sedes, ecce tibi? quæ tot produxit alumnos
      Quot gremio nutrit Granta, quot. Isis habet.

_From the Original by Sir Peter Lely, presented to Dr. Busby by King
Charles_ "Sedes Busbiana" From a Print in the possession of J. C. THYNNE,
Esq. Period: Charles II.]

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. 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 is
referred to later on.

It may be mentioned here that amongst the few churches in the city which
escaped the great fire, and contain woodwork of particular note, are St.
Helen's, Bishopgate, 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

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 wainscoting and windows on the opposite
side to the fireplace, reminding one of the port-holes 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 different 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 p. 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 decoration 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 30 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, with 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 condition."

[Illustration: The Master's Chair. (_Hall of the Brewers' Company._)]

Mr. Rivington read his paper to the London and Middlesex Archaeological
Society in 1881; and the writer can with pleasure confirm the statement as
to the condition, in 1892, 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 daïs (long since removed), is
somewhat similar to the Brewers', and presents a fine architectural
effect, which will be observed in the illustration on p. 117.

[Illustration: Carved Oak Livery Cupboard. In the Hall of the
Stationers'Company. Made in 1674, the curved pediment added later,
probably in 1788.]

[Illustration: Carved Oak Napkin Press Lent to the S. Kensington Museum by
H. Farrer, Esq. Early XVII. Century.]

There is above, an illustration of one of the two livery cupboards, which
formerly stood on the daïs, and these are good examples of the cupboards
for display of plate of this period. The lower part was formerly the
receptacle of unused viands, 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.

[Illustration: Arm Chairs.

Chair upholstered in Spitalfields silk. Hampton Court Palace.

Carved and upholstered Chair. Hardwick Hall.

Chair upholstered in Spitalfields silk. Knole, Sevenoaks.

Period: William III. To Queen Anne.]

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 places.

[Illustration: Carved Oak Screen. In the Hall of the Stationers' Company,
erected in 1674: the Royal Coat of 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

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 hitherto had 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 "Earle of Norwich," in
Epping Forest, says, "A good many pictures put into the wainstcot which
Mr. Baker, his lordship's predecessor, brought from Spaine." Indeed,
subsequently the wainscot became simply the frame for pictures, and we
have the same writer deploring the disuse of timber, and expressing 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, the life-like
birds and flowers, the 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, at Petworth
House, in Sussex. He also sculptured in stone. The base of King Charles'
statue at Windsor, the font of St. James', Piccadilly (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 boyhood 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

[Illustration: Silver Furniture at Knole. (_From a Photo by Mr. Corke, of

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 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
and the _torchères_ 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 _torchères_, 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 of a
similar character, more or less costly, according to circumstances. The
silver table bears the English Hall mark of the reign.

As we approach the end of the seventeenth century and examine specimens of
English furniture about 1680 to 1700, we find a marked Flemish influence.
The Stadtholder, King William III., with his Dutch friends, imported many
of their household goods[12], and our English craftsmen seem to have
copied these very closely. 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 which 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

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 walls, a table, the livery cupboard previously described, and some
three or four chairs, had formed almost the whole furniture of reception

The first mention of corner cupboards appears to have been made in an
advertisement of a Dutch joiner in "The Postman" of March 8th, 1711; these
cupboards, with their carved pediments being part of the modern fittings
of a room in 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 cupboards," "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 defining the word "bureau" as
"a cabinet or chest of drawers, or 'scrutoir' for depositing papers or

In the latter half of the eighteenth century those 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 these which is in the South Kensington Museum, date
1700, and no doubt the manufacture of similar ones 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 wall-nut."

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
Palace for the Queen's victorious general, and also Castle Howard.
Nicholas Hawksmoor had erected St. George's. Bloomsbury, 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 Georges."

The contents of Hampton Court Palace afford evidence of the transition
which the design of woodwork and furniture has undergone 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, 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 _torchéres_,
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.

[Illustration: Three Chimneypieces. Designed by James Gibes, Architect, in

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,
that is, the seventeenth century, is the best in the traditions 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.

In the ninth and last chapter, which will deal with furniture of the
present day, the methods of production which are now in practice will be
noticed, and some 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 comparatively 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 Europe.

Chapter V.

The Furniture of Eastern Countries.

   CHINESE FURNITURE: Probable source of artistic taste--Sir William
   Chambers quoted--Racinet's "Le Costume Historique"--Dutch
   influence--The South Kensington and the 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 Table--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.

Chinese and Japanese Furniture.


We 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, Bhopal in 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;
and the marvellous dexterity in manipulating wood, ivory and stone which
we recognize in the Chinese of to-day, is inherited from their ancestors.

Sir William Chambers travelled in China in the early part of the last
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 moveables 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 moveables 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 live 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
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 best 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 fourteenth 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 stand cups of
tea ready to 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 men and horses are of ivory, or sometimes with ivory
faces and limbs, the clothes being chiefly in 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 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. Jacquemart:--

"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 flat 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 marquctcrie.

The most highly prized is the LACQUER ON GOLD GROUND, and the specimens of
this which first reached Europe during the time of Louis XV., were
presentation pieces from the Japanese Princes to some of the Dutch

Gold ground lacquer 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 highly burnished. Small placques of this beautiful ware
were used for some of the choicest pieces of Gouthière's elegant furniture
made for Marie Antoinette.

Aventurine lacquer closely imitates in color the sparkling mineral from
which it takes its name, and a less highly finished preparation 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 were used by Riesener and mounted by
Gouthière in some of the most costly furniture made for Marie Antoinette;
some specimens are in the Louvre. It is this kind of lacquer, in varying
qualities, that is usually found in cabinets, folding screens, coffers,
tables, etagéres, and other ornamental articles of furniture. Enriched
with inlay of mother of pearl, the effect of which is in some cases
heightened and rendered more effective by some 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

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 1867.

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 the Arts, 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 subsequently
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

[Illustration: Japanese Cabinet of Red Chased Lacquer Work. XVII to XVIII

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 Shôgun, who had sent his treasures there to 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, exported to meet the
modern demand. The present Government 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 _régime_, 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 3 ft. 3 in.
long and 2 ft. 1 in. 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 aventurine, 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.

H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh has 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 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
these masters of elaborate design and skilful manipulation: 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 decorative work on Chinese and Japanese
furniture, it may be said that more eccentricity is effected by the latter
than by the former in their designs and general decorative work. 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.

Indian Furniture.

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 since then 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 amongst sundry petty princes.

The thrones 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 highly decorated with gold and silver and
color, which seems very well suited to the arched openings, carved and
gilt doors, and brilliant costumes of the occupants of these Indian

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 being given as models, while the details of the ornament have
been left to native taste.

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
pottery, which was so manifest in the contributions sent to South
Kensington at the Colonial Exhibition, 1886. There are in the Indian
Museum at South Kensington several examples of this Bombay furniture, and
also some of Cingalese manufacture.

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.

The Queen has 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 unmistakcably the influence of French taste in
their general form and contour. Articles, such as boxes, stands for gongs,
etc., are to be found carved in sandal wood, and in _dalburgia,_ 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 p. 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 ivory flowers, others
have a rosette of carved ivory in the centre, and pieces of talc with
green and red colour 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."

[Illustration: Casket of Indian Lacquer Work.]

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
repousée 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.

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,
and afterwards presented by the Commissioners to the Museum.

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. Dr. 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 whole surface covered with small details of ornament, is a good
example of the sixteenth and seventeenth century work. The various façades
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-coloured pieces of transparent glass.

Some of the 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 photograph 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
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 maché and lacquer work are also frequently found in small articles
of furniture; and the collection of drawings by native artists attests 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 conquests and generations has varied
but little.

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 antiquarian), 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 wordwork of native workmanship. Those in the Museum, and in
other collections, are generally small ornamental articles. The chief
reason of 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

[Illustration: Door of Carved Sandal Wood, from Travancore. India Museum,
South Kensington. Period: Probably Late XVIII. Century.]

In the manufacture of textile fabrics--notably, their famous carpets of
Yezd and Ispahan, and their embroidered cloths in hammered and engraved
metal work, and formerly in beautiful pottery and porcelain--they have
excelled: and 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 burner is,
therefore, given to mark the method of design, which was adopted in a
modified form by the Persians from their Arab conquerors.

[Illustration: Incense Burner of Engraved Brass. (_In the South Kensington

This method of design has one or two special characteristics which are
worth noticing. One of these was 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 have given
us the "Arabesque" form of ornament, which, in artistic nomenclature,
occurs so frequently.

The general method of decorating woodwork is similar to that of India, 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 colours 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,"
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 artizans, 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-live 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

In the South Kensington Museum there are several specimens of Persian
lacquer work, which have very much the appearance of papier maché 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.

Saracenic Woodwork From Cairo and Damascus.

While the changes of fashion in Western, as contrasted with Eastern
countries, are comparatively rapid, the record of two or three centuries
presenting a history of great and well-defined alterations in manners,
customs, and therefore, of furniture, the more conservative 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 consequence, 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 be just as
well 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

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 painted in colour and
gold; the spaces 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 "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 coloured 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, therefore, to Him morning and evening."

[Illustration: Governor's Palace, Manfalut. Shewing a Window of Arab
Lattice Work, similar to that of the Damascus Room in the South Kensington

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 good example of native work.

[Illustration: Specimen of Saracenic Panelling of Cedar, Ebony, and Ivory.
(_In the South Kensington Museum._)]

The illustration on p. 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 the
kind. The date is about the seventeenth century.

For those who would gain an extended knowledge of Saracenic or Arabian Art
industry, "_L'Art 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 noticing that
our word "sofa" is of Arab derivation, the word "suffah" meaning "a couch
or place for reclining before the door of Eastern houses." In Skeat's
Dictionary the word is said to have first occurred in the "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."

[Illustration: A Carved Door of Syrian Work. (_South Kensington Museum._)]

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

Thus do the habits and tastes of different nations act and re-act upon
each other. Western peoples have carried eastward their civilisation 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.

[Illustration: Shaped Panel of Saracenic Work in Carved Bone or Ivory.]

[Illustration: Boule Armoire. Designed by Le Brun, formerly in the
"Hamilton Palace" Collection and purchased (Wertheimer) for £12,075 the
pair. Period: Louis XIV.]

Chapter VI.

French Furniture.

   PALACE OF VERSAILLES: "Grand" and "Petit Trianon"--the three Styles of
   Louis XIV., XV. and XVI.--Colbert and Lebrun--André 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 Gouthière Mountings--Sêvres 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--Gouthière'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


There 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,[13] 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 a smattering of knowledge of the
characteristic 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 its later development, too ornate and
effeminate, with an elaboration of enrichment, culminating in the rococo
style of Louis Quinze.

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 Musée du Louvre, in the
Jones Collection in the South Kensington Museum, and in other public and
private collections: of these several illustrations are given.

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 André
Charles Boule, _ciseleur et doreur 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, to which
designs of furniture were admitted. The celebrated Gobelins tapestry
factory was also established; and it was here 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 André Charles Boule, of whom but little is known. 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 tortoiseshell, 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
process,[14] which left upon the metal a thick deposit of gold, and were
cunningly chiselled by the skilful hands of Caffieri or his

[Illustration: Boule Armoire, In the "Jones" Collection, S. Kensington
Museum. Louis XIV. Period.]

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 handsaw; 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 and two left
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
_Museé 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 p. 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 p. 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 between £4,000 and £5,000.

In some of the best of Boule'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 with the
costume of a Roman general. The absurd combination which characterises
this affectation of the classic costume is also found in portraits of our
George II.

[Illustration: Pedestal Cabinet, By Boule, formerly in Mr. Baring's
Collection. Purchased by Mr. Jones for £3,000. (_South Kensington

The masks, satyrs, and ram's heads, the scrolls and the foliage, are also
very bold in specimens of this class of Boule's work; and the "sun" (that
is, a mask surrounded with rays of light) 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 has its votaries and imitators
now, as it had in his own time. The word one frequently finds misspelt
"Buhl," and this has come to represent any similar mode of decorations on
furniture, no matter how meretricious or common it may be.

[Illustration: A Concert during the Reign of Louis XIV. (_From a
Miniature, dated 1696._)]

Later in the reign, 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 colour 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 conformed to a
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

[Illustration: Panel for a Screen. Painted by Watteau. 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; and 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. 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._

[Illustration: Decoration of a Salon in Louis XIV. Style.]

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 _canapé_, or sofa, and six
_fauteils_, 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.[15]

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 of the best, and the tapestry not too much worn, if
offered for public competition, would probably realise between £3,000 and

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 easily be referred to, and compared with others of the
two succeeding reigns, whose furniture we are now going to consider.

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 was 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 illustration.

Louis XV.

When the old King died, at the ripe age of 77, 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.

[Illustration: Boule Commode, Probably made during the period of the
Regency (_Museé 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 contracts.

[Illustration: French Sedan Chair. (_From an Engraving in the South
Kensington Art Library._) Period: Louis XV.]

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 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
in composition of this period, is seen 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

[Illustration: Part of a Salon, Decorated in the Louis Quinze style,
showing the carved and gilt Console Table and Mirror, with other
enrichments, _en suite_.]

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 or Beauvais, 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 the exchange of
compliments; the stately cabinet is modified into the _bombé_ 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 smaller and more elegant cabinets, 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 _étagère_, 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 à porteur_, 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.

[Illustration: Console Table, Carved and Gilt. (_Collection of M. Double,

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.

[Illustration: Louis XV. Carved And Gilt "Fauteui." Upholstered with
Beauvais tapestry. Subject from La Fontaine's Fables.]

During the preceding reign the Chinese lacquer ware then in use was
imported from the East, the fashion for collecting which had grown 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 mounted in
panels to decorate the table, or cabinet, and to display the lacquer.
_Ébenistés_, 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 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 trifling details in the costumes and foliage of
decoration, not strictly Oriental in character.

[Illustration: Commode. With Panels of fine old Laquer and Mountings by
Caffieri. _Jones Collection, S. Kensington Museum._ Period of Louis XV.]

About 1740-4 the Martin family had three manufactories of this peculiar
and fashionable ware, which became known as Vernis-Martin, or Martins'
Varnish; and it is singular 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 colours; such
subjects as "Cupid Awakening Venus," "The Triumph of Galatea," "Nymphs and
Goddesses," "Garden Scenes," and "Fêtes Champêtres," being represented in
accordance with the taste of the period. It may 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.

[Illustration: In Parqueterie with massive Mountings of Gilt Bronze,
probably by Caffieri, (_Formerly in the Hamilton Palace Collection.
Purchased_ (_Westheims_), £6,247 ICS.) Louis XV. Period.]

The gilt bronze mountings of the furniture 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 Caffieri, 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 has never been
equalled and could not be excelled. Time has now mellowed the colour 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 exceedingly 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 XV. had made the Sêvres Porcelain Manufactory a State
enterprise; and later, as that celebrated undertaking progressed, tables
and cabinets were ornamented with plaques of the beautiful and choice
_pâte 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 Gouthière. 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 Sêvres 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.

[Illustration: Bureau Du Roi. Made for Louis XV. by Riesener. (Collection
of "Mobilier National.") (_From a pen and ink drawing by H. Evans._)
Period: Louis XV.]

Gouthière 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.

Without doubt, the most important example of _meubles de luxe_ of this
reign is the famous "Bureau du Roi," made for Louis XV. in 1769, and which
appears fully described in the inventory of the "Garde Meuble" in the year
1775, under No. 2541. This description is very minute, and is fully quoted
by M. Williamson in his valuable work, "Les Meubles d'Art du Mobilier
National," and occupies 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 Riesner'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, à
l'arsenal de Paris." Riesener is said to have received the order for this
bureau from the King in 1767, upon the occasion of the marriage of this
favourite Court _ébeniste_ with the widow of his former master Oeben. Its
production therefore would seem to have taken about two years.

This celebrated chef d'oeuvre 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 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 offered for
sale, between fifteen and twenty thousand pounds. A full-page illustration
of this famous piece of furniture is given.

A similar bureau is in the Hertford (Wallace) collection, which was made
to the order of Stanilaus, King of Poland; a copy executed by Zwiener, a
very clever _ébeniste_ of the present day in Paris, at a cost of some
three thousand pounds, is in the same collection.

Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette.

[Illustration: Boudoir Furnished in the Taste of the Louis XVI. Period.]

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 bourgeoise 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 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

[Illustration: Part of a Salon. Decorated and furnished in the Louis XVI.

Gradually, under the new regime, architecture became more simple; broken
scrolls are replaced by straight lines, curves and arches only occur when
justifiable, and columns and pilasters reappear in the ornamental façades
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 have 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 a Fragonard or a Chardin; and the portraits of innocent
children by Greuze replace the courting shepherds and mythological
goddesses of Boucher and Lancret. Sculpture, too, becomes 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 is
over-elaborate, was properly subordinate to the design and did not control

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 1711, and in the latter in 1750, these can scarcely be the
immediate cause; the reason most probably is that a reversion 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 hollow fluting plain and free. 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 Sêvres 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 would be used for wreaths and
accessories, while the former, or ordinary gilding, was applied to the
general surface. The legs of tables are generally fluted, as noticed
above, tapering towards the feet, and are relieved from a stilted
appearance by being connected by a stretcher.

[Illustration: Marqueterie Cabinet. With Plaques of Sêvres China (_In the
Jones Collection, South Kensington Museum._)]

[Illustration: Writing Table. Made by Riesener for Marie Antoinette.
Collection "Mobilier National." (_From a-pen and ink drawing by H.
Evans._) Period: Late Louis XV.]

There occurs in M. Williamson's valuable contribution to the literature
of our subject ("_Les 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 3 ft. 6 in. 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 doré_, the subject being a
group of cupids, representing the triumph of Poetry, and on each side a
scroll with a head and foliage (the only ornament characteristic of Louis
Quinze style) connecting leg and frieze. M. Williamson quotes verbatim the
memorandum of which this was the subject. It was made for the Trianon and
the date is just one year after Marie Antoinette's marriage:--"Memoire des
ouvrages faits et livrés, par les ordres de Monsieur le Chevalier de
Fontanieu, pour le garde meuble du Roy par Riesener, ébeniste 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.
There is a full page illustration of this table.

The maker of this piece of furniture was the same Riesener whose
masterpiece is the magnificent _Bureau du Roi_ which we have already
alluded to in the Louvre. This celebrated _ébeniste_ 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 show much fertility, 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 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
Château of Fontainebleau, which cost a million francs (£4,000)--an
enormous sum in those days--is one of his _chefs d'oeuvre_, and this 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
Gouthière's skill in mounting, are impossible to reproduce 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 Reine_." There is no date on the
table, but the secretaire is stamped 1790, and the commode 1791. If we
assume that the table was produced in 1792, 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 completed.

[Illustration: The "Marie Antoinette" Writing Table. (_Formerly in the
Hamilton Palace Collection._)]

[Illustration: Bedstead of Marie Antoinette, From Fontainebleau.
Collection "Mobilier National." (_From a pen and ink drawing by H.
Evans._) Period: Louis XVI.]

The fine work of Riesener required the mounting of an artist of quite
equal merit, and in Gouthière he was most fortunate. There is a famous
clock case in the Hertford collection, fully signed "Gouthière, ciseleur
et doreur du roi à Paris Quai Pelletier, à la Boucle d'or, 1771." He
worked, however, chiefly in conjunction with Riesener and David Roentgen
for the decoration 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 Gouthière's gilt bronze, with caryatides figures of the same
material at the ends supporting the cornice.

[Illustration: Cylinder Secretaire, In Marqueterie, with Bronze Gilt
Mountings, by Gouthière. (_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
must be regarded as the _chef d'oeuvre_ of Gouthière.

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 Sêvres porcelain, which treatment is better
adapted to the more jewel-like mounting of this time than to the rococo
style in vogue during the preceding reign.

[Illustration: Arm Chair In Louis XVI. Style.]

The upholstered furniture became simpler in design; the sofas and chairs
have generally, but not invariably, straight fluted tapering legs, but
these sometimes have the flutings spiral instead of perpendicular, and 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 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, and small occasional pieces, the legs of
which, like those of the chairs, are occasionally curved. An excellent
example of a piece with cabriole legs is the charming little Marie
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 he adopted as an almost
invariable rule, it is more probably the work of David.

[Illustration: Carved and Gilt Causeuse or Settee, and Fauteuil or Arm
Chair, Covered with Beauvais tapestry. (Collection "Mobilier National.")
(_From a pen and ink drawing by H. Evans._) Period: End of Louis XVI.]

[Illustration: Carved and Gilt Canapé or Sofa. Covered with Beauvais
tapestry. (Colection "Mobilier Natioanal.") Period: End of Louis XVI.]

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

[Illustration: Marqueterie Escritoire. By Davis, said to have belonged to
Marie Antoinette. (_Jones Collection, South Kensington Museum._)]

The influence exercised by the splendour of the Court of Louis Quatorze,
and by the bringing together of artists and skilled handicraftsmen 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 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 in a great many examples of the work of Flemish,
German, English, and Spanish cabinet makers, and there are one or two
which may be easily referred to which it is worth while to mention.

One of these 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 which, with the other 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 curved
lines of chair and table 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 of some of the
English designers and makers of the latter half of the eighteenth century.
Of Italy it may be observed generally that the Renaissance of Raffaele,
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 been discussing, and although the
freedom and grace of the Italian carving, and the elaboration of inlaid
arabesques, 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.

[Illustration: A Norse Interior, Shewing Chairs of Dutch Design. Period:
Late XVII. or Early XVIII. Century.]

There are many other museum specimens which might be referred to to prove
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; for while 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
Scandinavian connection existed, is a characteristic mark of the country,
the design of the two chairs 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 Norwav.

[Illustration: Secretaire, In King and Tulip Wood, with Sêvres Plaques and
Ormolu Mountings. Period: Early Louis XVI.]

It would be unfitting to close this chapter on French furniture without
paying a 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 collection.

In money value alone, the collection of furniture, porcelain, bronzes,
and _articles de vertú,_ 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 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

[Illustration: Clock, By Robin, in Marqueterie Case, with Mountings of
Gilt Bronze, (_Jones Collection. South Kensington Museum._) Louis XVI.

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 régime_.
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 Sêvres-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
palæontologist. 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

[Illustration: Harpsichord, from the Permanent Collection belonging to
South Kensington Museum. Date: About 1750.]

[Illustration: Italian Sedan Chair. Used at the Baptism of the Grand
Ducal Family of Tuscany, now in the South Kensington Museum. Period:
Latter Half of XVIII. Century.]

Chapter VII.

Chippendale and his Contemporaries.

   Chinese style--Sir William Chambers--The Brothers Adams'
   work--Pergelesi, 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.

Soon 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
successor'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," after 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
consequently 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, would 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 shew 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 three magnificent volumes,
"Works on Architecture." One of these was dedicated to King George III.,
to whom he was appointed architect. Many of his designs for furniture were
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 decoration.
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
pateroe in satin wood.

Pergolesi, Cipriani and Angelica Kaufmann 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' "_compo_'" (in reality a
revival of the old Italian gesso work), but also painted the ornamental
cabinets, occasional tables, and chairs of the time.

[Illustration: Fac-simile of Original Drawings by Robert Adam (Reduced).]

Towards the end of the century, satin wood was introduced into England
from the East Indies; it became very fashionable, and was a favourite
ground-work for decoration, the medallions of figure subjects, generally
of cupids, wood-nymphs, or illustrations of mythological fables on darker
coloured 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, and which the
authorities should not, in the writer's opinion, have labelled

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 the Adams' 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

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 wood-work. There can be seen in the South
Kensington Museum a pair of pedestals of this period (1770-1790) so

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 appears
to have succeeded his father, a chair maker, and to have carried on a
large and successful business in St. Martin's Lane, which was at this time
an important Art centre, and close to the newly-founded Royal Academy.

[Illustration: English Satinwood Dressing Table. With Painted Decoration.
End of XVIII. Century.]

[Illustration: Chimneypiece and Overmantel. 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 _fac simile_ on page 178.

[Illustration: Chairs, With ornament in the Chinese style, by Thomas

This valuable work of reference contains over two hundred copperplate
engravings of chairs, sofas, bedsteads, mirror frames, girandoles,
torchéres or lamp stands, dressing tables, cabinets, chimney pieces,
organs, jardiniéres, 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 being 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
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 quieter and more classic designs of
Adam and his contemporaries.

[Illustration: _Fac-Simile of the Title Page of Chippendale's "Director."
(Reduced by Photography.) The Original is in Folio Size_.

    Being a large COLLECTION of the

    Including a great VARIETY of

    and COMMODES;
    private Rooms, or Churches, DESKS, and


    Proper DIRECTIONS for executing the most difficult Pieces, the
    Mouldings being exhibited at large, and the Dimensions of each DESIGN

    The Whole comprehended in Two HUNDRED COPPER-PLATES, neatly engraved.

    Calculated to improve and refine the present TASTE, and suited to the
    Fancy and Circumstances of Persons in all Degrees of Life.

    CABINET-MAKER and UPHOLSTERER, in St. Martin's Lane, London.



    Printed for the AUTHOR, and sold at his House, in St. Martin's Lane;
    Also by T. BECKET and P.A. DeHONDT, in the Strand.


[Illustration: Fac-simile of a Page in Chippendale's "Director." (The
original is folio size.)]

[Illustration: Tea Caddy, Carved in the French style. (From Chippendale's

In the chapter on Louis XV. and Louis XVI. furniture, it has been shewn
how France 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 recognise 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 the Adams' treatment. It was helped forward by the migration
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 "Bombé-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. Others 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
Aesop'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 profession have been diligent enough to represent
   them (espescially those after the Gothick and Chinese manner) as so
   many specious drawings impossible to be worked off by any mechanick
   whatsoever. I will not scruple 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
   design in the book can be improved, both as to Beauty and Enrichment,
   in the execution of it, by

   "Their most obedient servant,


[Illustration: A Bureau, From Chippendale's "Director."]

The reader will notice that in the examples selected from Chippendale'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 very rarely 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 pagoda. Upon examining a piece of
furniture that may reasonably be ascribed to him, it will be found of
excellent workmanship, and the wood, always mahogany without any inlay, is
richly marked, shewing a careful selection of material.

[Illustration: Fac-simile of a Page In Chippendale's "Director." (The
original is folio size.)]

[Illustration: "French" Commode and Lamp Stands. Designed by T.
Chippendale, and Published in His "Director."]

[Illustration: Fac-simile of a Page in Chippendale's "Director." (The
original is folio size.)]

[Illustration: Chimneypiece and Mirror. Designed By T. Chippendale, and
Published in His "Director."]


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, counterbalances this defect to
some extent, and a good Chippendale mahogany chair will ever be an elegant
and graceful 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. Carved in rich Spanish mahogany, and upholstered
in morocco leather, the ornament consists of scrolls and cornucopiæ, 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.

[Illustration: 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 names of two designers and makers of mahogany ornamental furniture,
which deserve to be remembered equally with Chippendale, are those of W.
Ince and J. Mayhew, who were partners in business in Broad Street, Golden
Square, and contemporary with him. They 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 the furniture with the designs, it is
difficult to distinguish between the work of these 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 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-work 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 of Chippendale.

Other well known designers and manufacturers of this time were
Hepplewhite, who published a book of designs very similar to those of his
contemporaries, and Matthias Lock, some of whose original drawings were on
view in the Exhibition of 1862, and had interesting memoranda attached,
giving the names of his workmen and the wages paid: from these it appears
that five shillings a day 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 every way to those of Sheraton, his

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.

[Illustration: China Shelves, Designed by W. Ince. (Reproduced by
Photography from an old Print in the Author's Possession.)]

[Illustration: Girandoles and Pier Table, Designed by W. Thomas,
Architect, 1783. (Reproduced by Photography from an old Print in the
Author's possession.)]

"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 predecessors 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

It is amusing to think how soon the "mutabilities of fashion" did for a
time supersede many of his designs.

A selection of designs 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.

[Illustration: Toilet Glass.

Urn Stand.

(_From "Hepplewhite's Guide"._)]

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

"Library case" instead of Bookcase.

"Confidante" and "Duchesse," which were sofas of the time.

"Gouty stool," a stool having an adjustable top.

"Tea chest," "Urn stand," and other names which have now disappeared from
ordinary use in describing similar articles.

[Illustration: Ladies' Secretaires, Designed by W. Ince. (Reproduced by
Photography from an old Print in the Author's possession.)]

[Illustration: Parlour Chairs, Designed by W. Ince.]

[Illustration: Desk and Bookcase, Designed by W. Ince. (Reproduced by
Photography from an old Print in the Author's possession.)]

[Illustration: China Cabinet, Designed by J. Mayhew. (Reproduced from an
old Print in the Author's possession).]

[Illustration: "Dressing Chairs," Designed by J. Mayhew. These shew the
influence of Sir W. Chamber's Chinese style.]

Hepplewhite had a _specialité_, 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 sees,
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 one 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.

"The plan of a room shewing the proper distribution of the furniture,"
appears on p. 193 to give an idea of the fashion of the day; 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 year
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 a support for 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 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.[17]

[Illustration: Tea Tray.]

[Illustration: Girandole.]

[Illustration: Tea Tray.]

[Illustration: Parlour Chair, with Prince Of Wales' Plumes.]

[Illustration: Pier Table.]

[Illustration: Parlour Chair.]

[Illustration: Designs of Furniture. From Hepplewhite's "Guide," Published

[Illustration: Fac-simile of a Page in Hepplewhite's "Cabinet Maker's
Guide." Published In 1787.]

It was not until 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 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 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."

[Illustration: Inlaid Tea Caddy and Top of Pier Tables. (_From
"Hepplewhite's Guide"_)]

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 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 was the thirteenth
child of the Richard Gillow before mentioned; he learnt that this same
Richard Gillow retired in 1830, and died as late as 1866 at the age of 90.
Dowbiggin, founder of the firm of Holland and Sons, was an apprentice to
Richard Gillow.

Mahogany may be said to have come into general use 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 the 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 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 invited
his friends to see the new work; amongst others, the Duchess of Buckingham
begged a small piece of the precious wood, and 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.

[Illustration: Kneehole Table, by Sheraton.]

Thomas Sheraton, who commenced work some 20 years later than Chippendale,
and continued it until the early part of the nineteenth century,
accomplished much excellent work in English furniture.

The fashion had now changed; instead of the rococo or rock work (literally
rock-scroll) and shell (_rocquaille et cocquaille_) 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. Some of this is very delicate and of excellent workmanship.
He introduced occasionally animals with foliated extremities into his
scrolls, 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 fashionable during Queen Anne's reign. It was then chiefly found
in stone, marble, or cut brickwork, but subsequently became prevalent in
inlaid woodwork.

[Illustration: Chairs, by Sheraton.]

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
wonderful 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.

[Illustration: Chair Backs, from Sheraton's "Cabinet Maker."]

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.[18] 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 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 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 this chapter is somewhat long, on account of the endeavour to
give more detailed information about English furniture of the latter half
of last century, than of some other periods, in consequence of the
prevailing taste for our National manufacture of this time, 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 15th and 16th
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

   "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 enclosed cupboard gradually disappeared, and soon
after the mahogany side table came into fashion it became the custom to
supplement this article of furniture by a 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 lanky 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.

A brass rail at the back of the side table with ornamental 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.

The full page illustrations will give the reader a good idea of this
arrangement, and it would 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 cellarette 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 simpler cellaret
of Sheraton's period.

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 1617, 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."

[Illustration: Urn Stand.]

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 the little slide which is drawn out from underneath
the table top. In those days tea was an expensive luxury, and the urn
stand, of which there is an illustration, inlaid in the fashion of the
time, is a dainty relic of the past, together with the old mahogany or
marqueterie tea caddy, which was sometimes the object of considerable
skill and care. One of these designed by Chippendale is illustrated on p.
179, and another by Hepplewhite will be found on p. 194. They were fitted
with two and sometimes three bottles or tea-pays 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

[Illustration: A Sideboard in Mahogany with Inlay of Satinwood. In the
Style of Robert Adam.]

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 were found 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 flat 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 last 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 custody.

[Illustration: Carved Jardiniere, by Chippendale.]

[Illustration: A China Cabinet, and a Bookcase With Secretaire. Designed
by T. Sheraton, and published in his "Cabinet Maker and Upholsterer's
Drawing Book," 1793.]

Chapter VIII.

First Half of the Nineteenth Century

   The French Revolution and 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 first part of present reign--Continental
   designs--Italian carving--Cabinet work--General remarks.

Empire Furniture.


There 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 the 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. The
confiscation of the property of those who had fled the country was added
to 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 Art, 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 _ébeniste_,
whose work we have described in the chapter on Louis Seize furniture, and
David, the famous painter of the time, both served on this Commission, of
which they must have been valuable members.

There is a passage quoted by Mr. C. Perkins, the American translator of
Dr. Falke's German work "Kunst im Hause," which gives us the keynote to
the great change which took place in the fashion of furniture about the
time of the Revolution. In an article on "Art," says this democratic
French writer, as early as 1790, when the great storm cloud was already
threatening to burst, "We have changed everything; freedom, now
consolidated in France, has restored the pure taste of 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 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, emblematical of freedom; and antique heads of helmeted warriors
arranged like cameo medallions.

After the execution of Robespierre, and the abolition of the Revolutionary
Tribunal in 1794, came the choice of the Directory: and then, after
Buonaparte's brilliant success in Italy, and the famous expeditions 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 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.

[Illustration: Cabinet in Mahogany with Bronze Gilt Mountings, Presented
by Napoleon I. to Marie Louise on his Marriage with her in 1810 Period:
Napoleon I.]

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 was almost invariably rich mahogany, the colour of which made a
good ground for the bronze gilt mounts which were applied. The full-page
illustration shews these, 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
colour and figuring of the rich Spanish mahogany used.

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
invariably of good material with careful finish.

[Illustration: 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.

The best authority on "Empire Furniture" is the book of designs, published
in 1809 by the architects Percier and Fontaine, which 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 illustrations on p. 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 colour of the mahogany, the high finish and good
gilding of the bronze mounts, and the costly 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
consideration 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

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 lions' heads and
sphinxes, designs which could have been derived from no other source; and
the general design of the furniture loses its bombé 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 _l'epoch de la
Directoire_ and _le style de l'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, surmounted by a laurel wreath, or the
Imperial eagle which had so often led the French legions to victory.

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.

[Illustration: Nelson's Chairs. Designs Published by T. Sheraton, October
29th, 1806.]

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
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 are 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 coloured
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 wanting in gracefulness with its French
contemporary, and not having the compensating attractions of fine
mounting, or the originality and individuality which must always add an
interest to Napoleonic furniture.

[Illustration: Drawing Room Chair. Design published by T. Sheraton,
April, 1804.]

[Illustration: Drawing Room Chair. Design published by T. Sheraton,
April 1, 1804.]

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, chairs, cabinets and
sideboards of his make, inlaid with scrolls and lines of flat 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.

[Illustration: "Canopy Bed" Design Published by T. Sheraton, November
9th, 1803.]

[Illustration: "Sister's Cylinder Bookcase." Designed by T. Sheraton,

[Illustration: Sideboard, In Mahogany, with Brass Rail and Convex Mirror
at back, Design published by T. Sheraton, 1802.]

[Illustration: Sofa Table, Design published by T. Sheraton, 1804.]

A very favourable example of the craze in England for classic design in
furniture and decoration, is shown in the reproduction of a drawing by
Thomas 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, when requested by
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 furniture.

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 still carries 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 Mr.
Alma Tadema, R.A.

[Illustration: Design of a Room, in the Classic Style, by Thomas Hope,
Architect, In 1807.]

Snell, of Albemarle Street, had been established early in the century, and
obtained an excellent reputation; his specialité 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 of 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 Grace, 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. With regard
to this, more will be said in the next chapter.

There was then a very limited market for any but the most commonplace
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
warehouses, 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, Cavendish 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. "Escritore, jardiniere, dejuné 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 reproduced, shew
the fashion of our so-called artistic furniture in England at the time of
the Regency. Mr. Smith, in the "Preliminary Remarks" prefacing the
illustrations, gives us an idea of the prevailing taste, which it is
instructive to peruse, looking back now some three-quarters of a

[Illustration: "Library Fauteuil." Reproduced from Smith's Book of
Designs, published in 1804]

"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 may 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 mahogany."

[Illustration: "Parlor Chairs," Shewing the Inlay of Brass referred to.
From Smith's Book of Designs, published 1808.]

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
colour, and have, in some cases, heraldic shields, with crests and coats
of arms picked out in colour. There are window seats painted to imitate
marble, with the Roman or Greco-Roman ornaments painted green to represent
bronze. The most unobjectionable are 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.

[Illustration: Bookcase. Design Published by T. Sheraton, June 12th,
1806. _Note_.--Very similar bookcases are in the London Mansion House.]

In the Court Room of the Skinners' Company there are tables which are now
used' with extensions, so as to form a horseshoe table for committee
meetings. They are good examples of the heavy and solid carving in
mahogany, early in the century before the fashion had gone out of
representing the heads and feet of animals in the designs of furniture.
These tables have massive legs, with lion's heads and claws, carved with
great skill and shewing much spirit, the wood being of the best quality
and rich in color.

[Illustration: "Drawing Room Chairs in Profile." From G. Smith's Book,
published 1808.]

Early Victorian.

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 l'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," [19] 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 the present Queen'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 an earlier chapter, had undergone a change which is 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,[20] 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 only was retained, which is now termed the "skirting

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

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 this present 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

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., being amongst the witnesses examined. The report of
this Committee, in 1841, 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 1811, he had published in 1835 his
"Designs for Gothic Furniture," and later 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
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

[Illustration: Prie-dieu, In Carved Oak, enriched with Painting and
Gilding. Designed by Mr. Pugin, and manufactured by Mr. Crace, London.]

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

[Illustration: Secretaire And Bookcase, In Carved Oak, in the style of
German Gothic. (_From Drawing by Professor Heideloff, Published in the
"Art Union," 1816._)]

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
Journal_. 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 couches, "causeuses," 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 by the limits of this chapter,
the eminent firm of Jackson and Graham were making headway, a French
designer named Prignot being 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
have recently 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 quality 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 Her
Majesty at Windsor 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 and Manson, 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 day, and the printed descriptions
rarely exceed a single line. The prices very rarely amount to more than
£10; the whole proceeds of a day's sale were often less than £100, and
sometimes did not reach £50. At the sale of "Rosslyn House," Hampstead, in
1830, a mansion of considerable importance, the highest-priced article was
"A capital maghogany pedestal sideboard, with hot closet, cellaret, 2
plate drawers, and fluted legs," which brought £32. At the sale of the
property of "A man of Fashion," "a marqueterie cabinet, inlaid with
trophies, the panels of Sêvres china, mounted in ormolu," sold for
twenty-five guineas; and a "Reisener (_sic_) table, beautifully inlaid
with flowers, and drawers," which appears to have been reserved at nine
guineas, was bought in at eight-and-a-half guineas. Frequenters of
Christie's of the present day who have seen such furniture realize as many
pounds as the shillings included in such sums, will appreciate the
enormously increased value of really good old French furniture.

Perhaps the most noticeable comparison between the present day and that of
half-a-century ago may be made in reading through the prices of 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 amounting
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 and by tens; 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, Raldock, 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 25th and 26th, 1841. Lot 31. "A small oval table, with a piece of
Sêvres 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 p. 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 1813 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, and with its adoption
there seems to have been a gradual abandonment of the 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.

[Illustration: Cradle, In Boxwood, for H.M. the Queen. Designed and Carved
by H. Rogers, London.]

In France the success of national exhibitions had become assured, the
exhibitors having increased from only 110 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
exhibition of manufactures was at Birmingham in 1849; and from the
illustrated review of this in the _Art Journal_ one can see 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 the Queen,
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 carvings about seven years previously.

[Illustration: Design for a Tea Caddy, By J. Strudwick, for Inlaying and
Ivory. Published as one of the "Original Designs for Manufacturers" in
_Art Journal_, 1829.]

The cradle was also, by the Queen'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 Gothe, 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

[Illustration: Design for One of the Wings of a Sideboard, By W. Holmes.
Exhibited at the "Society of Art" in 1818, and published by the _Art
Journal_ in 1829.]

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 suggestions
for manufacturers and carvers, amongst others, the drawings of H.
Fitzcook, one of whose designs for a work table we are able to reproduce.
Other more or less constant contributors of original designs for furniture
were J. Strudwick and W. Holmes, a design from the pencil of each of whom
is given.

[Illustration: 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
honour on the marble chimney piece, and on the console, or pier table,
which was also of gilt stucco, with a marble slab. The cheffonier, 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 colouring; 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 in 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 had shewn people the advantages of the lightness and
cleanliness of these materials.

In a word, from the early part of the present century, until the impetus
given to Art by the 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 sustained
a higher standard than England, and such figure work as was introduced
into 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 became more carelessly carved and the
decoration less considered. Ivory inlaying was largely executed in Milan
and Venice; mosaics of marble were specialites of Rome and of Florence,
and were much applied to 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 time of the
Renaissance there is a great falling off, still, the work executed in
Italy during the present century has been of considerable merit as regards
ornament, though this has been overdone. In construction and joinery,
however, the Italian work has been 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 come to notice
some of the representative exhibits in the great International Competition
of 1851, 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 amongst 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 1851,
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.

[Illustration: Venetian Stool of Carved Walnut Wood.]

[Illustration: Sideboard in Carved Oak, with Cellaret. Designed and
Manufactured by Mr. Gillow, London. 1851 Exhibition.]

[Illustration: Chimneypiece and Bookcase. 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.]

[Illustration: Cabinet in the Mediaeval Style. Designed and Manufactured
by Mr. Grace, London. 1851 Exhibition.]

[Illustration: Bookcase in Carved Wood. Designed and Manufactured by
Messrs. Jackson & Graham, London, 1851 Exhibition.]

[Illustration: Grand Pianoforte. In Ebony inlaid, and enriched with Gold
in relief. Designed and Manufactured by Messrs. Broadwood, London. 1851

Chapter IX.

From 1851 to the Present Time.

   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--Revival of
   Marquetry--Comparison of Present Day with that of a Hundred Years
   ago--Æstheticism--Traditions--Trades-Unionism--The Arts and Crafts
   Exhibition Society--Independence of Furniture--Present
   Fashions--Writers on Design--Modern Furniture in other
   Countries--Concluding Remarks.


In the previous chapter attention has been called to 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
Commission, and the Prince Consort, as President of this Commission, took
the greatest 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, but as we cannot but look upon this Exhibition of 1851 as one of
the landmarks in the history of furniture, it is worth while to recall
some particulars of its genesis and accomplishment.

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:--

"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 undertaking."

[Illustration: Lady's Escritoire, 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 Her Majesty
on the 1st of May, 1851. At a civic banquet in honour 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.

With regard to the exhibits of English firms, of which these illustrations
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 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 p. 172 of a harpsichord, which the Piano had replaced
about 1767, and which at and since the time of the 1851 Exhibition
supplies evidence of the increased attention devoted to decorative
furniture. 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. Rose, of Messrs. Broadwood, whose firm was established at this
present address in 1732, has been good enough to supply the author with
the particulars for this notice.

Other illustrations, taken from the exhibits of foreign cabinet makers, as
well as those of our English manufacturers, have been selected, being
fairly representative of the work of the time, rather than on account of
their own intrinsic excellence.

It will be seen from these illustrations 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.

[Illustration: Lady's Work Table and Screen. In Papier-maché. 1851
Exhibition, London.]

In looking over the list of exhibits, one finds evidence of the fickleness
of fashion. The manufacture of decorative articles of furniture of
_papier-maché_ was then very extensive, and there are several specimens of
this class of work, both by French and English firms. The drawing-room of
1850 to 1860 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.

[Illustration: Sideboard. In Carved Oak, with subjects taken from Sir
Walter Scott's "Kenilworth." Designed And Manufactured by Messrs. Cookes,
Warwick 1851 Exhibition, London.]

[Illustration: A State Chair. 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,

[Illustration: Sideboard in Carved Oak. Designed And Manufactured by M.
Durand, Paris. 1851 Exhibition, London.]

[Illustration: Bedstead in Carved Ebony. Renaissance Style. Designed and
Manufactured by M. Roulé, Antwerp. 1851 Exhibition, London.]

[Illustration: Pianoforte. In Rosewood, inlaid with Boulework, in Gold,
Silver, and Copper. Designed and Manufactured by M. Leistler, Vienna. 1851
Exhibition, London.]

[Illustration: Bookcase, In Carved Lime Tree, with Panels of Satinwood.
Designed and Manufactured by M. Leistler, Vienna. 1851 Exhibition,

[Illustration: Cabinet. In Tulipwood, ornamented with bronze, and inlaid
with Porcelain. Manufactured by M. Games, St. Petersburg, 1851

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
specialite of the Parisian craftsman, and almost the only English exhibits
of such work were those of foreigners who had settled amongst us.

[Illustration: Casket of Ivory, With Ormolu Mountings. Designed and
Manufactured by M. Matifat, Paris. 1851 Exhibition, London.]

[Illustration: Table, In the Classic Style, inlaid with Ivory,
Manufactured for the King of Sardinia by M. G. Capello, Turin. 1851
Exhibition, London.]

[Illustration: Chair, In the Classic Style, inlaid with Ivory.
Manufactured for the King of Sardinia by M. G. Capello, Turin. 1851
Exhibition, London.]

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" and
Marqueterie furniture. The present house of Mellier and Cie. are his
successors, Mellier having been in his employ. The late Samson Wertheimer,
then in Greek Street, Soho, was steadily making a reputation by the
excellence of the metal mountings of his own design and workmanship, 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 "Old French" tables
and cabinets were so carefully finished with regard to style and detail,
that, with the "tone" acquired by time since their production, it is not
always easy to distinguish them from the models from which they were
taken. Toms was assistant to Town and Emanuel, and afterwards 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 some ten years ago.

[Illustration: Cabinet of Ebony, in the Renaissance Style. With Carnelions
inserted. Litchfield and Radclyffe. 1862 Exhibition.]

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. Slocornbe, of South Kensington Museum; he also
made excellent copies of Louis XIV. furniture.

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.

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 1867, 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
carnelian and other richly-colored minerals (illustrated on previous
page), received a good deal of notice, and was purchased by William, third
Earl of Craven, a well-known virtuoso of thirty 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, is a remarkably rich piece of work of its
kind; the effect is produced by carving the box-wood 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 Fourdinois,
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 a very high one.

The house of Fourdinois no longer exists; the names of the foremost makers
of French _meubles de luxe_, in Paris, are Buerdeley, 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.

[Illustration: Cabinet of Ebony with Carvings of Boxwood. Designed and
Manufactured by M. Fourdenois, Paris. 1867 Exhibition, Paris. (Purchased
by S. Kensington Museum for £1,200.)]

[Illustration: Cabinet in Satinwood, 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 S.
Kensington Museum.]

[Illustration: Ebony And Ivory Cabinet. In The Style of Italian
Renaissance by Andrea Picchi, Florence, Exhibited Paris, 1867.

NOTE.--A marked similarity in this design to that of a 17th Century
cabinet, illustrated in the Italian section of Chapter iii., will be

The illustration of Wright and Mansfield's satin-wood cabinet, with
Wedgewood plaques inserted, and with wreaths and swags of marqueteric
inlaid, is in the Adams' style, a class of design of which this firm made
a specialité. 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 retirement from business a few
years since. 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 this time
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.[21]

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 the 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 ten or fifteen years the reproductions
of what is termed "Chippendale," and also 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 1/16 of an inch,
several layers can be sawn through at once. Sometimes, instead of using so
many different kinds of wood, when a very polychromatic effect is
required, holly wood and sycamore are stained different colours, and the
marquetry thus prepared, is glued on to the body 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 attainable 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,
turned 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 a 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

Instead of the carved ornament being the outcome of the artist's educated
taste, which places on the article a 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 France, the craftsman's
pride--it is now the result of the rapid multiplication of some pattern
which has 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 firms 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
Æstheticism, 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 ten 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
extravagances of the "Aesthetetes." In support of what may be termed a
higher Æstheticism, Mr. Ruskin has written much to give expression to his
ideas and principles for rendering our surroundings more beautiful. Sir
Frederic Leighton and Mr. Alma Tadema are conspicuous amongst those who
have in their houses carried such principles into effect, and amongst
other artists who have been and are, more or less, associated with this
movement, may be named Rossetti, Burne Jones, and Holman Hunt. As a writer
on Æstheticism 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 Æstheticism 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 colourings of a previous decade or two
has left behind it much good, and with the catholicity of taste which
marks the furnishing 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 this 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 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 the descendant of a long
line of more or less excellent mechanics.

It must be obvious, too, that "Trades 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 numbers, amongst its
committee and supporters, a great many influential names. As suggested in
the design of the cover of their Exhibition Catalogue, drawn by the
President, one chief aim of the society is to link arm in arm "Design and
Handicraft," by exhibiting only such articles as bear the names of
individuals who (1) drew the design and (2) carried it out: each craftsman
thus has the credit and responsibility of his own part of the work,
instead of the whole appearing as the production of Messrs. A.B. or C.D.,
who may have known nothing personally of the matter, beyond generally
directing the affairs of a large manufacturing or furnishing business.

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, A.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 necessary provisions of life, 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."

Many other societies, guilds, and art schools have been established with
more or less success, with the view of improving the design and
manufacture of furniture, and providing suitable models for our young wood
carvers to copy. The Ellesmere Cabinet (illustrated) was one of the
productions of the "Home Arts and Industries Association," founded by the
late Lady Marian Alford in 1883, 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 present
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 unfavorable 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 and ugly, or flimsy and inappropriate furniture, which has been
condemned by every 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 there is to be seen in our designs, the result of too many
opportunities for imitation, acting upon minds insufficiently trained to
exercise careful judgment and selection.

[Illustration: The Ellesmere Cabinet, In the Collection of the late Lady
Marian Alford.]

The custom of appropriate and harmonious treatment of interior decorations
and suitable furniture, seems to have been in a great measure abandoned
during the present century, owing perhaps to the indifference of
architects of the time to this subsidiary but necessary portion of their
work, or perhaps to a desire for economy, which preferred the cheapness of
painted and artificially grained pine-wood, with decorative effects
produced by wall papers, to the more solid but expensive though less
showy wood-panelling, architectural mouldings, well-made panelled doors
and chimney pieces, which one finds, down to quite the end of the last
century, even in houses of moderate rentals. Furniture therefore became
independent and "beginning to account herself an Art, transgressed her
limits" ... and "grew to the conceit that it could stand by itself, and,
as well as its betters, went a way of its own." [22] The interiors, handed
over from the builder, as it were, in blank, are 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 the
finishing touch to a mixture, which characterizes 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 travel, 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
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 favorable examples of the present fashion, representing the interior
of the Saloon and Drawing Room at Sandringham House, are here reproduced.

[Illustration: The Saloon at Sandringham House. (_From a Photo by Bedford
Lemère & Co., by permission of H. R. H. the Prince of Wales_).]

[Illustration: The Drawing Room at Sandringham House. (_From a Photo by
Bedford Lemère & Co., by permission of H. R. H. the Prince of Wales_).]

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 a really valuable specimen
of the kind desired; in its place an effective and low priced reproduction
of an old pattern (with all the faults inseparable from such conditions)
is 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

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," [23] 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 this 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."

This revival in taste, which has been not inappropriately termed "The New
Renaissance," has produced many excellent results, and several well-known
architects and designers in the foremost rank of art, amongst whom the
late Mr. Street, R.A.; Messrs. Norman Shaw, R.A.; Waterhouse, R.A.; Alma
Tadema, R.A.; T. G. Jackson, A.R.A.; W. Burgess, Thomas Cutler, E. W.
Godwin, S. Webb, and many others, have devoted a considerable amount of
attention to the design of furniture.

The ruling principle in the majority of these designs has been to avoid
over ornamentation, and pretension to display, and to produce 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, whom it would be invidious to name,
and 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 constructed furniture, which is
simple, unpretentious, and worth the price charged for it. Unfortunately
for the complete success of the new teaching, useful 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
pity it is made at all.

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 manufacturers,
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. With
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
which ornament the best _meubles de luxe_, it is almost impossible to
surpass his best efforts, provided the requisite price be paid; but this
amounts in many cases to such considerable sums of money as would seem
incredible 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 have the effect of this beautiful but
expensive furniture, but cannot afford to spend several thousand pounds in
the decoration of a single room, the industrious and ingenious Frenchman
manufactures, to meet this demand, vast quantities of furniture which
affects, without attaining, the merits of the better made and more highly
finished articles.

In Holland, Belgium, and in Germany, as has already been pointed out, the
manufacture of ornamental oak furniture, on the lines of the Renaissance
models, still prevails, and such furniture is largely imported into this

Italian carved furniture of modern times has been already noticed; and in
the selections made from the 1851 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 really than it

[Illustration: Carved Frame, by Radspieler, Munich.]

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 "Künst
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 is labelled with the name of the designer and maker.

In conclusion, it seems evident that, with all the faults and shortcomings
of this latter part of the nineteenth century--and no doubt they are many,
both of commission and omission--still, speaking generally, there is no
lack of men with ability to design, and no want of well trained patient
craftsmen to produce, furniture which shall 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 civilized 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 invariably
receives from those who are in charge of 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_." [24] It is often forgotten that the price paid is that of the lives
and sustenance 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

As has already been stated 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 bye-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.


[Illustration: A Sixteenth Century Workshop.]


NOTE.--The Names of several Designers and Makers, omitted from the
Index, will be found in the List in the Appendix, with references.

Academy (French) of the Arts founded
Adam, Robert and James
Ahashuerus, Palace of
Alcock, Sir Rutherford, collection of
Angelo, Michael
Anglo-Saxon Furniture
Arabesque Ornament, origin of
Arabian Woodwork
Ark, reference to the
Armoires, mention of
Art Journal, The
Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society
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
Bedroom Furniture
Bedstead of Jeanne d'Albret
Bedstead in the Cluny Museum
Bellows, Italian
Benjamin, Mr., referred to
Berain, Charles, French artist
Bethnal Green Museum
Biblical references
Birch, Dr., reference to
Birdwood, Sir George, referred to
Black, Mr. Adam, reference to
Blomfield, Mr. Reginald T.
Boards and Trestles
Boleyn, Anna, chair of
Bombay Furniture
Bonnaffé, referred to
Boucher, artist
Boule, André Charles
Brackets, Wall
British Museum, references to specimens in the
Brittany Furniture
Broadwood, Messrs
Bronze Mountings
Bruges, Chimney-piece at
Bryan, Michael, referred to
Buffet, The
Bureau du Roi
Burgess, Mr. W
Byzantine-Gothic, discarded
Byzantine style

Caffieri, 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
Chardin, reference to
Charlemagne, reference to
Charles I.
  reference to
Charles II.
  reference to
Charlton, Little
Charterhouse, The
Chaucer quoted
Chippendale's Work
Chippendale's "Gentleman and Cabinetmakers' Director"
  influence of
Christie, Manson, & Wood, Messrs
  reference to old catalogues of
Cicero's Tables
Clapton, Dr. Edward, reference to
Club Houses of London
Cluny Museum, reference to
Colbert, Finance Minister
Coliards' predecessors
Collinson & Lock
Collman, L.W., work of
Constantinople, capture of
Coronation Chair, The
Grace, work of
Crane, Mr. Walter
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
"Dining Room," the, various definitions
Divan, derivation of
Dowbiggin (Gillow's apprentice)
Dryden quoted
Dürer, A., referred to
D'Urbino Bramante
Du Sommerard referred to
Dutch Furniture

Eastlake, Mr. C., reference to
Edinburgh, H.R.H. the Duke of, Art Collection
Edis, Col. Robert, referred to,
Elgin and Kincardine, Earl of, Collection of
Elizabethan Work
Empire Furniture
English Work
Evelyn's Diary
Exhibiton, The Colonial
  The Great (1851)
Exhibitions, Local

Falké, Dr., reference to
Faydherbe, Lucas
Fitzcook, H., designer
Flaxman's Work
Flemish Renaissance
Flemish Work
Florentine Mosaic Work
Folding Stool
Fontainebleau, Chateau of
Fourdinois, Work of
Fragonard, French artist, reference to
Frames for pictures and mirrors
Franks, Mr. A.W.
Fretwork Ornament

Gavard's, C., Work on Versailles
German Work
Gesso Work
Ghiberti, L
Gibbon, Dr., story of
Gilding, methods of
Gillow, Richard,
  extending table patented
  work of
Gillow's Records
Gillow's Work
Glastonbury Chair
Gobelins Tapestry
Godwin, Mr. G., referred to
Godwin, Mr. E.W.
Goodrich Court
Gore House, Exhibition at
Gothic Architecture
Gothic Work
Gough, Viscount, collection of
Gouthière, Pierre
Gray's Inn Hall
Greek Furniture
Greuze, reference to

Hamilton Palace Collection
Hampton Court Palace
Hardwick Hall
Harpsichord, the
Harrison quoted
Hatfield House
Hebrew Furniture
Henri II.
  time of
Henri IV.
  style of Art in France
Henry VIII
Hepplewhite, work of
Herculaneum and Pompeii
  discovery of
Herbert's "Antiquities"
Hertford House Collection
Holland House
Holland & Sons
Holmes, W., designer
Home Arts and Industries Association
Hope, Thomas, design by
Hopkinson's Pianos
Hotel de Bohême
Howard & Sons, firm of, founded

Ince W., contemporary of Chippendale
Indian Furniture
Indian Museum, The
Indo-Portuguese Furniture
Intarsia Work, or Tarsia
Inventories, old
Italian Carved Furniture
Italian Renaissance

Jackson, Mr. T.G., A.R.A., referred to
Jackson & Graham
Jacobean Furniture
Jacquemart, M., reference to
Japan, the Revolution in
Japanese Joiner, the
Japanned Furniture
Jeanne d'Albret, Bedstead of
Jones, Inigo
Jones Collection, The

Kauffmann, Angelica
Kensington, South, Museum, foundation of
Kensington, South, Museum, reference to specimens in the
Khorsabad, reference to
Kirkman's exhibit
Knife cases

Lacquer Work, Chinese and Japanese
Lacroix, Paul, reference to
Lancret, artist
Layard, Sir Austen, reference to
Lebrun, artist
Leighton, Sir F., referred to
Leo X., Pope
Letharby, Mr. W.R.
Litchfield & Radclyffe
Livery cupboards
Longford Castle Collection
Longman & Broderip
Louis XIII. Furniture
Louis XIV
  death of
Louis XV
  death of
Louis XVI
Louvre, The

Macaulay, Lord, quoted
Machine-made Furniture
Madrid, French Furniture in
Mahogany, introduction of
Mansion House, Furniture of the
Marie Antionette
Marie Louise, Cabinet designed for
Maskell, Mr., reference to
Mayhew, J., contemporary of Chippendale
Medicis Family, influence of the
Meyrick, S.
Middle Temple Hall
Miles and Edwards
Milton quoted
Mirror, Mosaic
Mirrors, introduction of
"Mobilier National," the collection of
Modern fashion of Furnishing
Mogul Empire, The
Morant's Furniture
Mounting of Furniture
Munich, Work and Exhibition of

Napoleon alluded to
Nilson, French carver
Norman civilization, influence of
North Holland, Furniture of
Notes and Queries
Nineveh, Discoveries in

Oak Panelling
Oriental Conservatism
Ottoman, derivation of

Panelling (oak)
Papier-maché Work
Passe, C. de
Paxton, Sir Joseph
Penshurst Place
Perkins, Mr. C. translator of "Kunst im Hause"
Persian Designs
Pianoforte, the
Picau, French carver
Pietra-dura introduced
Pinder, Sir Paul, house of
Pollen, Mr. J. Hungerford, references to
Portuguese Work
Prie Dieu Chair, the
Prignot, Designs of
Prior, Mr. Edward, essay on Furniture
Pugin, Mr. A.W., work of

Queen Anne Furniture
Queen's Collection, The

Racinet's Work, "Le Costume Historique"
Radspieler of Munich (manufacturer)
Raffaele, referred to
Raleigh, Sir W.
Regency, Period of the, in France
Renaissance in England
  The Netherlands
Revolution, The French
Revival of Art in France
Ricardo, Mr. Halsey
Richardson's "Studies"
Riesener, Court Ebeniste
Robinson, Mr. G.T., quoted
Rococo Style, the
Rogers, Harry, work of
Roman Furniture
Ruskin, Mr., quoted
Russian Woodwork

St. Augustine's Chair
St. Giles', Bloomsbury
St. Peter's Chairs
St. Peter's Church
St. Saviour's Chapel
Sallust, House of
Salting, Mr., collection of
Salzburg, Bishop's Palace at
Sandringham House, referred to
Saracenic Art
Sarto, Andrea del
Satinwood, introduction of
Scandinavian Woodwork
Science and Art Department, The
Scott, Sir Walter, reference to
Screens, Louis XV. period
Secret Drawers, etc., in Furniture
Sedan Chair, the
Seddon, Thomas, and his Sons, Work of
Serilly. Marquise de, Boudoir of
Sêvres Porcelain, introduction of
Shakespeare's Chair
Shakespeare, quoted
Shaw, Mr. Norman, R.A.
Shaw's "Ancient Furniture"
Sheraton, Thomas, Work of
Shisham Wood
Sideboard, reference to the
Skinners' Company, The
Smith, Major General Murdoch, reference to
Smith, Mr. George, explorer, reference to
Smith, George, manufacturer
Snell, Work of
Soane Museum, The
Society of Arts, The
Society of Upholsterers and Cabinet Makers
Sofa, derivation of
South Kensington. See Kensington
Spanish Furniture
Speke Hall, Liverpool
Spoon Cases
Stationers' Hall
Steam power applied to manufactures
Stephens, Mr., referred to
Stockton House
Stone, Mr. Marcus
Strawberry Hill Sale
Street, Mr., R.A.
Strudwick, J., designer
Sydney, Sir Philip

Tabernacle, The
Table, "Dormant"
Tables and Trestles
Tadema, Mr. Alma, R.A., design by
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

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
Vriesse, V. de

Wales, H.R.H. Prince of, Art Collection of
Wallace, Sir Richard, Collection of
Walpole, Horace
Ware, Great Bed of
Waterhouse, Mr., R.A.
Webb, Mr. Stephen
Wedgwood, Josiah
Wertheimer, S.
Westminster Abbey
Wilkinson, of Ludgate Hill
Williamson (Mobilier National)
Wine Tables
Woods used for Furniture
Wootton, 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 Journal"
York Minster, Chair in

List of Subscribers.

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN (For the Royal Library).
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ALLEN, E.G., 28, Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London.
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ANDREWS & Co., Durham.
ANGST, H., H.B.M. Consul, Zurich.
ASHWORTH, A., Manchester.

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BAILEY, THOMAS J., A.R.I.B.A., School Board of London, Victoria Embankment,
BALFOUR, CHARLES B., J.P., Balgonie, Fife.
BALFOUR, GEORGE W., M.D., LL.D., 17, Walker Street, Edinburgh.
BALFOUR, CAPTAIN J. E. H., 3, Berkeley Square, London.
BAHR, WILLIAM, 119, Charlotte Street, Fitzroy Square, London.
BALL, NORRIS & HADLEY, 5, Argyll Place, London.
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COOPER, JOSEPH, Granville Terrace, Lytham.
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CRANSTON & ELLIOT, 47, North Bridge, Edinburgh.
CREIGHTON, DAVID H., Museum R.S.A.I, Kilkenny, Ireland.
CRISP, H.B., Saxmundham.
CROFT, ARTHUR, South Park, Wadhurst, Surrey.
CROWLEY, REGINALD A., A.R.I.B.A., 96, George Street, Croydon.
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DAVENPORT, HENRY, C.C., Woodcroft, Leek.
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DAVIS, COLONEL JOHN, Sifrons, Farnboro', Hants.
DAVIS, JAMES W., F.S.A., Chevinedge, Halifax.
DE L'ISLE & DUDLEY, RT. HON. LORD, Penshurst Place, Tonbridge.
DE TRAFFORD, HUMPHREY F., 36, Charles Street, Berkeley Square, London.
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DORMER, ROLAND, Ministry of Finance, Cairo.
DOWNING, WILLIAM, Afonwan, Acock's Green, Birmingham.
DOVESTON'S, Manchester.
DREY, A.S., Munich.
DRUCE & Co., Baker Street, London.
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DUVEEN, J.J., Oxford Street, London.

EASTER, GEORGE, Free Library, Norwich,
EDIS, COLONEL, F.S.A., F.R.I.B.A., 14, Fitzroy Square, London.
EDWARDS & ROBERTS, Wardour Street, London.
EGGINTON, JOHN, Milverton Erleigh, Reading.
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FANE, W. D., Melbourne Hall, Derby.
FENWICK, J. G., Moorlands, Newcastle-on-Tyne.
FERRIER, GEORGE STRATON, R.S.W., 41, Heriot Row, Edinburgh.
FFOOLKES, His HONOUR JUDGE WYNNE, Old Northgate House, Chester.
FIRBANK, J. T., D.L., J.P., Coopers, Chislehurst.
FISHER, EDWARD, F.S.A. Scot., Abbotsbury, Newton-Abbot.
FISHER, SAMUEL T., The Grove, Streatham.
FLEMING, MRS. ROBERT, Walden, Chislehurst.
FLETCHER, W., Tottenham Court Road, London.
FORD, ONSLOW, A.R.A., 62, Acacia Road, Regent's Park, N.W.
FOSTER, CAPTAIN, J.P., D.L., Apley Park, Bridgnorth.
FOSTER, J. COLLIE, 44a, Gutter Lane, London.
FOX & JACOBS, 69, Wigmore Street, London.
FRAEUR, FREDERICK, Greek Street, Soho, London.
FRANCIS, JOHN H., 17, Regent Place, Birmingham.
FRANKAU, Mrs., Weymouth Street, Portland Place, London.
FRASER & Co., A., 7, Union Street, Inverness.
FRITH, MISS LOUISE, 18, Fulham Road, London.
FULLER, B. FRANKLIN, 16, Great Eastern Street, London.
FUZZEY, J. & A. J., Penzance.

GRAINER, J. W., M.B. Edin., Belmont House, Thrapstone, Northampton.
GARDNER, GEORGE, 209, Brompton Road, London.
GARNETT, ROBERT, J. P., Warrington.
GIBBONS, DR., 29, Cadogan Place, London.
GIBSON, ROBERT, Pitt Street, Portobello.
GILBERT, GEORGE RALPH, Dunolly, Torquay.
GILLILAN, WM., 6, Palace Gate, Bayswater, London.
GILLOW & Co., Lancaster.
GILLOWS, Messrs., 406, Oxford Street, London.
GODFREE, A. H., 18, Holland Villas Road, Bayswater, London.
GOODALL, E. & Co., Limited, Manchester.
GOW, JAMES M., 66, George Street, Edinburgh.
GRAND HOTEL, Northumberland Avenue, London.
GREEN, J. L., 64, King's Road, Camden Road, London.
GREENALL, LADY, Walton Hall, Warrington.
GREENWOOD & SONS, Stonegate, York.
GREGORY & Co., Regent Street, London.
GUILD, The Decorative Arts, Limd., 2, Hanover-Square, London.
GURNEY, RICHARD, Northrepps Hall, Norwich.

HALL, MRS. DICKINSON, Whatton Manor, Nottingham.
HAMER, WILLIAM, Mayfield, Knutsford.
HAMPTON & SONS, Pall Mall East, London.
HANNAY, A. A., 80, Coleman Street, London.
HANSELL, P. E., Wroxharn House, Norwich.
HARDING, GEORGE, Charing Cross Road, London.
HARDY, E. MEREDITH, 9, Sinclair Gardens, Kensington.
HARRISON, H.E.B., Devonshire Road, Liverpool.
HARVEY, REV. CANON, Vicar's Court, Lincoln.
HAWES, G. E., Duke's Palace Joinery Works, Norwich.
HAWKINS, A. P., New York.
HAWKINS, THOMAS, Bridge House, Newbury.
HAWSELL, P. E., Wroxham, Norfolk.
HAYNE, CHARLES SEALE, M.P., 6, Upper Belgrave Street, London
HAYWARD, MRS., Mossley Hill, Liverpool.
HEMS, HARRY, Exeter.
HERRING, DR. HERBERT T., 50, Harley Street, London.
HESSE, Miss, The Lodge, Haslemere, Surrey.
HEWITSON, MILNER & THEXTON, Tottenham Court Road, London.
HILLHOUSE, JAMES, 50, Lincoln's Inn Fields, W.C.
HIND, JOHN, Manchester.
HOBSON, RICHARD, J. P., D.L, etc., The Marfords, Bromborough, Cheshire.
HOCKLIFFE, T. H., High Street, Bedford.
HODGES, W.D., 249, Brompton Road, London.
HODGES, Figgis & Co. 104, Grafton Street, Dublin.
HODGKINS, E. M., King Street, St. James's Square, London.
HOGG & COUTTS, 61, North Frederick Street, Edinburgh
HOLMES, W. & R., Dunlop Street, Glasgow.
HOPWOOD, W., Scarborough.
HORLOCK, REV. GEORGE, St. Olave's Vicarage, Hanbury Street, London.
HOUGHTON, CEDRIC, 17, Ribblesdale Place, Preston.
HUMBERT, SON & FLINT, Watford and Lincoln's Inn.
HUNT, WILLIAM, 5, York Buildings, Adelphi.
HUNTER, REV. CHARLES, Helperby, Yorks.
HUNTER, FREDERICK, 75, Portland Place, London.
HUNTER, R. W., 19, George IV. Bridge, Edinburgh

IVEAGIE, Rt. Hon. Lord.

JACKSON, W. L., M.P., Chief Secretary for Ireland.
JACOB, W. HEATON, 29, Sinclair Gardens, London.
JARROLD & SONS, Norwich.
JENKINS, JOHN J., The Grange, Swansea.
JEROME, JEROME K., Alpha Place, St. John's Wood.
JOICEY, MRS. E., Haltwhistle.
JOHNSTON, WILLIAM, 43, Cambridge Road, Hove.
JONES, YARRELL & CO., 8, Bury Street, Jermyn Street, London.
JOSEPH, EDWARD, 25, Dover Street, Piccadilly, London.
JOSEPH, FELIX, Eastbourne.
Jowers, Alfred, A.R.I.B.A., 7, Gray's Inn Square, London.

KEATES, DR. W. COOPER, 2, Tredegar Villas, East Dulwich Road, London.
KENDAL, MILNE & CO., Manchester.
KENNETT, W. B., 89, High Street, Sandgate.
KENYON, GEORGE, 35, New Bond Street, London.
KING, ALFRED, Kensington Court Mansions, London.
Knight, J. W., 33, Hyde Park Square, London,
KNOX, JAMES, 31, Upper Kensington Lane, London.

LAINSON, TH., & Son, 170, North Street, Brighton.
LANDSBERG, H. & SON, 1, Gordon Place, London.
LARKINS-WALKER, LT. COLONEL, 201, Cromwell Road, London.
LAURIE, THOMAS & SON, St. Vincent Street, Glasgow.
LAW, CHARLES A., 53, Highgate Hill, London.
LEE, A. G., Alexander House, Solent Road, W. Hampstead.
LEIGH, MRS., Tabley House, Knutsford.
LEIGHTON, Sir Frederic P.R.A.
LEIGHTON, Captain F., Parsons Green, Fulham, London.
LENNOX, D., M. D., 144, Nethergate, Dundee.
LETHBRIDGE, CAPTAIN E., 20, St. Peter Street, Winchester.
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LITCHFIELD, T. G., Bruton Street, London.
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LONGDEN, H., London and Sheffield.
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LYNAM, C., F.R.I.B.A., Stoke-On-Trent.

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MARKS, H. Stacy, R.A.

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MENZIES, JOHN & Co., 12, Hanover Street, Edinburgh.
MIALL, G. C., Bouverie Street, London.
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MILNE, ROBERT O., Oakfield, Leamington.
MILNER, JOHN, 180, Great Portland Street, London.
MITCHELL LIBRARY, Miller Street, Glasgow.
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MORGAN & SONS, Hanway Street, W.
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MORTON, THOMAS H., M.D., C.M., Don House, Brightside, Sheffield.
MURRAY, WILLIAM, F.S.I., 81, Wood Green Shepherds Bush, London.
MURPHY, JOHN, 215, Brompton Road, London.

NETTLEFOLD, HUGH, Hallfield, Edgbaston, Birmingham.
NEVILL, CHARLES H., Bramall Hall, Cheshire.
NICOL, ROBERT E., 94, Morningside Road, Edinburgh.
NIND, P. H., Lashlake House, Thame, Oxon.
NORMAN, JAMES T., 57, Great Eastern Street, London.
NUTTALL, JOHN R., Market Place, Lancaster.
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OSBORNE, WILLIAM, 30, Reform Street, Beith, N.B.
OVEY, RICHARD, J.P., Badgemore, Henley-on-Thames.

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PARLANE, JAMES, Rusholme, Manchester.
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PATTERSON, W. G., 54, George Street, Edinburgh.
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PEARCE, S. S., 4, Victoria Parade, Ramsgate.
PEARSE, H., Rochdale.
PEARSON, JOHN L., R.A., 13, Mansfield Street, London.
PECKITT, LIEUT.-COLONEL R. WM., Thornton-le-Moor, Northallerton.
PENNEY, J. CAMPBELL, 15, Gloucester Place, Edinburgh.
PENTY, WALTER, G., F.R.I.B.A., Clifford Chambers, York.
PHILIP, G. STANLEY, 32, Fleet Street, London.
PHILLIPS, F. W., The Manor House, Hitchin.
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POLLEN, J. HUNGERFORD, South Kensington Museum.
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PROPERT, J. LUMSDEN, 112, Gloucester Terrace, London.
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RABBITS, W. T., 6, Cadogan Gardens, S.W.
RADCLIFFE, H. MILES, Summerlands, Kendal.
RADCLIFFE, R. D., M.A., F.S.A., Darley, Old Swan, Liverpool.
RAMSAY, ROBERT, 33/437--Greendyke Street, Glasgow.
RAMSEY, THE HON. MRS. CHARLES, 48, Grosvenor Street, W.
RICHARDS, S., Hounds Gate, Nottingham.
RIGDEN, JOHN, J. P., Surrey House, Brixton Hill, S.W.
RILEY, ATHELSTAN, L.C.C., 2, Kensington Court.
RILEY, JOHN, 20, Harrington Gardens, S.W.
RIVINGTON, CHARLES ROBERT, F.S.A., Stationers' Hall, London.
ROBERTS, D. LLOYD, M.D., F.R.C.P., Broughton Park, Manchester.
ROBSON, EDWARD R., F.S.A., 9, Bridge Street, Westminster.
ROBSON, R., 16, Old Bond Street, W.
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ROGERSON, ARTHUR, Fleurville, Cheltenham.
ROMAINE-WALKER, W. H., A.R.I.B.A., Buckingham Street, Strand, London.
ROSE, ALGERNON, F.R.G.S., Great Pulteney Street, London.
ROTHSCHILD, LEOPOLD DE, 5, Hamilton Place, W.
RUSSELL, JOHN, M. B., 142, Waterloo Road, Burslem.

SACKVILLE, RT. HON. LORD, Knole Park, Sevenoaks.
SALMON, W. FORREST, F.R.I.B.A., 197, St. Vincent, Street, Glasgow.
SAITER, S. JAMES A., F.R.S., Basingfield, near Basingstoke.
SANDERS, T. R. H., Old Fore Street, Sidmouth.
SANDERSON, JOHN, 52, Berners Street, London.
SAVORY, HORACE R., 11, Cornhill, London.
SAWERS, JOHN, Gothenburg, Sweden.
SCOTT, A. & J., Glasgow.
SCOTT, J. & T., 10, George Street, Edinburgh.
SCULLY, W. C., 32, Earl's Court Square, London.
SHARP, J., Fernwood Road, Newcastle-on-Tyne.
SHIELL, JOHN, 5, Bank Street, Dundee.
SIMKIV, W. R., North Hill, Colchester.
SIMPSON, THOMAS & SONS, Silver Street, Halifax.
SIMS, F. MANLEY, F.R.C.S., 12, Hertford Street, London.
SION COLLEGE LIBRARY, Thames Embankment, London.
SLESSOR, REV. J. H., The Rectory, Headbourne, Worthy, Winchester.
SMILEY, HUGH H., Gallowhill, Paisley.
SMITH, CHARLES, 12, Gloucester Terrace, Hyde Park, London.
SMITH, EDWARD ORFORD, Council House, Birmingham.
SMITH, F. BENNETT, 17, Brazenose Street, Manchester.
SMITH, W. J., 41 & 43, North Street, Brighton.
SOPWITH, H. T., Newcastle-on-Tyne.
SPENCE, C. J., South Preston Lodge, North Shields.
STENHOUSE & SON, 4, Alexandra Gardens, Folkestone.
STEPHENS, E. GEORGE, 5, Portman Street, Whalley Range, Manchester.
STEPHENS, J. WALLACE, Belph, Whitmell, Nr. Chesterfield.
STONE, J. H., J.P., Handsworth.
STORR, J. S., 26, King Street, Covent Garden.

TALBOT, Miss, 3, Cavendish Square, London.
TANNER, ROBERT R.S., 9, Montagu Street, Portman Square, London.
TANNER, SLINGSBY, 1046, Mount Street, Berkeley Square, London.
TAPLIN, JOHN, 8, Blomfield Road, Maida Vale, London.
TASKER, G. S., Glen-Ashton, Wimbourne, Dorset.
TATE, JOHN, Oaklands, Alnwick.
TAYLOR, JOHN & SONS, 109, Princes Street, Edinburgh.
TEMPEST, MAJOR A.C., Coleby Hall, near Lincoln.
THOMASON, YEOVILLE, F.R.I.B.A., 9, Observatory Gardens, Kensington, London.
THOMPSON, RICHARD, Dringcote, The Mount, York.
THONET BROS., 68, Oxford Street, London.
THYNNE, J. C., Cloisters, Westminster, London.
TRAILL, JAMES CHRISTIE, J.P, D.L., Rattan, Caithness; and Hobbister, Orkney.
TAPNALL, C., 60, St. John's Road, Clifton.
TUNISSEN, G., 64, Noordeinde, The Hague.
TURNER, R. D., Roughway, Tonbridge.
TURNER, WILLIAM, Manchester.

VANDERBYL, MRS. PHILIP, Porchester Terrace, London.
VAUGHAN & Co., 18, Gt. Eastern Street, London.
VINCE, A. S., 14, Gt. Pulteney Street, London.
VINEY, JOHN P., 26, Charlotte Street, Portland Place, London.
VOST & FISHER, Halifax.

WADE, MISS, Royal School of Art Needlework, South Kensington.
WALLACE, MRS., French Hall, Gateshead.
WALLIS & Co., Limited, Holborn Circus, London.
WALTERS, FREDERICK A., A.R.I.B.A, 4, Great Queen Street, Westminster.
WARBURTON, SAMUEL, 10, Witton Polygon, Cheetham Hill, Manchester.
WARING, S. J. & SONS, Bold Street, Liverpool.
WARNER & SONS, Newgate Street, E.C.
WATKINS, REV. H. G., Lilliput Hill, Parkstone, Dorset.
WATNEY, VERNON J., Berkeley Square, London.
WATTS, G. F., R.A., Little Holland House, Kensington, London.
WATTS, JAMES, Old Hall, Cheadle, near Manchester.
WEBB, R. BARRETT, Bristol.
WEEKES, J.E., 19, Sinclair Gardens, W.
WELLARD, CHARLES, St. Leonard Street, Bromley-by-Bow.
WERTHEIMER, ASHER, 154, New Bond Street, W.
WERTHEIMER, CHARLES, 21, Norfolk Street, Park Lane, W.
WESTON, MRS. E., Ashbank, Penrith.
WHARTON, THE REV. GEORGE, Radley College, Abingdon.
WHARTON, W. H. B., London Road, Manchester.
WHEELER, WILLIAM, George Row, York Road, City Road, London.
WHITAKER, WALTER, Combe Down, Bath.
WHITAKER, W. W., Cornbrook House, Manchester.
WILKINSON & SON, 8, Old Bond Street, London.
WILLIAMS, MRS., Parcian, Anglesey.
WILLS, GEORGE, Park Street, Bristol.
WILSON, SAMUEL, 7, King Street, St. James's Square.
WOOD, HERBERT S., A.R.I.B.A., 16, Basinghall Street, London.
WOOD, T. A., 67, Berners Street, London.
WORNUM, R. S., 26, Bedford Square, London.
WORTHINGTON, HENRY H., Sale Old Hall, Manchester.
WRIGHT, A. O., 25, Low Skellgate, Ripon.
WRIGHT, E., 144, Wardour Street, London.
WYLIE, S., Glasgow.
WYLLIK & SONS, D., Aberdeen.



ANDERSON, MRS. J. H., Palewell, East Sheen, S.W.
BETHELL, WILLIAM, Derwent Bank, Malton.
EDWARDS, THOMAS & SONS, Wolverhampton.
EMSLIE, A., Rothay, Border Crescent, Sydenham.
LARKING, T. J., 28, New Bond Street, W.
SIDNEY, T. H., Wolverhampton.



[1] Gopher is supposed to mean cypress wood. See notes on Woods

[2] See also Notes on Woods (Appendix).

[3] Folding stool--Faldistory or Faldstool--a portable seat, similar to a
camp stool, of wood or metal covered with silk or other material. It was
used by a Bishop when officiating in other than his own cathedral church.

[4] 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."

[5] 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.

[6] 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 1486. The same writer mentions still more
elaborate examples of pictorial "intarsia" in the choir stalls of Sta.
Maria, Maggiore, in Bergamo.

[7] 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 Gothic character. The Chateau of
Chambord is given as an instance of this combination.

[8] Dr. Jacob von Falké states that the first mention of glass as an
extraordinary product occurs in a register of 1239.

[9] "Holland House," by Princess Marie Liechtenstein, gives a full account
of this historic mansion.

[10] 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."

[11] This tapestry is still in the Great Hall at Hampton Court Palace.

[12] [PG Note] The original text said "gods".

[13] 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.

[14] For description of method of gilding the mounts of furniture, see

[15] For a short account of these Factories, see Appendix.

[16] Watteau, 1684-1721. Lancrel, _b_. 1690, _d_. 1743. Boucher, _b_.
1703, _d_. 1770.

[17] The Court room of the Stationers' Hall contains an excellent set of
tables of this kind.

[18] 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 book; at that time
the famous designer of furniture was in poor circumstances.

[19] The word Baroque, which became a generic term, was derived from the
Portugese "barroco," 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.

[20] 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 pedestal."

[21] Owen Jones' "Grammar of Ornament," a work much used by designers, was
published in 1856.

[22] Essay by Mr. Edward S. Prior, "Of Furniture and the Room."

[23] Published in 1868, when the craze for novelties was at its height.

[24] Essay on "Decorated Furniture," by J. H. Pollen.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Illustrated History of Furniture - From the Earliest to the Present Time" ***

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