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Title: Illustrated History of Furniture, fifth ed. - From the Earliest to the Present Time
Author: Litchfield, Frederick
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Illustrated History of Furniture, fifth ed. - From the Earliest to the Present Time" ***

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    |                      Note:                              |
    |                                                         |
    | _ around word indicats italics _END OF XVIII CENTURY._  |
    | = around word indicats bold =T=                         |


    FIRST EDITION       1892
    SECOND EDITION      1892
    THIRD EDITION       1893
    FOURTH EDITION      1899
    FIFTH EDITION       1903











(_See pp._ 121-2.)]


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 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 fifteen or twenty years.
There is evidence of this appreciation in the enormous prices realised
at notable auction sales, when such Furniture has been offered for
competition to wealthy 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 antiquary, than by an antiquary 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.

    32, ST. JAMES'S STREET, S.W.





    BIBLICAL REFERENCES: Solomon's House and Temple--Palace of
    Ahasuerus. ASSYRIAN FURNITURE: Nimrod's Palace--Mr. George Smith
    quoted. EGYPTIAN FURNITURE: Specimens in the British Museum--The
    Workman's Stool--Various Articles of Domestic Furniture--Dr. Birch
    quoted. GREEK FURNITURE: The Bas-reliefs in the British Museum--The
    Chest of Cypselus--Laws and Customs of the Greeks--House of
    Alcibiades--Plutarch quoted. ROMAN FURNITURE: Position of Rome--The
    Roman House--Cicero's Table--Thyine Wood--Customs of wealthy
    Romans--Downfall of the Empire                                     1


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


    THE RENAISSANCE IN ITALY: Leonardo da Vinci and Raffaelle--Church of
    St. Peter, contemporary great artists--The Italian Palazzo--Methods
    of gilding, inlaying and mounting Furniture--Pietra-durá and
    other enrichments--Ruskin's criticism. THE RENAISSANCE IN FRANCE:
    François 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 Carpenters' Company--The Great Bed of Ware--Shakespeare's
    Chair--Penshurst Place                                            47


    English Home Life in the Reign of James I.--Sir Henry Wotton
    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                  91


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


    PALACE OF VERSAILLES: "Grand" and "Petit Trianon"--The three Styles
    of Louis XIV., XV., and XVI.--Colbert and Lebrun--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 "Times"                             145


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


    The French Revolution and the First Empire--Influence on design of
    Napoleon's Campaigns--The Cabinet presented to Marie Louise--Dutch
    Furniture of the time--English Furniture--Sheraton's later
    work--Thomas Hope, architect--George Smith's designs--Fashion
    during the Regency--Gothic revival--Seddon's furniture--Other
    makers--Influence on design of the Restoration in France--Furniture
    of William IV. and early part of Queen Victoria's reign--Baroque
    and Rococo styles--The Panelling of Rooms, Dado, and Skirting--The
    Art Union--The Society of Arts--Sir Charles Barry and the new
    Palace of Westminster--Pugin's designs--Auction Prices of
    Furniture--Christie's--The London Club Houses--Steam--Different
    Trade Customs--Exhibitions in France and England--Harry Rogers'
    work--The late Queen's cradle--State of Art in England during the
    first part of Queen Victoria's reign--Continental designs--Italian
    carving--Cabinet work--General remarks                           203


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


    Lists of Artists and Manufacturers of Furniture--Woods--Tapestry
    used for French Furniture--The processes of Gilding and
    Polishing--The Pianoforte                                        251

    INDEX                                                            268


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




    COLORED FRONTISPIECE                                   _facing Title_


    "GRANDFATHER" CLOCK                                               iv.

    A SEVENTEENTH CENTURY NAPKIN PRESS                               xii.

      Initial Letter                                                   1

    ASSYRIAN BRONZE THRONE AND FOOTSTOOL                               3


    REPOSE OF KING ASSHURBANIPAL                                       5

    for a Vase; Head Rest or Pillow; Workman's Stool; Vase on a Stand;
    Folding Stool; Ebony Seat inlaid with ivory                        6

    AN EGYPTIAN OF HIGH RANK SEATED                           _facing_ 6

    AN EGYPTIAN BANQUET                                                7

    CHAIR WITH CAPTIVES AS SUPPORTS                                    8

    BACCHUS AND ATTENDANTS VISITING ICARUS                    _facing_ 8

    GREEK BEDSTEAD WITH A TABLE                                        9

    GREEK FURNITURE                                                   10

    INTERIOR OF AN ANCIENT ROMAN HOUSE                       _facing_ 12

    A ROMAN STUDY                                                     13

    ROMAN SCAMNUM OR BENCH                    }
                                               }                      14

    ROMAN COUCH, GENERALLY OF BRONZE                                  15

    BRONZE LAMP AND STAND                                             16

    ROMAN TRICLINIUM, OR DINING ROOM                         _facing_ 16


    VIGNETTE OF GOTHIC OAK ARMOIRE, as Ornament to Initial Letter     17

    CHAIR OF ST. PETER, ROME                                          19

    DAGOBERT CHAIR                                                    21

    A CARVED NORWEGIAN DOORWAY                               _facing_ 22

    SCANDINAVIAN CHAIR                                                23

    COVER OF A CASKET CARVED IN WHALEBONE                             24

    SAXON HOUSE (IX. CENTURY)                                         25


                           }                                          28
    SAXON STATE BED       }

                                            }                         29
    CRADLE OF HENRY V.                    }

    CORONATION CHAIR, WESTMINSTER ABBEY                               31

    CHAIR IN YORK MINSTER                                             32

    TWO CHAIRS OF THE XV. CENTURY                            _facing_ 32

    TABLE AT PENSHURST                                                33

    BEDROOM (XIV. CENTURY)                                            34

    CARVED OAK BEDSTEAD AND CHAIR                                     35

    INTERIOR OF A BEDROOM--"THE NEW BORN INFANT"                      37

    PORTRAIT OF CHRISTINE DE PISAN                                    38

    STATE BANQUET, WITH ATTENDANT MUSICIANS (two woodcuts)            39

    A HIGH BACKED CHAIR (XV. CENTURY)                                 40

    MEDIÆVAL BED AND BEDROOM                                 _facing_ 40

    A SCRIBE OR COPYIST                                               41

    TWO GERMAN CHAIRS                                                 42

    CARVED OAK BUFFET (French Gothic)                                 43

    OLD ENGLISH OAK BUFFET                                            44

    FLEMISH BUFFET                                           _facing_ 44

                        }                                             45

    INTERIOR OF APOTHECARY'S SHOP                                     46

    DWELLING ROOM OF A FRENCH CHATEAU                     _following_ 46



    VIGNETTE OF THE CARYATIDES CABINETS, as Ornament to Initial Letter 47

    REPRODUCTION OF DECORATION BY RAFFAELLE               _following_ 48

    SALON OF M. BONAFFÉ                                        "      48

    A SIXTEENTH CENTURY ROOM                                   "      48

    CHAIR IN CARVED WALNUT                                            49

    VENETIAN CENTRE TABLE                                             50

    MARRIAGE COFFER IN CARVED WALNUT                      _following_ 50

    MARRIAGE COFFER                                            "      50

    PAIR OF ITALIAN CARVED BELLOWS                                    51

    CARVED ITALIAN MIRROR FRAME, XVI. CENTURY                         52

    A SIXTEENTH CENTURY COFFRE-FORT                                   53

    ITALIAN COFFER                                                    55

    ITALIAN CHAIRS                                                    56

    EBONY CABINET                                            _facing_ 56

    VENETIAN STATE CHAIR                                              57

       ROUEN                                              _following_ 58

    CHIMNEY PIECE (FONTAINEBLEAU)                              "      58

    CARVED OAK PANEL (1577)                                           59

    FAC SIMILES OF ENGRAVINGS ON WOOD                                 60

    CARVED OAK BEDSTEAD OF JEANNE D'ALBRET                _following_ 60

    CARVED OAK CABINET, XVI. CENTURY                           "      60

    CARVED OAK CABINET (LYONS)                                 "      60

    LOUIS XIII. AND HIS COURT                                         62

    DECORATION OF A SALON IN LOUIS XIII. STYLE               _facing_ 62

    AN EBONY ARMOIRE (FLEMISH RENAISSANCE)                            64


    A FLEMISH CITIZEN AT MEALS                                        66

    SEDAN CHAIR OF CHARLES V.                                         67

    SILVER TABLE (WINDSOR CASTLE)                                     63

                                                LEATHER }
                                                        } _following_ 68

    WOODEN COFFER (XVI. CENTURY)                          _following_ 68

    THE STEEL CHAIR (LONGFORD CASTLE)                        _facing_ 70

    GERMAN CARVED OAK BUFFET                                          71

    CARVED OAK CHEST                                                  72

    CHAIR OF ANNA BOLEYN                                              74

    TUDOR CABINET                                                     75

    THE GLASTONBURY CHAIR                                             78

    CARVED OAK ELIZABETHAN BEDSTEAD                                   80

    OAK WAINSCOTING                                          _facing_ 80

    DINING HALL IN THE CHARTERHOUSE                                   82

    SCREEN IN THE HALL OF GRAY'S INN                         _facing_ 82

    HALL OF GRAY'S INN                                                83

    CARVED OAK PANELS (CARPENTERS' HALL)                              85

    PART OF AN ELIZABETHAN STAIRCASE                                  86

    THE ENTRANCE HALL, HARDWICK HALL                         _facing_ 86

    SHAKESPEARE'S CHAIR                                               88

    THE "GREAT BED OF WARE"                                  _facing_ 88

    THE "QUEEN'S ROOM," PENSHURST PLACE                               89

    CARVED OAK CHIMNEY PIECE IN SPEKE HALL                            90


    A CHAIR OF XVII. CENTURY, as Ornament to Initial Letter           91

    OAK CHIMNEY PIECE IN SIR W. RALEIGH'S HOUSE                       92

    CHIMNEY PIECE IN BYFLEET HOUSE                                    93

    "THE KING'S CHAMBER," FORD CASTLE                                 94

    CENTRE TABLE (CARPENTERS' HALL)                                   95

    CARVED OAK CHAIRS                                                 96

    OAK CHIMNEY PIECE FROM LIME STREET, CITY                 _facing_ 96

    OAK SIDEBOARD                                                     97

    SEATS AT KNOLE                                                    99

    ARM CHAIR, KNOLE                                                 100

    THE "SPANGLE" BEDROOM, KNOLE                                     101


    "FOLDING" AND "DRAWINGE" TABLE                                   106

    CHAIRS, STUART PERIOD                                            107

    CHAIR USED BY CHARLES I. DURING HIS TRIAL                        108

    SETTLE OF CARVED OAK                                    _facing_ 108

    TWO CARVED OAK CHAIRS                                            109

    STAIRCASE IN GENERAL IRETON'S HOUSE                              110

    SETTEE AND CHAIR (PENSHURST PLACE)                      _facing_ 110

    SEDES BUSBIANA                                                   112

    THE MASTER'S CHAIR IN THE BREWERS' HALL                          115

    CARVED OAK "LIVERY" CUPBOARD                                     116


    CARVED OAK SCREEN IN STATIONERS' HALL                            117

    SILVER FURNITURE AT KNOLE                                        119

    THREE CHIMNEY PIECES BY JAMES GIBBS                     _facing_ 122

    CHAIR IN HOLLAND HOUSE, DESIGNED BY CLEYN                        123


    PATTERN OF A CHINESE LAC SCREEN                                  124

    AN EASTERN (SARACENIC) TABLE, as Ornament to Initial Letter      125


    CASKET OF INDIAN LACQUER WORK                                    134

    DOOR OF CARVED SANDAL WOOD FROM TRAVANCORE              _facing_ 136

    PERSIAN INCENSE BURNER OF ENGRAVED BRASS                         137

    GOVERNOR'S PALACE, MANFALÛT                                      140

    SPECIMEN OF SARACENIC PANELLING                                  141

    CARVED DOOR OF SYRIAN WORK                                       142

    SHAPED PANEL OF SARACENIC WORK                                   143


    BOULE ARMOIRE (HAMILTON PALACE)                                  144

       Letter                                                        145

    BOULE ARMOIRE (Jones Collection)                        _facing_ 146

    PEDESTAL CABINET BY BOULE (Jones Collection)                     148

    A CONCERT IN THE REIGN OF LOUIS XIV.                             149

    A BOUDOIR (LOUIS XIV. PERIOD)                                    150

    DECORATION OF A SALON IN THE LOUIS XIV. STYLE           _facing_ 150

    A BOULE COMMODE                                                  152

    FRENCH SEDAN CHAIR                                      _facing_ 152

    A SCREEN PANEL BY WATTEAU                                        153

    CARVED AND GILT CONSOLE TABLE                                    154

    LOUIS XV. "FAUTEUIL" (CARVED AND GILT)                           155

    LOUIS XV. COMMODE (Jones Collection)                             156

    A PARQUETERIE COMMODE                                            157

    PART OF A SALON (LOUIS XV.)                                      158

    "BUREAU DU ROI"                                         _facing_ 158

    PART OF A SALON IN LOUIS XVI. STYLE                              160

    A MARQUETERIE CABINET (Jones Collection)                         162

    WRITING TABLE (RIESENER)                                _facing_ 162

    THE "MARIE ANTOINETTE" WRITING TABLE                             164

    BEDSTEAD OF MARIE ANTOINETTE                            _facing_ 164

    A CYLINDER SECRETAIRE (Rothschild Collection)                    165

    AN ARM CHAIR (LOUIS XVI.)                                        166

    CARVED AND GILT SETTEE AND ARM CHAIR                 _following_ 166

    A SOFA EN SUITE                                                  166

    A MARQUETERIE ESCRITOIRE (Jones Collection)                      167

    A NORSE INTERIOR, SHEWING FRENCH INFLUENCE                       169

    A SECRETAIRE WITH SEVRES PLAQUES                                 170

    A CLOCK BY ROBIN (Jones Collection)                              171

    HARPSICHORD, ABOUT 1750                                          172


       Letter                                                        173

    FAC-SIMILE OF DRAWINGS BY ROBERT ADAM                            175

    ENGLISH SATIN WOOD DRESSING TABLE                    _following_ 176



       MAKER'S DIRECTOR"                                             178

    TWO BOOK CASES FROM CHIPPENDALE'S "DIRECTOR"            _facing_ 178


    A BUREAU FROM CHIPPENDALE'S "DIRECTOR"                           180

                                                         _following_ 180

    "FRENCH" COMMODE AND LAMP STANDS                                 180

    BED PILLARS                                                      180

    CHIMNEY-PIECE AND MIRROR                                         180

    PARLOUR CHAIRS BY CHIPPENDALE                                    181

    CLOCK CASE BY CHIPPENDALE                                        182

    CHINA SHELVES, DESIGNED BY W. INCE                               184


    PARLOUR CHAIRS, DESIGNED BY W. INCE                              187

    LADIES' SECRETAIRES, DESIGNED BY W. INCE                         188

    DESK AND BOOKCASE, DESIGNED BY W. INCE                           189

    CHINA CABINET, DESIGNED BY J. MAYHEW                             190

    "DRESSING CHAIRS," DESIGNED BY J. MAYHEW                         191


    PLAN OF A ROOM (HEPPLEWHITE)                                     193

       "GUIDE"                                                       194

    KNEEHOLE TABLE BY SHERATON                                       195

    CHAIRS BY SHERATON                                               196


    CHAIR BACKS, FROM SHERATON'S "CABINET MAKER"                     198

    A SIDEBOARD IN THE STYLE OF ROBERT ADAM                 _facing_ 200

    TOILET GLASS AND URN STANDS                                      201

    CARVED JARDINIERE BY CHIPPENDALE                                 202


    VIGNETTE OF AN EMPIRE TRIPOD, as Ornament to Initial Letter      203

    CABINET PRESENTED TO MARIE LOUISE                       _facing_ 204

    STOOL AND ARM CHAIR (NAPOLEON I. PERIOD)                         205

    NELSON'S CHAIRS BY SHERATON                             _facing_ 206

    DRAWING ROOM CHAIR, DESIGNED BY SHERATON                         207

    DRAWING ROOM CHAIR                                               208

    "CANOPY BED" BY SHERATON                             _following_ 208

    "SISTERS' CYLINDER BOOKCASE" BY SHERATON                         208

    SIDEBOARD AND SOFA TABLE (SHERATON)                              209

    DESIGN OF A ROOM BY T. HOPE                                      211


    PARLOR CHAIRS                                                    214

    BOOKCASE BY SHERATON                                    _facing_ 214

    DRAWING ROOM CHAIRS, FROM SMITH'S BOOK                           215

    PRIE-DIEU IN CARVED OAK, DESIGNED BY MR. PUGIN                   218

    SECRETAIRE AND BOOKCASE (German Gothic Style)                    219

    CRADLE FOR H.M. QUEEN VICTORIA, BY H. ROGERS                     222

    DESIGN FOR A TEA CADDY BY J. STRUDWICK                           223


    DESIGN FOR A WORK TABLE BY H. FITZCOOK                           225

    VENETIAN STOOL OF CARVED WALNUT                                  228



      SIDEBOARD, IN CARVED OAK, BY GILLOW                _following_ 228


      CABINET BY CRACE                                               228

      BOOKCASE BY JACKSON AND GRAHAM                                 228

      GRAND PIANOFORTE BY BROADWOOD                                  228

         to Initial Letter                                           229

      LADY'S ESCRITOIRE BY WETTLI, BERNE                             230

      LADY'S WORK TABLE AND SCREEN IN PAPIER MACHÉ                   232


      A STATE CHAIR BY JANCOWSKI, YORK                               232

      SIDEBOARD, IN CARVED OAK, BY DURANT, PARIS                     232

      BEDSTEAD, IN CARVED EBONY, BY ROULÉ, ANTWERP                   232

      PIANOFORTE, BY LEISTLER, VIENNA                                232

      BOOKCASE IN LIME TREE, BY LEISTLER, VIENNA                     232




      (1862 Exhibition, Paris)                                       235

      (1867 Exhibition, London)                          _following_ 236

    MANSFIELD (1867 Exhibition, Paris)                   _following_ 236

       Exhibition, Paris)                                _following_ 236

    DINING ROOM BY BRUCE J. TALBERT                         _facing_ 238

    THE ELLESMERE CABINET                                            243

    THE SALOON AT SANDRINGHAM HOUSE                      _following_ 244

    THE DRAWING ROOM AT SANDRINGHAM HOUSE                            244

    CARVED FRAME BY RADSPIELER, MUNICH                               248



Ancient Furniture.

    BIBLICAL REFERENCES: Solomon's House and Temple--Palace of
    Ahasuerus. ASSYRIAN FURNITURE: Nimrod's Palace--Mr. George Smith
    quoted. EGYPTIAN FURNITURE: Specimens in the British Museum--The
    Workman's Stool--Various Articles of Domestic Furniture--Dr. Birch
    quoted. GREEK FURNITURE: The Bas-reliefs in the British Museum--The
    Chest of Cypselus--Laws and Customs of the Greeks--House of
    Alcibiades--Plutarch quoted. ROMAN FURNITURE: Position of Rome--The
    Roman House--Cicero's Table--Thyine Wood--Customs of wealthy
    Romans--Downfall of the Empire.



The first well-known reference to woodwork is to be found in the Book of
Genesis, in the instructions given to Noah to make an Ark of gopher[1]
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 the history of furniture. One of these is the verse (2 Kings chap.
iv.) which tells us the contents of the "little chamber in the wall,"
when Elisha visited the Shunammite, about B.C. 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." Another
incident is some 420 years later, when, in the allusion to the grandeur
of the Palace of Ahasuerus, we catch a glimpse of Eastern magnificence
in the description of the drapery which furnished the apartment: "Where
were white, green, and blue hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen
and purple, to silver rings and pillars of marble; the beds were of gold
and silver, upon a pavement of red and blue and white and black marble."
(Esther i. 6.)

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



(_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 ruins
of Nimrod's Palace, which shews ability of high order for skilled metal

Mr. Smith, the famous Assyrian excavator and translator of cuniform
inscriptions, has told us in his "Assyrian Antiquities" of his finding
close to the site of Nineveh, portions of a crystal throne somewhat
similar in design to the bronze one mentioned above, and in another part
of this interesting book we have a description of an interior that is
useful in assisting us to form an idea of the condition of houses of a
date which can be correctly assigned to B.C. 860:--"Altogether in this
place I opened six chambers, all of the same character, the entrances
ornamented by clusters of square pilasters, and recesses in the rooms in
the same style; the walls were colored in horizontal bands of red, green,
and yellow, and where the lower parts of the chambers were panelled with
small stone slabs, the plaster and colours were continued over these."
Then follows a description of the drainage arrangements, and finally we
have Mr. Smith's conclusion that this was a private dwelling for the wives
and families of kings, together with the fact that on the other side of
the bricks he found the legend of Shalmeneser II. (B.C. 860), who probably
built this palace.


(_In the British Museum._)]


(_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 sometimes 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.


(_From a Bas-relief in the British Museum._)]



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


   (_From Photos by Mansell & Co. of the Originals in the British Museum._)

In the consideration of ancient Egyptian furniture we find valuable
assistance in the examples carefully preserved to us, and accessible to
every one in the British Museum, and one or two of these deserve passing
notice. Nothing can be more suitable for its purpose than 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.


(_From a Photo by Mansell & Co. of the Original Wall Painting in the
British Museum._)

PERIOD: B.C. 1500-1400.]

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.


(_From a Wall Painting at Thebes._)]

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

"For furniture, various woods were employed, ebony, acacia, or sont,
cedar, sycamore, and others of species not determined. Ivory, both of the
hippopotamus and elephant, were used for inlaying, as also were glass
pastes; and specimens of marquetry are not uncommon. In the paintings
in the tombs, gorgeous pictures and gilded furniture are depicted. For
cushions and mattresses, linen cloth and colored stuffs, filled with
feathers of the waterfowl, appear to have been used, while seats have
plaited bottoms of linen cord or tanned and dyed leather thrown over them,
and sometimes the skins of panthers served this purpose. For carpets they
used mats of palm fibre, on which they often sat. On the whole an Egyptian
house was lightly furnished, and not encumbered with so many articles as
are in use at the present 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 ancient people. Amongst the
group of illustrations on p. 6 will be seen a representation of a wooden
head-rest, which prevented the disarrangement of the coiffure of an
Egyptian lady of rank. A very similar head-rest, with a cushion attached
for comfort to the neck, is still in common use by the Japanese of the
present day.


(_From Papyrus in British Museum._)]


(_Reproduced from a Bas-relief in the British Museum._)



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


(_From an old Wall Painting._)]

In the second Vase-room of the British Museum the painting on one of
these vases represents two persons sitting on a couch, upon which is a
cushion of rich material, while for the comfort of the sitters there is a
footstool, probably of ivory. Facing page 8 there is an illustration of
a bas-relief in stone, "Bacchus received as a guest by Icarus," in which
the couch has turned legs and the feet are ornamented with carved leaf
work. Illustrations of tripods used for sacred or other purposes, and as
supports for braziers, lead us to the conclusion that tables were made
of wood, of marble, and of metal; also folding chairs, and couches for
sleeping and resting, but not for reclining at meals, as was the fashion
at a later period. In most of the designs for these various articles of
furniture there is a similarity of treatment of the head, legs, and feet
of lions, leopards, and sphinxes to that which we have noticed in the
Assyrian patterns.

[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 _chefs d'œuvre_ of Phidias, Apelles and
Praxiteles adorned the Senate House, the Theatre, and the Temple.

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

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


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

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

In Mr. Hungerford Pollen's useful handbook there is a description of
each room in a Roman house, with its proper Latin title and purpose; and
we know from other descriptions of Ancient Rome that the residences in
the Imperial City were divided into two distinct classes--that of the
_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. 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.


Said to have been that of Sallust.

PERIOD: B.C. 20 TO A.D. 20.]

[Illustration: A ROMAN STUDY.

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

Cicero's table was made of a wood called Thyine--wood which was brought
from Africa and held in the highest esteem. It was valued not only on
account of its beauty but also from superstitious or religious reasons.
The possession of thyine wood was supposed to bring good luck, and its
sacredness arose from the fact that from it was produced the incense used
by the priests. Dr. Edward Clapton, of St. Thomas' Hospital, who made a
collection of woods named in the Scriptures, managed to secure a specimen
of thyine, which a friend of his obtained on the Atlas Mountains. It
resembles the woods which we know as tuyere and amboyna.[2]

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

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



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 on the preceding page of the furniture of a
library or study in which the designs are very similar to the Greek ones
we have noticed; it is not improbable they were made and executed by Greek

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

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

In the _atrium_, or public reception room, was probably the best furniture
in the house. According to Moule's "Essay on Roman Villas," "it was here
that numbers assembled daily to pay their respects to their patron, to
consult the legislator, to attract the notice of the statesman, or to
derive importance in the eyes of the public from the apparent intimacy
with a man in power."

The growth of the Roman Empire eastward, the colonisation of Oriental
countries, and subsequently the establishment of an Eastern Empire,
produced gradually an alteration in Greek design, and though, if we were
discussing the merits of design and the canons of taste, this might be
considered a decline, still its influence on furniture was 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 coloring
of Eastern hangings and embroideries, of rich carpets and comfortable
cushions, of the lavish use of gold and silver, and meretricious and
redundant ornament.


(_From an Antique Bas-relief._)]

This slight sketch, brief and inadequate as it is, of a history of
furniture from the earliest time of which we have any record, until
from the extraordinary growth of the vast Roman Empire, the arts and
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 Cæsars, 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.


(_Found in Pompeii._)]


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 Hause."_)]

[Illustration: Plan of Triclinium.]


[Footnote 1: Gopher is supposed to mean cypress wood. See Notes on Woods

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


The Middle Ages.

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

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 united in a
common cause the swords and spears of friend and foe.

It was the age of monasteries and convents, of religious persecutions
and of heroic struggles of the Christian Church. It was the age of
feudalism, chivalry, and war, but towards its close a time of comparative
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 Michael, son of Theophilus
(824-864), to the Venetian Republic in recognition of services rendered,
by either the Doge Gradonico, who died in 864, or his predecessor, against
the Mahommedan incursions. Fragments only now remain, and these are
preserved in the Church of St. Pietro, at Castello.

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

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

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

It should be borne in mind that at this time Venice was gradually rising
to that marvellous position of wealth and power which she 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 _trichorum_, or
dining room, was generally the largest hall in the palace: two rows of
columns divided it into three parts, one for the royal family, one for
the officers of the household, and the third for the guests, who were
generally numerous. No person of rank who visited the King could leave
without sitting at his table or at least draining a cup to his health.
The King's hospitality was magnificent, especially on great religious
festivals, such as Christmas and Easter.

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

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

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

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



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


PERIOD: 12th and 13th Century.]

The coffers and caskets of early mediæval 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 the late Sir A. W. Franks, F.S.A., and
is one of the many valuable specimens given to the British Museum by its
generous curator.


(_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 in.

"In a hall, the height of which was greatly disproportioned to its extreme
length and width, a long oaken table--formed of planks rough hewn from the
forest, and which had scarcely received any polish--stood ready prepared
for the evening meal.... On the sides of the apartment hung implements of
war and of the chase, and there were at each corner folding doors which
gave access to the other parts of the extensive building.


(_From the Harleian MSS. in the British Museum._)]

"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 domestic and inferior persons fed, down towards the bottom of
the hall. The whole resembled the form of the letter =T=, or some of those
ancient dinner tables which, arranged on the same principles, may still
be seen in the ancient colleges of Oxford and Cambridge. Massive chairs
and settles of carved oak were placed upon the daïs, and over these seats
and the elevated tables 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 "bedclothes (bed-reafs) with a curtain (hyrfte) 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."


(_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 daïs," "an Anglo-Saxon
drinking party," and other illustrations which are in existence, prove
generally that, when the meal had finished, the table was removed and
drinking vessels were handed round from guest to guest; the story-tellers,
the minstrels, and the gleemen (conjurers) or jesters, beguiling the
festive hour with their different performances.

[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, which were altered and modified to suit
the habits and tastes of their later possessors. Lord Lytton has given us,
in the first chapter of his novel "Harold," the description of one of such
Saxonized Roman houses, in his reference to Hilda's 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 the
ladies was richer, and the general habits of the upper classes were more
refined. Stairs were introduced into houses, the "parloir" or "talking
room" was added, and fire places of brick or stonework were made in some
of the rooms, where previously the smoke was allowed to escape through an
aperture in the roof. Bedsteads were carved and draped with rich hangings.
Armoires made of oak and enriched with carvings, and "Presses" date from
about the end of the eleventh century.


[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 shews that our ancestors were becoming more
refined in their tastes. The terms of this precept were as follows, viz.,
"The King's great chamber at Westminster to be painted a green colour like
a curtain, that in the great gable or frontispiece of the said chamber, a
French inscription should be painted, and that the King's little wardrobe
should be painted of a green colour to imitate a curtain."

In another 100 or 150 years we find mediæval Art approaching its best
period, not only in England, but in the great Flemish cities, such as
Bruges and Ghent, which in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries
played so important a part in the history of that time. The taste for
Gothic architecture had now well set in, and we find that in this, as in
every change of style, the fashion in woodwork naturally followed that of
ornament in stone; indeed, in many cases it is more than probable that the
same hands which planned the cathedral or monastery also drew the designs
for furniture, especially as the finest specimens of wood carving were
devoted to the service of the church.

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

To the end of the thirteenth century belongs the Coronation Chair made for
King Edward I., 1296-1300, and now in Westminster Abbey. This historic
relic is of oak, and the woodcut on the opposite page gives an idea of the
design and decorative carving. It is said that the pinnacles on each side
of the gabled back were formerly surmounted by two leopards, of which only
small portions remain. The famous Coronation Stone, which, according to
ancient legend, is the identical one on which the patriarch Jacob rested
his head at Bethel, when "he tarried there all night because the sun was
set, and he took of the stones of that place and put them up for his
pillows" (Gen. xxviii.), can be seen through the quatrefoil openings under
the seat.[3]

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

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

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


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


Late 14th Century.]

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

[Illustration: CHAIR.

In St. Mary's Hall, Coventry.


From an Old English Monastery.



Penshurst Place, near Tonbridge, the residence of the late 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 the late Lord de
l'Isle, the writer was allowed to examine many objects of great interest
there, and from the careful preservation of many original fittings and
articles of furniture, one may still gain some idea of the "hall" as it
appeared when that part of the house was the scene of the chief events
in the daily life of the family--the raised daïs for host and honoured
guests, the better table which was placed there (illustrated on the
preceding page), and the commoner ones for the body of the hall; and
though the ancient buffet which displayed the gold and silver cups is
gone, one can see where it would have stood. Penshurst is said to possess
the only hearth of that period now remaining in England, an octagonal
space edged with stone in the centre of the hall, over which was once
the simple opening for the outlet of smoke through the roof; and the old
andirons or firedogs are still there.


(_From a Miniature in "Othea," a Poem by Christine de Pisan. XIV. Century,


(_From Miniatures in the Royal Library, Brussels._)


An idea of the furniture of an apartment in France during the fourteenth
century is conveyed by the illustration on this page, and it is very
useful, because, although we have on record many descriptions of the
appearance of the furniture of state apartments, we have very few
authenticated accounts of the way in which such domestic chambers as the
one occupied by "a knight and his lady" were arranged. The prie-dieu
chair was generally at the bedside, and had a seat which lifted up, the
lower part forming a boxlike receptacle for devotional books, then so
regularly used by a lady of the time. Towards the end of the fourteenth
century there was in high quarters a taste for bright and rich coloring;
we have the testimony of an old writer who describes the interior of the
Hotel de 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, Genoa, Florence,
Milan, Ghent, Bruges, Antwerp, and many other famous cities had traded
extensively with the East and had grown opulent, and their homes
naturally shewed signs of wealth and comfort that in former times had
been impossible to any but princes and rich nobles. Laws had been made in
compliance with the complaints of the aristocracy, to place some curb on
the growing ambition of the "bourgeoisie"; thus we find an old edict in
the reign of Philippe the Fair (1285-1314)--"No bourgeois shall have a
chariot, nor wear gold, precious stones, nor crowns of gold and silver.
Bourgeois not being prelates or dignitaries of state shall not have tapers
of wax. A bourgeois possessing 2,000 pounds (tournois) or more, may order
for himself a dress of 12 sous[4] 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 from 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

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
chestnut, and sometimes elaborately gilded and picked out in color. The
canopied seats were very bulky and throne-like constructions, and were
abandoned towards the end of the fifteenth century; and it is worthy of
notice that though we have retained our word "chair," adopted from the
Norman French, the French people discarded their synonym in favour of its
diminutive "chaise" to describe the somewhat smaller and less massive seat
which came into use in the sixteenth century.


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

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


The skilled artisans of Paris had arrived at a very high degree of
excellence in the fourteenth century, and in old documents describing
valuable articles of furniture, care is taken to note that they are
of Parisian workmanship. According to Lacroix, there is an account of
the court silversmith, Etienne La Fontaine, which gives us an idea of
the amount of extravagance sometimes committed in the manufacture and
decorations of a chair, into which it was then the fashion to introduce
the incrustations of precious stones; thus for making a silver arm chair
and ornamenting it with pearls, crystals, and other stones, he charged the
King of France, in 1352, no less a sum than 774 louis.

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


(_From Miniatures in the National Library, Paris._)


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



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


(_From Viollet-le-Duc._)


The furniture of ordinary houses of this period was very simple. Chests,
more or less carved, and ornamented with iron work, settles of oak or
of chestnut, stools or benches with carved supports, a bedstead and a
prie-dieu chair, a table with plain slab supported on shaped standards,
would nearly complete the inventory of the furniture of the chief room in
a house of a well-to-do merchant in France until the fourteenth century
had turned. The table was narrow, apparently not more than some 30 inches
wide, and guests sat on one side only, the service taking place from the
unoccupied side of the table. In palaces and baronial halls, the servants
with dishes were followed by musicians, as shewn in an old miniature of
the time, reproduced on page 39.

[Illustration: SCRIBE OR COPYIST

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

(_From an Old Miniature._)


Turning to German work of the fifteenth century, there is, in the South
Kensington Museum, a cast of the famous choir stalls in the Cathedral of
Ulm, which are considered to be the finest work of the Swabian school
of German wood carving. The magnificent panel of foliage on the front,
the Gothic triple canopy with the busts of Isaiah. David, and Daniel,
are thoroughly characteristic specimens of design; the signature of the
artist, Jörg 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.


(_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 the design. Thus in Italy there was, until the latter
part of the fifteenth century, a mixture of Byzantine and Gothic, of which
we can see a capital example in the casts 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.



This transition from Mediæval and Gothic, to Renaissance, is clearly
noticeable in the woodwork of many cathedrals and churches in England and
in continental cities. It is evident that the chairs, stalls, and pulpits
in many of these buildings have been executed at different times, and
the change from one style to another is more or less marked. The Flemish
buffet illustrated (opposite page 44) is an example of this transition,
and may be contrasted with the French Gothic buffet illustrated on page
43, and referred to on page 44. There is also in the central hall of the
South Kensington Museum a plaster cast of a carved wood altar stall
in the Abbey of Saint Denis, France: the pilasters at the sides have
the familiar Gothic pinnacles, while the panels are ornamented with
arabesques, scrolls, and an interior in the Renaissance style; the date of
this is late in the fifteenth century.


(_Drawn from the original in the possession of Seymour Lucas, Esq., R.A._)]

English examples of this period are very scarce, and the buffet
illustrated here is a favourable specimen of our national work late in
the fifteenth century. While the crocketted enrichment in the brackets
shews the Gothic taste, there are mouldings and some flutings in the upper
part which mark the tendency to adopt classic ornament, which came in at
the end of the fifteenth century. It was probably made for one of our old
abbeys, but Mr. Seymour Lucas, R.A., to whom it belongs, and from whose
drawing the illustration is made, says it was for a long time at Freenes
Court, Sutton, the ancient seat of Sir Henry Linger.

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

[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._)



With Oak Chests as Seats.


With movable Backrest, in front of Fireplace.


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 "ébenistes," 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."


Late XIV. or Early XV. Century. Flemish.

(_From an Old Painting._)]




(_From a Miniature in the Library of St. Petersburg._)

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



[Footnote 3: 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."]

[Footnote 4: 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


The Renaissance.

    THE RENAISSANCE IN ITALY: Leonardo da Vinci and Raffaelle--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:
    François 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--Introductions of Frames into England--Characteristics of
    Native Woodwork--Famous Country Mansions, alteration in design of
    Woodwork and Furniture--Panelled Rooms at South Kensington--The
    Charterhouse--Gray's Inn Hall and Middle Temple--The Hall of
    the Carpenters' Company--The Great Bed of Ware--Shakespeare's
    Chair--Penhurst Place.

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,
innumerable, have been devoted. Within the limited space of a single
chapter all that can be attempted is a brief glance at the influence on
design by which furniture and woodwork were affected. Perhaps the simplest
way of understanding the changes which occurred, first in Italy, and
subsequently in other countries, is to divide the chapter on this period
into a series of short notes arranged in the order in which Italian
influence would seem to have affected the designers 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 Athenian artists of old.


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

It is difficult to say with any certainty when the first commencement
of a new era actually takes place, but there is an incident related in
Michael Bryan's biographical notice of Leonardo da Vinci which gives us
an approximate date. Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, had appointed this
great master Director of Painting and Architecture in his academy in 1494,
and, says Bryan, who obtained his information from contemporary writers,
"Leonardo no sooner entered on his office, than he banished all the Gothic
principles established by his predecessor, Michaelino, and introduced the
beautiful simplicity and purity of the Grecian and Roman 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 Raffaelle, to whose superintendence Pope Leo X.
confided the work on the death of the architect in 1514. Michael Angelo
had the charge committed to him some years after Raffaelle's 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.


In the Loggie of the Vatican.





Reproduced from the "Magazine of Art." (By Permission.)]

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 X.
was a member of that remarkable and powerful family the Medicis, the very
mention of which is to suggest the Renaissance, and under his patronage,
and with the co-operation of the reigning dukes and princes of the
different Italian states, artists were given encouragement and scope for
the employment of their talents. Michael Angelo, Titian, Raffaelle Sanzio,
Andrea del Sarto, Correggio, and many other great artists were raising
up monuments of everlasting fame; Palladio was re-building the palaces
of Italy, which were then the wonder of the world; Benvenuto Cellini
and Lorenzo Ghiberti were designing those marvellous _chefs d'œuvre_ 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.


Found in the house of Michael Angelo.]

The circumstances of the Italian noble caused him to be very amenable
to Art influence. Living chiefly out of doors, his climate rendered him
less dependent on the comforts of small rooms, to which more northern
people were attached, and his ideas would naturally incline towards pomp
and elegance, rather than to home life and utility. Instead of the warm
chimney corner and the comfortable seat, he preferred furniture of a more
palatial character for the adornment of the lofty and spacious saloons
of his palace, and therefore we find the buffet elaborately carved with
a free treatment of the classic antique which marks the time; it was
frequently "garnished" with the beautiful majolica of Urbino, of Pesaro,
and of Gubbio. The sarcophagus, or _cassone_, of oak, or more commonly of
chestnut or walnut, sometimes painted and gilded, sometimes carved with
scrolls and figures; the cabinet designed with architectural outline, and
fitted up inside with steps and pillars like a temple; chairs which are
wonderful to look upon as guardians of a stately doorway, but uninviting
as seats; tables inlaid, gilded, and carved, with slabs of marble or
of Florentine mosaic work, but which from their height are as a rule
impossible to use for any domestic purpose; mirrors with richly carved
and gilded frames: these are all so many evidences of a style which is
palatial rather than domestic, in design as in proportion.


(_In the South Kensington Museum._)]

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


(Collection of Comte de Briges).


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. Other examples of fifteenth century
Italian carving, such as the old Cassone fronts, are picked out with
gold, the remainder of the work displaying the rich warm color of the
walnut or chestnut wood, either of which was most invariably used.

[Illustration: MARRIAGE COFFER.

Carved and Gilt, with Painted Subject.



(_South Kensington Museum._) on other drawings]

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 bellows in the South Kensington Collection. In the famous
Magniac Collection, which was sold in July, 1892, a pair of very finely
carved Venetian bellows of this description realised the high price of 455


(_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.[5]


Towards the end of the fourteenth century, makers of ornamental furniture
began to copy marble mosaic work, by making similar patterns of different
woods, and subsequently this branch of industrial Art developed from
such modest beginnings as the simple pattern of a star, or bandings of
different kinds of wood in the panel of a door, to elaborate picture
making, in which landscapes, views of churches, houses, and picturesque
ruins were copied, figures and animals being also 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 was heightened by burning with hot
sand the parts requiring shading; and the lines caused by the thickness of
the sawcuts were filled in with black wood or stained glue, to define the
design more clearly.

The "mounting" of articles of furniture with metal enrichments doubtless
originated in the iron corner pieces and hinge plates which were used to
strengthen the old chests, of which mention has been already made, and as
the artificers began to render their productions decorative as well as
useful, what more natural progress than that the iron corners, bandings,
or fastenings, should be of ornamental forged or engraved iron. In the
sixteenth century, metal workers reached a point of excellence which has
never been surpassed, and those marvels of mountings in steel, iron and
brass were produced in Italy and Germany, which are far more important as
works of Art than the plain and unpretending productions of the coffer
maker, which are their _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 those safeguards for valuable documents at a
time when the modern burglar-proof safe had not been invented.

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

"Pietra-durá," as an ornament, was first introduced into Italy during
the sixteenth century and became a fashion. This was an inlay of
highly-polished rare marbles, agates, hard pebbles, lapis lazuli, and
other stones; ivory was also carved and applied as a bas-relief, as well
as inlaid in arabesques of the most elaborate designs; tortoise-shell,
brass, mother-of-pearl, and other costly materials, were introduced, as
enrichments in the decoration of cabinets and of caskets. Silver plaques
embossed and engraved were pressed into the service as the native princes
of Florence, Urbino, Ferrara, and other independent cities vied with
Rome, Venice, and Naples in sumptuousness of ornament, and lavishness
of expense, until the inevitable period of decline supervened in which
exaggeration of ornament and prodigality of decoration gave the eye no


(_South Kensington Museum._)]

Edmond Bonnaffé, contrasting the latter period of Italian Renaissance with
that of sixteenth century French woodwork, has pithily remarked: "_Chez
eux, l'art du bois consiste à le dissimuler chez nous à le fair valoir._"

Mr. Ruskin, in his "Stones of Venice," alludes to this over-ornamentation
of the later Renaissance in severe terms. After describing the progress of
Art in Venice from Byzantine to Gothic, and from Gothic to Renaissance, he
sub-divides the latter period into three classes:--1. Renaissance grafted
on Byzantine. 2. Renaissance grafted on Gothic. 3. Renaissance grafted on
Renaissance; and this last the veteran Art critic calls "double darkness,"
one of his characteristic terms of condemnation which many of us cannot
follow, but the spirit of which we can appreciate.

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


(_From Drawings of the Originals in the South Kensington Museum._)]

[Illustration: EBONY CABINET.

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


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


Carved and Gilt Frame, upholstered with Embroidered Velvet. Date about

(_In the possession of H.M. the King at Windsor Castle._)]

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.


From Italy the great revival of industrial Art travelled to France.
Charles VIII., who for two years had held Naples (1494-96), brought among
other artists from Italy, Bernadino de Brescia and Domenico de Cortona;
and Art, which at this time was in a feeble, languishing state in France,
began to revive. Francis I. employed an Italian architect to build the
chateau of Fontainebleau, which had hitherto been but an old-fashioned
hunting-box in the middle of the forest, and Leonardo da Vinci and Andrea
del Sarto came from Florence to decorate the interior. Guilio Romano, who
had assisted Raffaelle to paint the loggie of the Vatican, exercised an
influence in France, which was transmitted by his pupils for generations.
The marriage of Henry II. with Catherine de Medici increased the influence
of Italian Art, and the subsequent union of Marie de Medici with Henri
Quatre continued that influence. Diane de Poictiers, mistress of Henry
II., was the patroness of artists; and Fontainebleau has been well said
to "reflect the glories of gay and splendour loving kings, from François
Premier to Henri Quatre."

Besides Fontainebleau, Francis I. built the Chateau of Chambord,[6] that
of Chenonceaux on the Loire, the Chateau de Madrid, and others, and
commenced the Louvre.

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

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

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



[Illustration: CHIMNEY PIECE.

In the Gallery of Henri II., Chateau of Fontainebleau.


Besides the "_chaire_," which was reserved for the "_seigneur_," there
were smaller and more convenient stools, the [Illustration] 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 opened 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," certain articles of
furniture being particularised in old documents as "_fait a Paris_."

He also mentions that Francis I. preferred to employ native workmen, and
that the Italians were retained 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 leur tréteaux_," "_chandeliers de bois_," and other


By J. Amman, in the 16th century, shewing interiors of Workshops of the

The bedstead, of which there is an illustration on the opposite page, is a
good representation of French Renaissance. It formed part of the contents
of the Chateau of Pau, and belonged to Jeanne d'Albret, mother of Henri
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

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


From the Chateau of Pau. (Collection "Mobilier National.")



In the Musée du Louvre. (Collection Sauvageot.)


(_Reproduced by permission of Messrs. Boussod Valadon et Cie._)]

[Illustration: CARVED OAK CABINET.

Made at Lyons.


An important collection of carved furniture of French Renaissance was
exhibited in _l'exposition rétrospective de Lyon_, held in that city in
1877, and M. J. B. Giraud, _conservateur_ of the Archæological Museums
of Lyons, has reproduced some fifty of the more important specimens in
his valuable work,[7] published in 1880, giving the name of the lender of
each example and other details. The "Lyons" cabinet, of which there is an
illustration, following p. 60, is one of these, and is in the Collection
of Mr. E. Aynard. The "Spitzer" Collection, sold in Paris in 1893,
contained several fine examples of French Renaissance oak furniture, which
realised large prices.

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

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


(_From a Miniature dated 1643._)]

It is somewhat singular that while Normandy very quickly adopted the new
designs in her buildings and her furniture, and Rouen carvers and joiners
became famous for their work, the neighbouring province, Brittany, was
conservative of her earlier designs. The sturdy Breton has through all
changes of style preserved much of the rustic quaintness of his furniture,
and when some years ago the writer was stranded in a sailing trip up the
Rance, 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.


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

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

One of the most famous examples of rich wood carving is the well known
hall and chimney piece at Bruges with its group of cupidons and armorial
bearings, amongst an abundance of floral detail. This over ornate _chef
d'œuvre_ 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 colored black to indicate the marble
of which it was composed, with panels of alabaster carved in relief,
while the whole of the upper portion of the richly carved ceiling of the
room is of oak. This chimney piece is noteworthy, not only artistically
but historically, as being a monument in its way, in celebration of the
victory gained by Charles V. over Francis I. of France, in 1529, at Pavia,
the victorious sovereign being at this time not only Emperor of Germany,
but also enjoying amongst other titles those of Duke of Burgundy, Count of
Flanders, King of Spain and the Indies, etc., etc. The large statues of
the Emperor, of Ferdinand and Isabella, with some thirty-seven heraldic
shields of the different royal families with which the conqueror claimed
connection, are prominent features in the intricate and elaborate design.

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


(_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
which we recognise as "Flemish Renaissance."

[Illustration: A BARBER'S SHOP.


Showing Furniture of the time.

(From Wood Engravings by J Amman. 16th CENTURY.)]

Lucas Faydherde, 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.

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

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

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

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


(_From a XVI. Century MS._)]


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


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

(_In the Royal Academy, 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 tortoise-shell,
of ebony, and of scarce woods from her Indian possessions; though in a
more general way chestnut was still a favorite medium.


(_In the King's Collection, Windsor Castle._)]

Contemporaneously with decorative woodwork of Moorish design there was
also a great deal of carving, and of furniture made, after designs brought
from Italy and the North of Europe; and Mr. J. H. Pollen, quoting a
trustworthy Spanish writer, Señor J. F. Riaño, 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
Borgoñu. 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."

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 "Vargueños," 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." * * *


Covered in Leather, with embossed pattern. Spanish. (Collection of Baron
de Vallière.)


[Illustration: WOODEN COFFER.

With wrought iron mounts and falling flap, on carved stand. Spanish.

(Collection of M. Monbrison.)


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

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

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

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

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

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


German Renaissance may be said to have made its debût 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 various events in
history; a triumphal procession of Cæsar, the Prophet Daniel explaining
his dream, the landing of Æneas, and other events. The Emperor Rudolphus
placed the chair in the City of Prague, Gustavus Adolphus plundered the
city and removed it to Sweden, whence it was brought by Mr. Gustavus
Brander about 100 years ago, and sold by him to Lord Radnor.

As is the case with Flemish wood-carving, it is often difficult to
identify German work, but its chief characteristics may be described as
an exuberant realism and a fondness for minute detail. M. 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 back of the choir stalls, are marvellous work, and the whole must
have been a harmonious and well-considered arrangement of ornament. The
work, executed by the monks themselves, is said to have been commenced
in 1600, and to have been completed in 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 authorities of S.
Saviour's to say that anyone who is interested in Art will be allowed to
see the chapel.


(_From a Drawing by Prof. Heideloff._)]


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

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


The joiner's work plays 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 ornamented
interiors are to be found, that of the roof and choir stalls in the
beautiful Chapel of Henry VII. in Westminster Abbey being world famous.
The carved enrichments of the under parts of the seats, or "misericords,"
are remarkably minute, the subjects apparently being taken from old
German engravings. This work was done in England before architecture and
wood carving had altogether flung aside their Gothic trammels, and shews
an admixture of the new Italian style which was afterwards so generally

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 wᵀᴴout 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 "privee parloir," was the part of
the house where the family enjoyed domestic life, and it is a singular
fact that the Clerics of the time, and also the Court party, saw in this
tendency towards private life so grave an objection that, in 1526, this
change in fashion was the subject of a Court ordinance, and also of a
special Pastoral from Bishop Grosbeste. The text runs thus: "Sundrie
noblemen and 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


(_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.


(_Described below._)]

In the South Kensington Museum there is a very remarkable cabinet, the
decoration of which points to its being made in England at this time--that
is, about the middle, or during the latter half of the sixteenth century;
but the highly finished and intricate marqueterie and carving would
seem to prove that Italian or German craftsmen had executed the work. It
should be carefully examined as a very interesting specimen. The Tudor
arms, the rose and portcullis, are inlaid on the stand. The arched panels
in the folding doors and at the ends of the cabinet are in high relief,
representing battle scenes, and bear some resemblance to Holbein's style.
The general arrangement of the design reminds one of a Roman triumphal
arch. The woods employed are chiefly pear tree, inlaid with coromandel
and other woods. Its height is 4ft. 7in. and width 3ft. 1in., but there
is in it an immense amount of careful detail which could only be the work
of the most skilful craftsmen of the day, and it was evidently intended
for a room of moderate dimensions where the intricacies of design could be
observed. Mr. Hungerford Pollen has described this cabinet fully, giving
the subjects of the ornament, the Latin mottoes and inscriptions, and
other details, which occupy over four closely-printed pages of his Museum
catalogue. It cost the nation £500, and was a very judicious purchase.

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

If we attempt to gain a knowledge of the designs of the tables of the
sixteenth, and the early part of the seventeenth centuries, from interiors
represented in paintings of this period, the visit to the picture gallery
will be almost in vain, for in nearly every case the table is covered
by a cloth. As these cloths or "carpets," as they were then termed, to
distinguish them from the "tapet" or floor covering, often cost far more
than the articles they covered, a word about them may be 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. Jones, 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
    A joyned frame xvj_d._
    A bord ij_s._ vj_d._
    A little side table with a frame ij_s._ vj_d._
    A pair of virginalls with the frame xxx_s._
    Six joyned stooles covr'd with nedle werke xv_s._
    Sixe other joyned stooles vj_s._
    One cheare of nedle werke iij_s._ iiij_d._
    Two little fote stooles iiij_d._
    One longe carpett of Turky werke vi_li._
    A shortte carpett of the same work xij_s._ iiij_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 middesle."
    Eight pictures xl_s._ Maps, a pedigree of Earl Leicester in
       "joyned frame" and a list
      of books.

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

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

Knole, Longleat, Burleigh, Hatfield, Hardwick, and Audley End are familiar
instances of the change in interior decoration which accompanied that in
architecture; terminal figures, that is, pedestals diminishing towards
their bases, surmounted by busts of men or women, elaborate interlaced
strap work carved in low relief, trophies of fruit and flowers, take the
places of the more Gothic treatment formerly in vogue. The change in
the design of furniture naturally followed, for when Flemish or Italian
carvers were not employed, the actual execution was often 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.


(_In the Palace of the Bishop of Bath and Wells._)]

There is a mirror frame at Goodrich Court of early Elizabethan work,
carved in oak and partly gilt; the design is in the best style of
Renaissance, and more like Italian or French, than English work.
Architectural mouldings, wreaths of flowers, cupids, and an allegorical
figure of Faith are harmoniously combined in the design, the size of the
whole frame being 4ft. 5ins. by 3ft. 6ins. It bears the initials R.M., and
is dated 1359, the year in which Roland Meyrick became Bishop of Bangor;
it is still in the possession of the Meyrick family. A careful drawing of
this frame was made by Henry Shaw, F.S.A., and published in "Specimens of
Ancient Furniture drawn from existing Authorities," in 1836. This valuable
work of reference also contains finished drawings of other noteworthy
examples of the sixteenth century furniture and woodwork. Amongst these
is one of the Abbot's chair at Glastonbury, temp. Henry VIII., the
original of the chair familiar to us now in the chancel of most churches;
also a chair in the State-room of Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire, covered
with crimson velvet embroidered with silver tissue, and others, very
interesting to refer to because the illustrations are all drawn from the
articles themselves, and their descriptions are written by an excellent
antiquarian and collector, Sir Samuel Rush Meyrick.

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

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 52ft.,
and average height 8ft. 3in. 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.


A later purchase by the Science and Art Department, which was added to
the Museum in 1891 for the extremely moderate price of £1,000, is the
panelling of a room some 23ft. square and 12ft. 6in. high, from Sizergh
Castle, Westmoreland. The chimney piece was unfortunately not purchased,
but the Department has arranged the panelling as a room with a plaster
model of the extremely handsome ceiling. The panelling is of richly
figured oak, entirely devoid of polish, and is inlaid with black bog oak
and holly, in geometrical designs, being divided at intervals by tall
pilasters with flutings of bog oak and having Ionic capitals. The work was
probably done locally, and from wood grown on the estate, and is one of
the most remarkable examples in existence. The date is about 1560 to 1570,
and it has been described in local literature as of nearly 200 years' age.

[Illustration: OAK WAINSCOTING.

From an old house in Exeter. S Kensington Museum.


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 is reputed to be one of the wealthiest of
his time. Some of the furniture given by him will be found noticed in the
chapter on the Jacobean period.


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


[Illustration: OAK SCREEN.


[Illustration: HALL OF GRAY'S INN.

Shewing Tables and Benches.]

There are in London other excellent examples of Elizabethan oak carving.
Amongst those easily accessible and valuable for reference, are the Hall
of Gray's Inn, built in 1560, the second year of the Queen's reign,
and Middle Temple Hall, built in 1570-2. By permission of Mr. William
R. Douthwaite, librarian of "Gray's Inn," and author of "Gray's Inn,
its History and Associations," we are enabled to give illustrations
of the interior of the Hall, and also of the carved screen supporting
the Minstrels' Gallery. The interlaced strap work, generally found in
Elizabethan carving, encircles the shafts of the columns as a decoration.
The table in the centre has also some low relief carving on the drawer
front which forms its frieze, but the straight and severe style of leg
leads us to place its date at some fifty years later than the Hall.
The desk on the left, and the table on the right, are probably of a
still later period. It may be mentioned here, too, that the long table
which stands at the opposite end of the Hall, on the 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 probably introduced into
England about the time of William III.

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

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

In Mr. Herbert's "Antiquities of the Inns of Court and Chancery," there
are several facts of interest in connection with the woodwork of Middle
Temple. He mentions that the screen was paid for by 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.


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


In the Hall of the Carpenters' Company, in Throgmorton Avenue, are three
curious carved oak panels, worth noticing here, as they are of a date
bringing them well into this period. They were formerly in the old Hall,
which escaped the Great Fire, and in the account books of the Corporation
is the following record of the cost of one of these panels:--

    "Paide for a planke to carve the arms of the Companie          iijs."
    "Paide to the Carver for carving the arms of
        the Companie                                      xxiijs. iiijd."

The price of material (3s.) and workmanship (23s. 4d.) was certainly not
excessive. All three panels are in excellent preservation, and the design
of a harp, being a rebus of the Master's name, is a quaint relic of old
customs. Some other oak furniture, in the Hall of this ancient Company,
will be noticed in the following chapter. Mr. Jupp, a former Clerk of
the Company, has written an historical account of the "Carpenters,"
which contains 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


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.



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

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

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

    SIR TOBY BELCH.--And as many lies as shall lie in thy sheet of paper
    altho' the sheet were big enough for the Bed of Ware in England, set
    em down, go about it.

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

[Illustration: SHAKESPEARE'S CHAIR.]

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

[Illustration: THE GREAT BED OF WARE.

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


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
elegances and grace with which Art, and increased means of gratifying
taste, enabled the sixteenth century virtuoso to adorn his home.


(_Reproduced from "Historic Houses of the United Kingdom," by permission
of Messrs. Cassell & Co., Limited._)]




[Footnote 5: 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.]

[Footnote 6: Writers of authority on architecture have noticed that the
chief characteristic in style of the French Renaissance, as contrasted
with the Italian, is that in the latter the details and ornament of the
new school were imposed on the old foundations of the Gothic character.
The Chateau of Chambord is given as an instance of this combination.]

[Footnote 7: "Meubles en bois sculpté ayant figuré à l'exposition
rétrospective de Lyon en 1877," par J. B. Giraud.]

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


Jacobean Furniture.

    English Home Life in the Reign of James I.--Sir Henry Wotton
    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
    Grandfathers' 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 quaint passage in one of Sir
Henry Wotton's letters, written in 1600, which shews that this home life
was now becoming a settled characteristic of his countrymen.

"Every man's proper mansion house and home, being the theatre of his
hospitality, the seate of his selfe fruition, the comfortable part of
his own life, the noblest of his son's inheritance, a kind of private
princedom, nay the possession thereof an epitome of the whole world well
deserve by these attributes, according to the degree of the master, to be
delightfully adorned."


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 Wotton 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 to lie abroad 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



In the following year he returned from Italy on his appointment as King's
Surveyor of Works, and until his death in 1652 was full of work, although
unfortunately for us, much that he designed was never carried out, and
much that he carried out has been destroyed by fire. The Banqueting
Hall of Whitehall, now Whitehall Chapel; St. Paul's, Covent Garden; the
old water gate originally intended as the entrance to the first Duke of
Buckingham's Palace, close to Charing Cross; Nos. 55 and 56, on the south
side of Great Queen Street, Lincoln's Inn; and one or two monuments and
porches, are amongst the examples that remain to us of this great master's
work; and of interiors, that of Ashburnham House is left to remind us,
with its quiet dignity of style, of this great master. It has been said
in speaking of the staircase, plaster ornament, and woodwork of this
interior, "upon the whole is set the seal of the time of Charles I." As
the work was probably finished during the King's reign, the impression
intended to be conveyed was that after wood carving had rather run riot
towards the end of the sixteenth century, we had now in the interior
designed by Inigo Jones, or influenced by his school, a more quiet and
sober style.


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
belong to the earlier period.

The illustrations of wooden chimney pieces will shew this change. There
are in the South Kensington Museum some three or four chimney pieces of
stone, having the upper portions of carved oak, the dates of which have
been ascertained to be about 1620; these were removed from an old house
in Lime Street, City, and give us an idea of the interior decoration of
a residence of a London merchant. The one illustrated is 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.


_In the Hall of the Carpenters' Company._]

The earliest dated piece of Jacobean furniture which has come under the
writer's observation is the octagonal table belonging to the Carpenters'
Company. The illustration, taken from Mr. Jupp's book referred to in the
last chapter, hardly does the table justice; it is really a very handsome
piece of furniture, and measures about 3 feet 3 inches in diameter. In
the spandrils of the arches between the legs are the letters R.W., G.I.,
J.R., and W.W., being the initials of Richard Wyatt, George Isack, John
Reeve, and William Willson, who were Master and Wardens of the Company in
1606, which date is carved in two of the spandrils. While the ornamental
legs shew some of the characteristics of Elizabethan work, the treatment
is less bold, the large acorn-shaped member has become more refined and
attenuated, and the ornament is altogether more subdued. This is a
remarkable specimen of early Jacobean furniture, and is the only one of
the shape and kind known to the writer; it is in excellent preservation,
save that the top is split. It shews signs of having been made with
considerable skill and care.

[Illustration: CARVED OAK CHAIR.

From Abingdon Park.


In the Carpenters' Hall.

(_From Photos in the S. Kensington Museum Album._)


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 Photographic Department. The left-hand
chair, from Abingdon Park, is said to have belonged to Lady Barnard,
Shakespeare's grand-daughter, and the other may still be seen in the Hall
of the Carpenters' Company.

[Illustration: OAK CHIMNEY PIECE.

Removed from an old house in Lime Street, City.

(_South Kensington Museum._)


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 tables 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 usually made at this time. As the Chapter House was, until
comparatively recent years, used as a room for the storage of records,
this table was probably made, not as a dining table, but for some other
purpose requiring greater width.



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

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

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

In the carved work of this furniture we cannot help thinking that the
hand of the Venetian craftsman is to be traced, and it is probable that
they were either imported or copied from a pattern brought over for that
purpose. A suite of furniture of that time appears to have consisted
of six stools and two arm chairs, almost entirely covered with velvet,
having the "[Illustration]" 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.


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, trimmed with Fringe, and studded with Copper Nails.


(_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.


The Furniture of this room was presented by James I. to the Earl of

(_From a Photo by Mr. Corke, of Sevenoaks._)]

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

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

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

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

Macaulay, at the conclusion of his essay on Lord Holland, has, with his
unrivalled power of description, told us of the charm and fascination
of "that circle in which every talent and accomplishment, every art and
science, had its place"--enumerating also the names of many of those
who formed it, and expatiating on "the grace and the kindness, far more
admirable than grace, with which the princely hospitality of that ancient
mansion was dispensed." Princess Liechtenstein has also preserved for
us, in "Holland House," a charming record of many of the historical
associations of this famous old place.

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

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

There is some good old woodwork of the early part of the seventeenth
century, and the panelling and chimney piece of the famous "white parlour"
are of the times of James I., the work, still in good preservation,
being in the best Jacobean taste. The panels are formed by bold uncarved
mouldings, separated at intervals by flat pilasters with fluted shafts
and carved capitals; the panels in the frieze, between the trusses, which
support a "dentilled" cornice, are enriched with fretwork ornaments in
relief, and the whole has a simple but decorative architectural effect
of the best English rendering of the Renaissance. The "gilt room," where
the ghost is said to commence its nocturnal promenade, was decorated by
Francesco Cleyn, an Italian, who also worked for the King.[9] The room
was prepared for a ball which was purposed to be given in honor of the
marriage of Prince Charles to Henrietta Maria. There are now on the chief
staircase of Holland House, two chairs with their backs carved as shells,
and with legs shaped and ornamented with scrollwork, and masks with swags
of foliage, which are also attributed to Cleyn. Horace Walpole, in a
reference to Holland House, has mentioned these chairs in "Anecdotes
of Painters." "Two chairs, carved and gilt, with large shells for backs
... were undoubtedly from his designs, and are evidences of his taste."
Walpole also mentions a garden seat of similar design by Cleyn. A drawing
of one of these chairs forms the tail piece of this chapter.

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 Archæological Society, who visited
Eagle House, Wimbledon, in 1890. It appears to have been the country seat
of a London merchant, who lived early in the seventeenth century. Mr.
Jackson bears witness to the excellence of the workmanship, and expresses
his opinion that the carved and decorated enrichments were executed by
native and not by foreign craftsmen. He gives an illustration in his
pamphlet of the sunk "Strap Work," which, though Jacobean in its date, is
also found in the carved ornament of Elizabeth's time.

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


Carved and Gilt.

Upholstered in Rich Silk Velvet. Part of Suite at Penshurst Place.

Also an Italian Cabinet.


But to consider some of the furniture of this period in detail. Until the
sixteenth century was well advanced the word "table" in our language meant
an index or pocket book (tablets), or a list, not an article of furniture.
The table was, as we have noticed in the time of Elizabeth, composed of
boards generally hinged in the middle for convenience of storage, and
supported on trestles which were sometimes ornamented by carved work. The
word trestle, by the way, is said to be derived from the "threstule,"
_i.e._, three-footed supports, and these three-legged stools and benches
formed in those days the seats for everyone except the master of the
house. Chairs were, as we have seen, scarce articles; sometimes there
was only one, a throne-like seat for an honoured guest or for the master
or mistress of the house, and doubtless our present phrase of "taking
the chair" is a survival of the high place a chair then held amongst the
household gods of a gentleman's mansion. Shakespeare possibly had the
boards and trestles in his mind when, about 1596, he wrote in "Romeo and

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

And as the scene in "King Henry the Fourth" is placed some years earlier
than that of "Romeo and Juliet," it is probable that "table" had then its
earlier meaning, for the Archbishop of York is made to say:--

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

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

    "They dancen and they play at chess and tables."

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

In the time of Charles the First the width was increased, and a
contrivance was introduced for doubling the area of the top when required,
by drawing out two flaps from either end, and by means of a wedge-shaped
arrangement, the centre or main table top was lowered, and the whole
table, thus increased, became level. Illustrations taken from Mr. G. T.
Robinson's article on furniture in the "Art Journal" of 1881, represent a
"Drawinge table," which was the name by which these "latest improvements"
were known. The black lines were of stained pear tree, let into the oak:
the acorn shaped member of the leg is an imported Dutch design, which
became very common about this time, and was applied to the supports
of cabinets, sometimes as in the illustration, plainly turned, but
frequently carved. Another table of this period was the "folding table,"
which was made with twelve, sixteen, or with twenty legs, is shewn in the
illustration of this example, and which, as its name implies, would shut
up into about one third of its extended size. There is one of these tables
in the Stationers' Hall.





It was probably in the early part of the seventeenth century that the
Couch became known in England. It was not common, nor quite in the form
in which we now recognize that luxurious article of furniture, but was
probably a carved oak settle, with cushions so arranged as to form a
resting lounge by day. Shakespeare speaks of the "branch'd velvet gown" of
Malvolio having come from a "day bed," and there is also an allusion to
one in Richard III.[10]

[Illustration: THEODORE HOOK'S CHAIR.]


In a volume of "Notes and Queries" there is a note which would shew that
the lady's wardrobe of this time (1622) was a very primitive article of
furniture. Mention is made there of a list of articles of 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 with which to furnish a lady's bedroom in
the reign of James I. or that of his successor.


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 with box or ash, stained to a greenish black
to represent green ebony, and with a few small pieces of rich red wood
then in great favour. Mr. G. T. Robinson, to whose article mentioned above
we are indebted for the description, says that this wood was "probably
brought by some buccaneer from the West." He also mentions another chair
of the Stuart period, which formed a table, and subsequently became the
property of Theodore Hook, who carefully preserved its pedigree. It was
purchased by its late owner, Mr. Godwin, editor of "The Builder." A
woodcut of this chair is on page 107.

[Illustration: SETTLE OF CARVED OAK.

Probably made in Yorkshire.


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

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

[Illustration: CARVED OAK CHAIR.

Said to have been used by some of Cromwell's family.

(_The original in the possession of T. Knowles Parr, Esq._)]


(_The original in the Author's possession._)]

There is in the Historical Portrait Gallery in Bethnal Green Museum, a
painting by an unknown artist, but dated 1642, of Sir William Lenthall,
who was Speaker of the House of Commons on the memorable occasion when, on
the 4th of January in that year, Charles I. entered the House to demand
the surrender of the five members. The chair on which Sir William is
seated answers this description, and is very similar to the one used by
Charles I. (illustrated on page 108).

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

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


In the illustration of a child's chair, which is said to have been used by
some of Cromwell's family, can be seen an example of carved oak of this
time; it was lent to the writer by its present owner, in whose family it
is an heirloom, one of his ancestors having married the Protector's
daughter. The ornament has no particular style, and it may be taken
for granted that the period of the Commonwealth was not marked by any
progress in decorative Art. The illustration of a staircase on p. 110
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.

[Illustration: SETTEE AND CHAIR.

In carved ebony, part of the Indo-Portuguese Suite at Penshurst Place,
with Flemish Folding Chair.


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 we still recognise as Cromwellian was imported from Holland
about this time--plain square backs and seats covered with brown leather,
studded with brass nails. The legs, which are now generally turned with a
spiral twist, were in Cromwell's time plain and simple.

The residence of Charles II. abroad had accustomed him and his friends
to 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 of England, 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 chair
is very similar to one at Penshurst; it is grouped with a settee of like
design, together with a small folding chair which Mr. G. T. Robinson, in
his article on "Seats," has described as Italian, but which we take the
liberty of pronouncing to be Flemish, judging by a similar one now in the
South Kensington Museum.

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

The suite of furniture at Penshurst Place (illustrated), which comprises
thirteen pieces, was probably imported about this time; two of the smaller
chairs appear to have their original cushions, the others have been
re-covered by the late Lord de 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 Palace.

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


From a Print in the possession of J. C. THYNNE, Esq.


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

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

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

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, reminding one
of the portholes of a ship's cabin, while the chief window looks out on
to the old-fashioned garden, giving the beholder altogether a pleasing
illusion, carrying him back to the days of Charles II.

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

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

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

Another city hall, the interior woodwork of which dates from just after
the Great Fire, is that of the Stationers' Company, in Ave Maria Lane,
close to Ludgate Hill. Mr. Charles Robert Rivington, the present Clerk
to the Company, has written a pamphlet, full of very interesting records
of this ancient and worshipful corporation, from which the following
paragraph is a quotation:--"The first meeting of the court after the fire,
was held at Cook's Hall, and the subsequent courts, until the hall was
re-built, at the Lame Hospital Hall, _i.e._, St. Bartholomew's Hospital.
In 1670 a committee was appointed to re-build the hall; and in 1674 the
Court agreed with Stephen Colledge (the famous Protestant joiner, who
was afterwards hanged at Oxford in 1681) to wainscot the hall 'with
well-seasoned and well-matched wainscot, according to a model delivered in
for the sum of £300.' His work is now to be seen in excellent condition."

[Illustration: THE MASTER'S CHAIR.

_Hall of the Brewers' Company. (From a pen and ink sketch by H. Evans.)_]

Mr. Rivington read his paper to the London and Middlesex Archæological
Society in 1881; and the writer can with pleasure confirm his statement as
to the condition, in 1899, of this fine specimen of seventeenth century
work. Less ornate and elaborate than the Brewers' Hall, the panels are
only slightly relieved with carved mouldings; but the end of the room, or
main entrance, opposite the place of the old daïs (long since removed),
is somewhat similar to that in the Brewers' Hall, and presents a fine
architectural effect, which will be observed in the illustration on page


In the Hall of the Stationers' Company. Made in 1674, the curved pediment
added later, probably in 1788.]

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

[Illustration: ARM CHAIRS.

Chair upholstered in Spitalfields silk.


Carved and upholstered Chair.


Chair upholstered in Spitalfields silk.



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

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

It is said that about 1670 Evelyn found Grinling Gibbons in a small
thatched house on the outskirts of Deptford, and introduced him to the
King, who gave him an appointment on the Board of Works, and patronised
him with extensive orders. The character of his carving is well known;
generally using lime-tree as the vehicle of his designs, his life-like
birds and flowers, groups of fruit, and heads of cherubs, are easily
recognised. One of the rooms in Windsor Castle is decorated with the work
of his chisel, which can also be seen in St. Paul's Cathedral, Hampton
Court Palace, Chatsworth, Burleigh, and perhaps his best, in Petworth
House, in Sussex. He also sculptured in stone. The base of King Charles'
statue at Windsor, the font of St. James', 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


(_From a Photo by Mr. Corke, of Sevenoaks._)]

A somewhat important immigration of French workmen occurred about this
time, owing to the persecutions of Protestants in France, which followed
the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, by Louis XIV., and these
refugees bringing with them their skill, their patterns and ideas,
influenced the carving of our ornamental frames, and the designs of some
of our furniture. This influence is to be traced in some of the contents
of Hampton Court Palace, particularly in the carved and gilt centre
tables 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 more or
less costly, according to circumstances, but of a similar pattern to those
shewn in the illustration. The silver table bears the English Hall mark of
the reign.

Specimens of English furniture, dating from about 1680 to 1700, distinctly
shew the influence of Flemish design. The Stadtholder, King William III.,
with his Dutch friends, imported many of their household gods, and our
English craftsmen seem to have copied these very 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 this is to be seen in the upright "grandfather's clock" in
the South Kensington Museum, the effect being a pleasing harmony of color.

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

The first mention of corner cupboards appears to have been made in an
advertisement of a Dutch joiner in "The Postman" of March 8th, 1711; these
cupboards, with their carved pediments, being part of the modern fittings
of a room of the time of Queen Anne.

The oak presses common to this and earlier times are formed of an upper
and lower part, the former sometimes being three sides of an octagon with
the top supported by columns, while the lower half is straight, and the
whole is carved with incised ornament. These useful articles of furniture,
in the absence of wardrobes, are described in inventories of the time
(1680-1720) as "press cupboards," "great 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 these convenient pieces
of furniture came into more general use, and illustrations of them as
designed and made by Chippendale and his contemporaries will be found in
the chapter dealing with that period.

Dr. Lyon also quotes from an American newspaper, "The Boston News Letter"
of April 16th, 1716, an advertisement which was evidently published when
the tall clocks, which we now call "grandfathers' clocks," were a novelty,
and as such were being introduced to the American public. We have already
referred to one of those which is in the South Kensington Museum (date
1700), and no doubt the manufacture of similar clocks became more general
during the first years of the eighteenth century. The advertisement
alluded to runs, "Lately come from London, a parcel of very fine
clocks--they go a week and repeat the hour when pulled" (a string caused
the same action as the pressing of the handle of a repeating watch) "in
Japan cases or walnut."

The style of decoration in furniture and woodwork which we recognise as
"Queen Anne," apart from the marqueterie just described, appears, so far
as the writer's investigations have gone, to be due to the designs of some
eminent architects of the time. Sir James Vanbrugh was building Blenheim
Place for the Queen's victorious general, and also Castle Howard. Nicholas
Hawksmoor had erected St. George's, 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 took place in the design of woodwork and furniture from the time
of William III. until that of George II. There is the Dutch chair with
cabriole leg, the plain walnut card table also of Dutch design, which
probably came over with the Stadtholder; then, there are the heavy
draperies, and chairs almost completely covered by Spitalfields silk
velvet, to be seen in the bedroom furniture of Queen Anne. Later on, as
the heavy Georgian style predominated, there is the stiff ungainly gilt
furniture, console tables with legs ornamented with the Greek key pattern
badly applied, and finally, as the French school of design influenced our
carvers, an improvement may be noticed in the tables and _torchères_,
which, but for being a trifle clumsy, might pass for the work of French
craftsmen of the same time. The state chairs, the bedstead, and some
stools, which are said to have belonged to Queen Caroline, are further
examples of the adoption of French fashion.

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



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

       *       *       *       *       *

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.


_See pp. 103, 104._]


(_In the South Kensington Museum._)]


[Footnote 9: The present decorations of the room were painted either
actually by Watts or under his directions, when, as favourite artist to
the fourth Lord Holland, he did so much to beautify the house and made so
many additions to its store of portraits. His work is fully described in
"Holland House," by Princess Marie Liechtenstein. London, 1874.]

[Footnote 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."

[Footnote 11: This tapestry is still in the Great Hall at Hampton Court


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 late Duke of Edinburgh
    Collections--Processes of making Lacquer--Screens in the Kensington
    Museum. JAPANESE FURNITURE: Early History--Sir Rutherford Alcock and
    Lord Elgin--The Collection of the Shôgun--Famous Collections--Action
    of the present Government of Japan--Special characteristics.
    INDIAN FURNITURE: Early European influence--Furniture of the
    Moguls--Racinet's Work--Bombay Furniture--Ivory Chairs and
    Tables--Specimens in the India Museum. PERSIAN WOODWORK: Collection
    of Objets d'Art formed by General Murdoch Smith, R.E.--Industrial
    Arts of the Persians--Arab influence--South Kensington Specimens.
    SARACENIC WOODWORK: Oriental customs--Specimens in the South
    Kensington Museum of Arab Work--M. d'Aveune's Work.


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, in Bhopal, Central India, it
would appear that, in the early part of our Christian era, the carvings
in wood of their neighbours and co-religionists, the Hindoos, represented
figures of men and animals in the woodwork of sacred buildings or palaces.
The marvellous dexterity in manipulating wood, ivory and stone which we
recognize in the Chinese of to-day, is probably inherited from their early

Sir William Chambers travelled in China in the early part of the
eighteenth century. It was he who introduced "the Chinese style" into
furniture and decoration, which was adopted by Chippendale and other
makers, as will be noticed in the chapter dealing with that period of
English furniture. He gives us the following description of the furniture
he found in "The Flowery Land."

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

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

From old paintings and engravings which date from about the 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, cups
of tea stand ready at hand. Such pictures are generally ascribed to the
fifteenth century, the period of the great Ming dynasty, which appears to
have been the time of an improved culture and taste in China.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The process as practised in China is thus described by M. 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 marqueterie. The most highly prized is
the LACQUER ON GOLD GROUND, and the first specimens of this work which
reached Europe during the time of Louis XV. were presentation pieces from
the Japanese Princes to some of the Dutch officials. This lacquer on
gold ground is rarely found in furniture, and only as a rule in some of
those charming little boxes, in which the luminous effect of the lac is
heightened by the introduction of silver foliage on a minute scale, or of
tiny landscape work and figures charmingly treated, partly with dull gold,
and partly with gold highly burnished. Small placques of this beautiful
ware were used for some of the choicest pieces of furniture made for Marie
Antoinette, and mounted by Gouthière.

AVANTURINE lacquer closely imitates in color the sparkling mineral from
which it takes its name, and a less highly finished preparation of it is
used as a lining for the small drawers of cabinets. Another lacquer has
a black ground, on which landscapes delicately traced in gold stand out
in charming relief. Such pieces also were used by Riesener and mounted by
Gouthière in some of the most costly furniture made for Marie Antoinette;
specimens of such furniture are in the Louvre. It is this kind of lacquer,
in varying qualities, that is usually found in cabinets, folding screens,
coffers, tables, étagéres, and other ornamental articles. Enriched with
inlay of mother-of-pearl, the effect of which is in some cases heightened
and rendered more effective by transparent coloring on its reverse side,
as in the case of a bird's plumage or of those beautiful blossoms which
both Chinese and Japanese artists can represent so faithfully.

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

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

The process of lacquering has already been described, and in the chapter
on French furniture of the eighteenth century it will be seen how
specimens of this decorative material reached France by way of Holland,
and were mounted into the "_meubles de luxe_" of that time. With this
exception, and that of the famous collection of porcelain in the Japan
Palace at Dresden, probably but little of the Art products of this
artistic people had been exported until the country was opened up by the
expedition of Lord Elgin and Commodore Perry, in 1858-9, and 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



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, imported 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 3ft. 3in. long
and 2ft. 1in. high, and was intended originally as a receptacle for sacred
Buddhist books. There are, most delicately worked on to its surface, views
of the interior of one of the Imperial Palaces of Japan, and a hunting
scene. Mother-of-pearl, gold, silver, and avanturine, are all used in the
enrichment of this beautiful specimen of inlaid work, and the lock plate
is a representative example of the best kind of metal work as applied to
this purpose.

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

The grotesque carving of the wonderful dragons and marvellous monsters
introduced into furniture made by the Chinese and Japanese, and especially
in the ornamental woodwork of the Old Temples, is thoroughly peculiar
to those masters of elaborate design and skilful 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 ornamentation on Chinese with that of
Japanese furniture, it may be said that more eccentricity is effected by
the latter than by the former in their designs and general decoration. The
Japanese joiner is unsurpassed, and much of the lattice work, admirable
in design and workmanship, is so quaint and intricate that only by close
examination can it be distinguished from finely cut fret work.


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

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

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

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

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

Queen Victoria had also amongst her numerous Jubilee presents some very
handsome ivory furniture of Indian workmanship, which may be seen at
Windsor Castle. These, however, as well as the Jones Collection examples,
though thoroughly Indian in character as regards the treatment of scrolls,
flowers, and foliage, shew unmistakably the influence of French taste in
their general form and composition. Articles, such as boxes, stands for
gongs, etc., are to be found carved in sandal wood, and in _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 page 134 is an example
of this treatment. It was exhibited in 1851.

The larger examples of Indian carved woodwork are of teak; the finest
and most characteristic specimens within the writer's knowledge are the
two folding doors which were sent as a present to the Indian Government,
and are in the Indian Museum. They are of seventeenth century work, and
are said to have enclosed a library at Kerowlee. While the door frames
are of teak, with the outer frames carved with bands of foliage in high
relief, the doors themselves are divided into panels of fantastic shapes,
and yet so arranged that there is just sufficient regularity to please
the eve. 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 color underneath, a decoration also found in some
Arabian work. It is almost impossible to convey by words an adequate
description of these doors; they should be carefully examined as examples
of genuine native design and workmanship. Mr. Pollen has concluded a
somewhat detailed account of them by saying:--"For elegance of shape
and proportion, and the propriety of the composition of the frame and
sub-divisions of these doors, their mouldings and their panel carvings and
ornaments, we can for the present name no other example so instructive.
We are much reminded by this decoration of the pierced lattices at the S.
Marco in Venice."


There is in the Indian Museum another remarkable specimen of native
furniture--namely, a chair of the purest beaten gold of octagonal shape,
and formed of two bowls reversed, decorated with acanthus and lotus in
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. This throne was to have been used at the opening of the
Imperial Institute by Queen Victoria, but at the last moment another seat
was selected.

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

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

The copy in shishem wood of a carved window at Amritzar, in the Punjaub,
with its overhanging cornice, ornamental arches, supported by pillars, and
the surface, covered with small details of ornament, is a good example of
the sixteenth and seventeenth century work. The 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-colored pieces of transparent glass.

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

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

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


The Persians have from time immemorial been an artistic people, and their
style of Art throughout successive generations has varied but 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 antiquary), made a collection of _objets d'art_ some years ago
for the Science and Art Department, which is now in the Kensington
Museum, but it contains comparatively little that can be actually termed
furniture; and it is extremely difficult to meet with important specimens
of ornamental woodwork of native workmanship. Those in the Museum, and
in other collections, are generally small ornamental articles. The
chief reason for this is, doubtless, that little timber is to be found
in Persia, except in the Caspian provinces, where, as Mr. Benjamin has
told us in "Persia and the Persians," wood is abundant; and the Persian
architect, taking advantage of his opportunity, has designed his houses
with wooden piazzas--not found elsewhere--and with "beams, lintels, and
eaves quaintly, sometimes elegantly, carved, and tinted with brilliant
hues." Another feature of the decorative woodwork in this part of Persia
is that produced by the large latticed windows, which are well adapted to
the climate.

[Illustration: DOOR.

Of carved sandal wood, from Travancore. Indian Museum, South Kensington.


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 good examples will be found in the South Kensington Museum.
It is difficult to find a representative specimen of Persian furniture
except a box or a stool; and the illustration of a brass incense burner
is, therefore, given to mark the method of native design, which was
adopted in a modified form by the Persians from their Arab conquerors.


_In the South Kensington Museum._]

This method of design has one or two special characteristics which are
worth noticing. One of these was due to the teaching of Mahomet forbidding
animal representation in design--a rule which in later work has been
relaxed; another was the introduction of mathematics into Persia by the
Saracens, which led to the adoption of geometrical patterns in design;
and a third, the development of "Caligraphy" into a fine art, which
has resulted in the introduction of a text, or motto, into so many of
the Persian designs of decorative work. The combination of these three
characteristics was the origin of the "Arabesque" form of ornament, which,
in artistic nomenclature, occurs so frequently.

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

The author of "Persia and the Persians," already quoted, had, during his
residence in the country, as American Minister, great opportunities of
observation, and in his chapter entitled "A Glance at the Arts of Persia,"
he has said a good deal of this mosaic work. Referring to the scarcity of
wood in Persia, he says: "For the above reason one is astonished at the
marvellous ingenuity, skill and taste developed by the art of inlaid work,
or mosaic in wood. It would be impossible to exceed the results achieved
by the Persian artisans, especially those of Shiraz, in this wonderful
and difficult art.... Chairs, tables, sofas, boxes, violins, guitars,
canes, picture frames, almost every conceivable object, in fact, which is
made of wood, may be found overlaid with an exquisite casing of inlaid
work, so minute sometimes that thirty-five or forty pieces may be counted
in the space of a square eighth of an inch. I have counted four hundred
and twenty-eight distinct pieces on a square inch of a violin, which is
completely covered by this exquisite detail of geometric designs, in

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 those 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.


The changes of fashion in Western, as contrasted with Eastern, countries
are comparatively rapid. In the former, the record of two or three
centuries presents a history of great and well-defined alterations
in manners, customs, and, therefore, in furniture: while the more
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

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


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

The Science and Art Department has been fortunate in securing from the St.
Maurice and Dr. Meymar Collections, a great many specimens which are well
worth examination. The most remarkable is a complete room brought from a
house in Damascus, which is fitted up in the Oriental style, and gives one
a good idea of an Eastern interior. The walls are decorated in color and
gold; the spaces are divided by flat pilasters; and there are recesses,
or cupboards, for the reception of pottery, quaintly formed vessels,
and pots of brass. Oriental carpets, octagonal tables, such as the one
which ornaments the initial letter of this chapter, hookas, incense
burners, and cushions furnish the apartment; while the lattice window
is an excellent representation of the "Mesherabijeh," or lattice work
with which we are familiar since so much has been imported by Egyptian
travellers. In the upper panels of the lattice there are inserted pieces
of colored glass, and, looking outwards towards the light, the effect is
very pretty. The date of this room is 1756, which appears at the foot of
an Arabic inscription, of which a translation is appended to the exhibit.
It commences:--"In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate," and
concludes, "Pray, therefore, to Him morning and evening."

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


(_In the South Kensington Museum._)]

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

For those who would gain an extended knowledge of Saracenic or Arabian Art
industry, "_L'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 place
or couch 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."


(_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 held.

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

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



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 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 "Times."

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,[12] then the Grand Trianon, and afterwards the Petit Trianon.
By the help of a few illustrations, such a visit in the order given, would
greatly interest anyone having even a smattering of knowledge of the
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 their 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 Château 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. Several illustrations of these examples will be found
in this chapter.

We have to recollect that the reign of Louis XIV. was the time of the
artists Berain, Lebrun, and, later in the reign, of Watteau, also of 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, into which
designs of furniture were admitted. The celebrated Gobelins tapestry
factory was also established; and it was here that the King collected
together, and suitably housed, the different skilled producers of his
furniture, placing them all under the control of his favourite artist,
Lebrun, who was appointed director in 1667.

The most remarkable furniture artist of this time, for surely he merits
such title, was Andre Charles Boulle, generally spelt Boule. He was born
in 1642, and, therefore, was 25 years of age when Lebrun was appointed
Art-director. He appears to have originated the method of ornamenting
furniture which has since been associated with his name. This was to
veneer his cabinets, pedestals, armoires, encoignures, clocks, and
brackets with tortoise-shell, into which a cutting of brass was laid, the
latter being cut out from a design, in which were harmoniously arranged
scrolls, vases of flowers, satyrs, animals, cupids, swags of fruit
and draperies. Fantastic compositions of a free Renaissance character
constituted the panels; to which bold scrolls in ormolu formed fitting
frames; while handsome mouldings of the same material gave a finish to
the extremities. These ormolu mountings were gilt by an old-fashioned
process,[13] which left upon the metal a thick deposit of gold, and were
cunningly chiselled by the skilful hands of Caffieri or his contemporaries.

[Illustration: BOULE ARMOIRE.

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


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

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

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 characterizes 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

(_South Kensington Museum._)]

The masks, satyrs, and rams' heads, the scrolls of the foliage, are also
very bold in specimens of this class of Boule's work; and the "sun" (that
is, a mask with rays of light radiating from it) is a very favourite
ornament of this period.

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


(_From a Miniature dated 1696._)]

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

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


About this time--that is, towards the end of the seventeenth century--the
resources of designers and makers of decorative furniture were reinforced
by the introduction of glass in larger plates than had been possible
previously. Mirrors of considerable size were first made in Venice; these
were engraved with figures and scrolls, and mounted in richly carved and
gilt wood frames. Soon afterwards manufactories of mirrors, and of glass,
in larger plates than before, were set up in England, near Battersea, and
in France, at Tour la Ville, near Paris. This novelty not only gave a
new departure to the design of suitable frames in carved wood (generally
gilt), but also to that of Boule work and marqueterie. It also led to a
greater variety of the design for cabinets; and from this time we may date
the first appearance of the "Vitrine," or cabinet with glass panels in the
doors and sides, for the display of smaller _objets d'art_.


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

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

In the Appendix will be found the names of many artists in furniture of
this time, and in the Jones Collection we have several very excellent
specimens which can be easily referred to, and compared with others of the
two succeeding reigns, whose furniture we are now going to 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 is concerned, was obtained first by the careful choice of
suitable veneers, and then by joining four pieces in a panel, so that the
natural figure of the wood runs from the centre, and then a banding of a
darker wood forms a frame. An instance of this will also be found in the
above-mentioned vignette.


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
Régence_, and is a landmark in the history of furniture.

[Illustration: BOULE COMMODE.

Probably made during the period of the Regency.

(_Musée 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._)


[Illustration: PANEL FOR A SCREEN.

Painted by Watteau. PERIOD OF THE REGENCY.]

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 its imitation in "compo." 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 accompaniments.[15]


(_Collection of M. Double, Paris._)]

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

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.


Upholstered with Beauvais tapestry. Subject from La Fontaine's Fables.]

During the preceding reign, the Chinese lacquer-work then in use was
imported from the East, the fashion for collecting which had set in ever
since the Dutch had established a trade with China; and subsequently as
the demand arose for smaller pieces of _meubles de luxe_, collectors had
these articles taken to pieces, and the slabs of lacquer mounted in
panels to decorate the table, or cabinet, and to display the lacquer.
_Ébenistes_, too, prepared such parts of woodwork as were desired to be
ornamented in this manlier, 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 noting certain trifling details in the costumes
and foliage of decoration, not strictly Oriental in character.

[Illustration: COMMODE.

With Panels of fine old Lacquer and Mountings by Caffieri.

(_Jones Collection, S. Kensington Museum._)


About 1740-4 the Martin family had three manufactories of this peculiar
and fashionable work, which became known as Vernis-Martin, or Martins'
Varnish; and it is a singular coincidence that one of these was in the
district of Paris then and now known as Faubourg Saint Martin. By a
special decree a monopoly was granted in 1744 to Sieur Simon Etienne
Martin the younger, "To manufacture all sorts of work in relief and in
the style of Japan and China." This was to last for twenty years; and
we shall see that in the latter part of the reign of Louis XV., and in
that of his successor, the decoration was not confined to the imitation
of Chinese and Japanese subjects, but the surface was painted in the
style of the decorative artist of the day, both in monochrome and in
natural colors; such subjects as "Cupid Awakening Venus," "The Triumph of
Galatea," "Nymphs and Goddesses," "Garden Scenes," and "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: COMMODE.

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

(_Formerly in the Hamilton Palace Collection. Purchased (Wertheimer)
£6,247 10s._)


[Illustration: PART OF A SALON.

Decorated in the Louis Quinze style, shewing the carved and gilt Console
Table and Mirror, with other enrichments, _en suite_.]

The gilt bronze mountings of the furniture of this time became less
massive and much more elaborate; the curled endive ornament was very
much in vogue; the acanthus foliage followed the curves of the commode;
busts and heads of women, cupids, satyrs terminating in foliage, suited
the design and decoration of the more fanciful shapes; and 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 color of the woodwork it adorns; and the tint of the gold with
which it is overlaid, improved by the lights and shadows caused by the
high relief of the work and the consequent darkening of the parts more
depressed, while the more prominent ornaments have been rubbed bright
from time to time, produces an effect which is exceedingly elegant and
rich. One cannot wonder that connoisseurs are prepared to pay such large
sums for genuine specimens, or that clever imitations are extremely costly
to produce.

[Illustration: BUREAU DU ROI.

Made for Louis XV. by Riesener. Collection of "Mobilier National."

(_From a pen and ink drawing by H. Evans._)


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

We must also remember, in considering the _meubles de luxe_ of this time,
that in 1753 Louis XI. had made the 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
_páte 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.

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. The arm chair, or _fauteuil_, with upholstered instead
of open sides, was introduced into the suite of tapestry furniture, and
the term by which it is known, "_chaise bergère_," seems to be a sign of
the fashion of the day.

Without doubt, the most important examples of _meubles de luxe_ of this
reign is the famous "Bureau du Roi," made for Louis XV. in 1769, and which
is fully described in the inventory of the "Garde Meuble" in the year
1775, under No. 2541. The description is very minute, and is fully quoted
by M. Williamson in his valuable work, "Les Meubles d'Art du Mobilier
National," occupying in space no less than thirty-seven lines of printed
matter. Its size is five and a half feet long and three feet deep; the
lines are the perfection of grace and symmetry; the marqueterie is in
Riesener's best manner; the mountings are magnificent--reclining figures,
foliage, laurel wreaths, and swags, chased with rare skill. The back of
this famous bureau is as fully decorated as the front: it is signed,
"Riesener, f. e., 1769, á l'arsenal de Paris." Riesener is said to have
received the order for this celebrated piece of furniture--of which a
full-page illustration is given--from the King in 1767, upon the occasion
of the marriage of this favourite Court _ébeniste_ with the widow of
his former master Oeben. Its production, therefore, would seem to have
occupied about two years.

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

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


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

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

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

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 as 1750, they can scarcely be the
immediate cause; the reason most probably is that a return to simpler and
purer lines came as a relief and reaction from the over-ornamentation
of the previous period. There are not wanting, however, in some of the
decorated ornaments of the time distinct signs of the influence of these
discoveries. Drawings and reproductions from frescoes, found in these old
Italian cities, were in the possession of the draughtsmen and designers of
the time; and an instance in point of their adaptation is to be seen in
the small boudoir of the Marquise de Serilly, one of the maids of honour
to Marie Antoinette. The decorative woodwork of this boudoir is fitted up
in the Kensington Museum.

A notable feature in the ornament of woodwork and in metal mountings
of this time, is a fluted pilaster with quills or husks filling the
flutings some distance from the base, or starting from both base and
top and leaving an interval of the fluting plain and without ornament.
An example of this will be seen in the next woodcut of a cabinet in
the Jones Collection, which has also the familiar "Louis Seize" riband,
surmounting the two oval 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 were generally fluted, as noted above,
tapering towards the feet, and were relieved from a stilted appearance by
being connected by a stretcher.


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._)


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 3ft. 6in. long, made during the reign of Louis XV., but quite in the
Marie Antoinette style, the legs tapering and fluted, the frieze having
in the centre a plaque of _bronze doré_, the subject being a group of
cupids, representing the triumph of Poetry, and having on each side a
scroll with a head and foliage (the only ornament characteristic of Louis
Quinze style) connecting leg and frieze. It was made for the Trianon, and
the date is just one year after Marie Antoinette's marriage. M. Williamson
quotes verbatim the memorandum of which it was the subject:--"Memoire
des ouvrages faits et 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.
An illustration of this table precedes this page.

The maker of this piece of furniture was the same Riesener whose
masterpiece is the magnificent _Bureau du Roi_ in the Louvre, to which we
have already alluded. This celebrated _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 shew much variety, but his work is highly
finished and elaborate. His method was generally to make the centre panel
of a commode front, or the frieze of a table, a _tour de force_, the
marqueterie picture being wonderfully delicate. The subject was generally
a vase with fruits and flowers; the surface of the side panels was inlaid
with diamond-shaped lozenges, or a small diaper pattern in marqueterie;
and then a framework of rich ormolu would separate the panels. The
centre panel had sometimes a richer frame. His famous commode, made for
the Château of Fontainebleau, which cost a million francs (£4,000)--an
enormous sum in those days--is one of his _chefs d'œuvres_, and is
an excellent example of his style. A similar commode was sold in the
Hamilton Palace sale for £4,305. An upright secretaire, _en suite_ with
the commode, was also sold at the same time for £4,620, and the writing
table for £6,000. An illustration of the latter is on the following page,
but the details of this elaborate gem of cabinet maker's work, and of
Gouthière's skill in mounting, are almost impossible to represent in a
woodcut. It is described as follows in Christie's catalogue:--

"Lot 303. An oblong writing table _en suite_, with drawer fitted with
inkstand, writing slide and shelf beneath; an oval medallion of a trophy
and flowers on the top, and trophies with four medallions round the
sides: stamped T. Riesener and branded underneath with cypher of Marie
Antoinette, and _Garde Meuble de la 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, then these three specimens,
which have always been regarded as amongst the most beautiful work of
the reign, were almost the last which the unfortunate Queen lived to see


(_Formerly in the Hamilton Palace Collection._)]

The fine work of Riesener required to be mounted by an artist of equal
merit, and in Gouthière he was most fortunate. There is a famous clock
case in the Hertford or Wallace collection, fully signed "Gouthière,
ciseleur et doreur du roi à Paris Quai Pelletier, á la Boucle d'or, 1771."
Gouthière worked, however, chiefly in conjunction with Riesener and David
Roentgen for the adornment of their marqueterie.


From Fontainebleau. Collection "Mobilier National."

(_From a pen and ink drawing by H. Evans._)


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.


In Marqueterie, with Bronze Gilt Mountings, by Gouthière.

(_Mr. Alfred de Rothschild's Collection._)


A specimen of this kind of work (an upright secretaire, of which we have
not been able to obtain a satisfactory representation) formed part of the
Hamilton Palace Collection, and realised £9,450, the highest price which
the writer has ever seen a single piece of furniture bring by auction; it
may be regarded as the _chef d'œuvre_ 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, to which the more jewel-like
mounting of this time is better adapted than the rococo style which was in
vogue during the preceding reign.


The upholstered furniture became simpler in design; the sofas and chairs
have generally, but not invariably, straight fluted tapering legs, which
sometimes have the flutings spiral instead of perpendicular: the backs are
either oval or rectangular, and ornamented with a carved riband which is
represented as tied at the top in a lover's knot. Gobelins, Beauvais, and
Aubusson tapestry are used for covering, the subjects being in harmony
with the taste of the time. A sofa in this style, with settees at the
ends, the frame elaborately carved with trophies of arrows and flowers
in high relief, and covered with fine old Gobelins tapestry, was sold at
the Hamilton Palace Sale for £1,176. This was formerly at Versailles.
Beautiful silks and brocades were also extensively used, both for chairs
and for the screens, which, at this period, were varied in design and
extremely pretty. Small two-tier tables of tulip wood with delicate
mountings were quite the rage. The legs of small occasional pieces, like
those of the chairs, are occasionally carved. An excellent example of a
piece with cabriole legs is the charming little "Marie Antoinette"
cylinder-fronted marqueterie escritoire in the Jones Collection
(illustrated below). The marqueterie is attributed to Riesener, but from
its treatment being so different from that which, as an almost invariable
rule, he adopted, it is more probably the work of David.


Covered with Beauvais Tapestry. (Collection "Mobilier National.")

(_From a pen and ink drawing by H. Evans._)



Covered with Beauvais tapestry. Collection "Mobilier National."


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


By David, 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 handi-craftsmen for
the adornment of the palaces of France, which we have seen took place
during the latter half of the seventeenth century, was not without its
effect upon the Industrial Arts of other countries. Macaulay mentions the
"bales of tapestry" and other accessories which were sent to Holland to
fit up the camp quarters of Louis le Grand when he went there to take
the command of his army against William III., and he also tells us of the
sumptuous furnishing of the apartments at St. Germains when James II.,
during his exile, was the guest of Louis. The grandeur of the French King
impressed itself upon his contemporaries, and war with Germany, as well as
with Holland and England, helped to spread this influence. We have noticed
how Wren designed the additions to Hampton Court Palace in imitation of
Versailles: and in the chapter which follows this, it will be seen that
the designs of Chippendale were really reproductions of French furniture
of the time of Louis Quinze. The King of Sweden, Charles XII., "the Madman
of the North," as he was called, imitated his great French contemporary,
and in the palace at Stockholm there are still to be seen traces of the
Louis Quatorze style in decoration and in furniture; such adornments are
out of keeping with the simplicity of the habits of the present Royal
family of Sweden.

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

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

Having described somewhat in detail the styles which prevailed and some of
the changes which occurred in France, from the time of Louis XIV. until
the Revolution, it is unnecessary, for the purposes of this sketch, to do
more than briefly refer to the work of those countries which may be said
to have adopted, to a greater or less extent, French designs. For reasons
already stated, an exception is made in the case of our own country; and
the following chapter will be devoted to the furniture designed and made
by some of the English craftsmen of the latter half of the eighteenth
century. Of Italy it may be observed generally that the Renaissance of
Raffaelle, Leonardo da Vinci, and Michael Angelo, which we have seen
became degenerate towards the end of the sixteenth century, relapsed
still further during the period which we have just been discussing; and,
although the freedom and grace of the Italian carving, and the elaboration
of inlaid arabesques, must always have some merit of their own, the work
of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in Italy will compare very
unfavourably with that of the earlier period of the Renaissance.



There are many other museum specimens which might be referred to,
proving the influence of French design of the seventeenth and subsequent
centuries on that of other countries. The above illustration of a Norse
interior shews that this influence penetrated as far as Scandinavia;
the old-fashioned box-like bedsteads which the Norwegians had retained
from early times, and which in a ruder form are still to be found in
the cottages of many Scottish counties, especially of those where the
Scandinavian connection existed, are characteristic of the country. The
design of the chairs in the preceding illustration is an evidence of the
innovations which had been made upon native fashions. These chairs are
in style thoroughly Dutch, of about the end of the seventeenth, or early
in the eighteenth century; the cabriole legs and shell ornaments were
probably the direct result of the influence of the French on the Dutch.
The woodcut is from a drawing of an old house in Norway.

[Illustration: SECRETAIRE.

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


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

The money value alone of this collection of furniture, porcelain, bronzes,
and _articles de vertû_, 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._)


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. _See Appendix, p. 266._]


[Footnote 12: 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.]

[Footnote 13: For description of method of gilding the mounts of
furniture, see Appendix.]

[Footnote 14: NOTE.--Since the first edition of this book was published
in 1892, the value of really fine old French furniture has considerably
risen, and the above-named estimate of the auction price of such a suite
of furniture as is described would have to be doubled.]

[Footnote 15: Watteau, 1684-1721. Lancret, _b._ 1690, _d._ 1743. Boucher,
_b._ 1703, _d._ 1770.]


Chippendale and his Contemporaries.

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

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," as the result of his visit to China, of which a notice was made
in the chapter on Eastern furniture; and as he was considered an "oracle
of taste" about this time, his influence was very powerful. Chair backs
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, they scarcely belong to our subject, save to
indicate the change in fashion of the chimney piece, the vicissitudes of
which we have already noticed. Chimney pieces were now no longer specially
designed by architects, as part of the interior fittings, but were made
and sold with the grates, to suit the taste of the purchaser, often quite
irrespective of the rooms for which they were intended. It may be said
that Dignity gave way to Elegance.

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

Robert Adam published between 1778 and 1822, in three magnificent volumes,
"Works in Architecture." One of these was dedicated to King George III.,
to whom he was appointed Architect. Many of his designs for furniture
was carried cut 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 paterœ
in satin wood.

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


Towards the end of the century, satin wood was introduced into England
from the East Indies; it became very fashionable, and was a favourite
ground-work for decoration, the medallions of figure subjects, generally
of cupids, wood-nymphs, or illustrations of mythological fables, on
darker colored wood, formed an effective relief to the yellow satin
wood. Sometimes the cabinet, writing table, or spindle-legged occasional
piece was made entirely of this wood, having no other decoration beyond
the beautiful marking of carefully-chosen veneers; sometimes it was
banded with tulipwood or harewood (a name given to sycamore artificially
stained), and at other times painted as just described. A very beautiful
example of this last-named treatment is the dressing table in the South
Kensington Museum, which we give as an illustration on the opposite page.

Besides Chambers, there were several other architects who designed
furniture about this time who have been almost forgotten. Abraham Swan,
some of whose designs for wooden chimney pieces in the quasi-classic style
are given, flourished about 1758. John Carter, who published "Specimens
of Ancient Sculpture and Painting"; Nicholas Revitt and James Stewart,
who jointly published "Antiquities of Athens" in 1762; J. C. Kraft, who
designed in Robert Adam's style; W. Thomas, M.S.A., and others, have left
us many drawings of interior decorations, chiefly chimney pieces and
the ornamental architraves of doors, all of them in low relief and of a
classical character, as was the fashion towards the end of the eighteenth

Josiah Wedgwood, too, turned his attention to the production of plaques
in relief, for adaptation to chimney pieces of this character. In a
letter written from London to Mr. Bentley, his partner, at the works, he
deplores the lack of encouragement in this direction which he received
from the architects of his day; he, however, persevered, and by the
aid of Flaxman's inimitable artistic skill as a modeller, made several
plaques of his beautiful jasper ware, which were let in to the friezes of
chimney pieces, and also into other woodwork. There can be seen in the
South Kensington Museum a pair of pedestals of this period (1770-1790) so

It is now necessary to consider the work of a group of English cabinet
makers, who not only produced a great deal of excellent furniture, but who
also published a large number of designs drawn with extreme care and a
considerable degree of artistic skill.

The first of these, and the best known, was Thomas Chippendale, who is
said to have been born in Worcester. He appears to have succeeded his
father, a chair maker, and to have carried on a large and successful
business in St. Martin's Lane, London, which was at this time an important
Art centre, and close to the newly-founded Royal Academy.


With Painted Decoration.




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 Chippendale.]

This valuable work of reference contains over two hundred copper-plate
engravings of chairs, sofas, bedsteads, mirror frames, girandoles,
torchères or lamp stands, dressing tables, cabinets, chimney pieces,
organs, jardinières, console tables, brackets, and other useful and
decorative articles, of which some examples are given. It will be observed
from these that the designs of Chippendale are very different from those
popularly ascribed to him. Indeed it would appear that this maker has
become better known than any other, from the fact of the designs in his
book having been recently republished in various forms; his popularity has
thus been revived, while the names of his contemporaries are forgotten.
For the last fifteen or twenty years, therefore, during which time the
fashion has obtained of collecting the furniture of a bygone century,
almost every cabinet, table, or mirror frame, presumably of English
manufacture, which is slightly removed from the ordinary type of domestic
furniture, has been, for want of a better title, called "Chippendale." As
a matter of fact, he appears to have adopted from Chambers the fanciful
Chinese ornament, and the rococo style of that time, which was superseded
some five-and-twenty years later by the quiet and more classic designs of
Adam and his contemporaries.





    Being a large COLLECTION of the





    Including a great VARIETY of

    private Rooms, or Churches, DESKS, and BOOK-CASES; DRESSING






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

    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. DE HONDT, in the Strand.


_Fac-simile of the Title Page of Chippendale's "Director."_

(_Reduced by Photography._) _The original is folio size._ ]

[Illustration: _Two bookcases._

    Nᵒ. LXXXVII.

_T. Chippendale invᵗ et delins._ _Publish'd according to Act of
Parliament 1769._ _J Taylor Sculp_


[Illustration: TEA CADDY,

Carved in the French style. (From Chippendale's "Director.")]

In the chapter on Louis XV. and Louis XVI. furniture, it has been shewn
how French fashion went through a similar change about this same period.
In Chippendale's chairs and console tables, in his state bedsteads and his
lamp-stands, one can recognize the broken scrolls and curved lines, so
familiar in the bronze mountings of Caffieri. The influence of the change
which had occurred in France during the Louis Seize period is equally
evident in Adam's treatment. It was helped forward by the migration 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 Canner, or of Nilson, who designed the flamboyant frames of the time
of Louis XV. Other designs have more individuality. In his mirror frames
he introduced a peculiar bird with a long snipe-like beak and rather
impossible wings, an imitation of rockwork and dripping water, Chinese
figures with pagodas and umbrellas; and sometimes the illustration of
Æsop'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 seldom seen, but the carved ornament is generally a foliated
or curled endive scroll; sometimes the top of a cabinet is finished in
the form of a Chinese pagoda. Upon examining a piece of furniture that
may reasonably be ascribed to him, it will be found to be of excellent
workmanship, and the wood, always mahogany without any inlay, is richly
marked, shewing a careful selection of material.


    Nᵒ XIXII.

_A Design for a State Bed._

_A Chippendale Design._ _Published according to Act of Parliament 1765._
_J. Taylor sculp._


(The original is folio size.)]




    Pl. XXXV.

_Beds Pillars_

    _A Chippendale invᵗ et delves._      _Published according to
         Act of Parliament._     _J. Taylor sculp._


(The original is folio size.)]




The chairs of Chippendale and his school are very characteristic. If the
outline of the back of some of them be compared with the stuffed back of
the chair from Hardwick Hall (illustrated in Chap. IV.) it will be seen
that the same lines occur, but instead of the frame of the back being
covered with silk, tapestry, or other material--as in William III.'s
time--Chippendale's are cut open into fanciful patterns; and in his more
highly ornate work, the twisted ribands of his design are scarcely to be
reconciled with the use for which a dining room chair is intended. The
well-moulded sweep of his lines, however, counter-balances this defect to
some extent, and a good Chippendale mahogany chair will ever be an elegant
article of furniture.

One of the most graceful chairs of about the middle of the century, in
the style of Chippendale's best productions, is the Master's Chair in
the Hall of the Barbers' Company. It is carved in rich Spanish mahogany,
and upholstered in morocco leather; the ornament consists of scrolls and
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


Apart from the several books of design noticed in this chapter, there
were published two editions of a work, undated, containing many of the
drawings found in Chippendale's book. This book was entitled, "Upwards of
One Hundred New and Genteel Designs, being all the most approved patterns
of household furniture in the French taste. By a Society of Upholders
and Cabinet makers." It is probable that Chippendale was a member of
this Society, and that some of the designs were his, but that he severed
himself from it, and published his own book, preferring to advance his
individual reputation. The "sideboard" which one so generally hears called
"Chippendale" scarcely existed in his time. If it did it must have been
quite at the end of his career. There were side tables, sometimes called
"Side-Boards," but they contained neither cellaret nor cupboard; only a
drawer for table linen.

The name of Robert Manwaring should not be omitted as one of Chippendale's
contemporaries. He published "The Chairmaker's Guide" in 1766, which
included "upwards of two hundred new and genteel designs, both decorative
and plain, of all the most approved patterns for burjairs, toillets,
cornishes and lanthorns, etc."

The patterns of his chair-backs are very similar to those of his
contemporaries, and four of his designs which were reproduced in
"Furniture and Decoration," two years ago, only differ in detail from
those illustrated here as the work of Ince and Mayhew. Manwaring also
designed china cabinets, fenders, balconies, and other decorative items,
and he is believed to have been a leading member of the Society of
Upholders and Cabinet Makers, alluded to in page 182.

Two other designers and makers of mahogany ornamental furniture, who also
deserve special mention in the discussion of eighteenth century English
furniture, are W. Ince and J. Mayhew, who were partners in business in
Broad Street, Golden Square, and contemporary with Chippendale. They also
published a book of designs,[16] which is alluded to by Thomas Sheraton
in the preface to his "Cabinet Maker and Upholsterer's Drawing Book,"
published in 1793. A few examples from Ince and Mayhew's "Cabinet Maker's
Real Friend and Companion" are given, from which it is evident that,
without any distinguishing brand, or without the identification of any
particular piece of furniture with one of their designs, it is difficult
to distinguish between their work and that of Chippendale and other
contemporary makers.

It is, however, noticeable, after careful comparison of the work of
Chippendale with that of Ince and Mayhew, that the furniture designed
and made by the latter has many more of the characteristic details and
ornaments which are now generally looked upon as denoting the work of
Chippendale; for instance, the fretwork ornaments finished by the carver,
and then applied to the plain mahogany; the open-worked scroll shaped
backs to encoignures or china shelves; and the carved Chinaman with the
pagoda. Some of the frames of chimney glasses and pictures made by Ince
and Mayhew are almost identical with those attributed to Chippendale.


(Reproduced by Photography from an old Print in the Author's possession.)]

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,[17] with interesting memoranda attached,
giving the names of his workmen and the wages paid: from these it would
appear that five shillings a day was at that time sufficient remuneration
for a skilful wood carver.


(Reproduced by Photography from an old Print in the Author's possession.)]

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
contemporary. George Richardson and Matthias Darly should also be
mentioned as notable designers of furniture and decorative details of this

A copy of Hepplewhite's Book, in the author's possession (published in
1789), contains 300 designs "of every article of household furniture in
the newest and most approved taste," and it is worth while to quote from
his preface to illustrate the high esteem in which English cabinet work
was held at this time.

"English taste and workmanship have of late years been much sought for by
surrounding nations; and the mutability of all things, but more especially
of fashions, has rendered the labours of our 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 drawings from his book is given, and it will be useful
to compare them with those of other contemporary makers. From such a
comparison it will be seen that in the progress from the rococo of
Chippendale to the more severe lines of Sheraton, Hepplewhite forms a
connecting link between the two.

The names given to some of these designs appear curious; for instance:

"Rudd's table or reflecting dressing table," so called from the first one
having been invented for a popular character of that time.

"Knife cases," for the reception of the knives which were kept in them and
used to "garnish" the sideboards.

"Cabriole chair," implying a stuffed back, and not having reference, as it
does now, to the curved form of the leg.

"Bar backed sofa," being what we should now term a three or four chair
settee, _i.e._, like so many chairs joined and having an arm at either end.

"Library case" instead of Bookcase.

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

"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.



(Reproduced by Photography from an old print in the Author's possession.)]


(Reproduced by Photography from an old Print in the Author's possession.)]


(Reproduced from an old Print in the Author's possession.)]


These shew the influence of Sir W. Chambers' 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 now
sees to be of wood of inferior quality, and with scarcely any ornament,
were originally decorated in the manner just described, and therefore
the "carving" of details would have been superfluous. Injury to the
enamelling, by wear and tear, was most likely the cause of their being
stripped of their rubbed and partly obliterated decorations, and they were
then stained and polished, presenting an appearance which is scarcely just
to the designer and manufacturer.

In some of Hepplewhite's chairs, too, as in those of Sheraton, one may
fancy he sees evidence of the squabbles of two fashionable factions of
this time, "the Court party" and the "Prince's party," the latter having
the well-known Prince of Wales' plumes very prominent, and forming the
ornamental support of the back of the chair. Another noticeable enrichment
is the carving of wheat ears on the shield shape backs of the chairs.

To convey an idea of the fashion of the day, "the plan of a room shewing
the proper distribution of the furniture," appears on page 193. It is
evident from the large looking glass which overhangs the sideboard that
the fashion had now set in to use these mirrors. Some thirty or forty
years later this mirror became part of the sideboard, and, in some large
and pretentious designs which we have seen, the sideboard itself was
little better than the support of a huge glass in a heavily carved frame.

The dining tables of this period deserve a passing notice as a step in
the development of that important member of our "Lares and Penates." What
was, and is still, called the "pillar and claw" table, came into fashion
towards the end of the last century. It consisted of a round or square top
supported by an upright cylinder, which rested on a plinth having three,
or sometimes four, feet carved as claws. In order to extend these tables
for a larger number of guests, an arrangement was made for placing several
together. When apart, they served as pier or side tables, and some of
these--the two end ones, being semi-circular--may still be found in some
of our old inns.[18]











    _Plan of a Room,--shewing the proper
    distribution of the Furniture._

It was not until the year 1800 that Richard Gillow, of the well-known
firm in Oxford Street, invented and patented the convenient telescopic
contrivance which, with slight improvements, has given us the table of the
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."


(_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 who was the
thirteenth child of the Richard Gillow before mentioned, he learnt that
this same Richard Gillow retired in 1830, and died as lately as 1866 at
the age of 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 a joiner to use a part of the
wood for this purpose; it was found too tough and hard for the tools
of the period, but the Doctor was not to be thwarted, and insisted on
harder-tempered tools being found, and the task was completed; the result
was the production of a candle box which was admired by every one. He
then ordered a bureau of the same material, and when it was finished, he
invited his friends to see the new work; amongst others, the Duchess of
Buckingham begged a small piece of the precious wood, and it soon became
the fashion. On account of its toughness, and peculiarity of grain, it
was capable of treatment impossible with oak, and the high polish it took
by oil and rubbing (not French polish, a later invention), caused it to
come into great request. The term "putting one's knees under a friend's
mahogany," probably dates from about this time.


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

[Illustration: CHAIRS, BY SHERATON]

The fashion had now changed; instead of the rococo--literally, rock work
and shell (_roequaille et coquaille_)--ornament, which had gone out,
a simpler and more severe taste had come in. In Sheraton's cabinets,
chairs, writing tables, and occasional pieces, we have therefore no
longer the cabriole leg or the carved ornament; but, as in the case of
the brothers Adam, and the furniture designed by them for such houses as
those in Portland Place, we have now square tapering legs, severe lines,
and quiet ornament. Sheraton trusted almost entirely for decoration
to his marqueterie. Some of this is very delicate and of excellent
workmanship. He introduced occasionally into his scrolls animals with
foliated extremities, and he also inlaid marqueterie trophies of musical
instruments; but as a rule the decoration was in wreaths of flowers,
husks, or drapery, in strict adherence to the fashion of the decorations
to which allusion has been made. A characteristic feature of his cabinets
was the swan-necked pediment surmounting the cornice, being a revival of
an ornament fashionable during Queen Anne's reign. It was then chiefly
found in stone, marble, or cut brickwork, but subsequently became
prevalent in inlaid woodwork.


Designed by T. Sheraton, and published in his "Cabinet Maker and
Upholsterer's Drawing Book," 1793.]

Sheraton was apparently a man very well educated for his time, whether
self taught or not one cannot say; but that he was an excellent
draughtsman, and had a complete knowledge of geometry, is evident from
the skilful drawings in his book, and the careful though rather verbose
directions he gives for perspective drawing. Many of his numerous
designs for furniture and ornamental items are drawn to a scale with the
geometrical nicety of an engineer's or architect's plan. He has drawn in
elevation, plan, and minute detail, each of the five architectural orders.


The selection made here from his designs for the purposes of illustration,
is not taken from his later work, which properly belongs to a future
chapter, when we come to consider the influence of the French Revolution,
and the translation of the "Empire" style to England. Sheraton published
"The Cabinet Maker and Upholsterer's Drawing Book" in 1793, and the list
of subscribers whose names and addresses are given, throws much light
on the subject of the furniture of his time.[19] 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 in deference to the prevailing taste for our National manufacture
of the latter half of the last century, this chapter is somewhat long, on
account of the endeavour to give more detailed information about English
furniture of that period, still, in concluding it, a few remarks about the
"Sideboard" may be allowed.

The changes in form and fashion of this important article of domestic
furniture are interesting, and to explain them a slight retrospect is
necessary. The word "Buffet," sometimes translated "Sideboard," which was
used to describe continental pieces of furniture of the fifteenth and
sixteenth centuries, does not designate our Sideboard, which may be said
to have been introduced by William III., and of which kind there is a fair
specimen in the South Kensington Museum; an illustration of it has been
given in the chapter dealing with that period.

The term "stately sideboard" occurs in Milton's "Paradise Regained,"
which was published in 1671; and Dryden, in his translation of "Juvenal,"
published in 1693, when contrasting the furniture of the classical period
of which he was writing, with that of his own time, uses the following

    "No sideboards then with gilded plate were dressed."

The fashion in those days of having symmetrical doors in a room, that is,
false doors to correspond with the door used for exit, which one still
finds in many old houses in the neighbourhood of Portland Place, and
particularly in the Palaces of St. James' and of Kensington, enabled our
ancestors to have good cupboards for the storage of glass, crockery, and
reserve wine. After the middle of the eighteenth century, however, these
extra doors and the cupboard enclosed by them, gradually disappeared;
and soon after the mahogany side table came into fashion, it became the
custom to supplement this article of furniture by an independent pedestal
cupboard on either side (instead of the cupboards alluded to), one for
hot plates and the other for wine. Then, as the thin legs gave the table
rather a 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. To understand
this arrangement the reader is referred to the illustration on page 193.

A brass rail at the back of the side table, with ornamented pillars and
branches for candles, was used, partly to enrich the furniture, and partly
to form a support to the handsome pair of knife and spoon cases, which
completed the garniture of a gentleman's sideboard of this period. It
would therefore seem that the modern sideboard is the combination of these
separate articles into one piece of furniture--at different times and in
different fashions--first the pedestals joined to the table produced our
"pedestal sideboard," then the mirror was joined to the back, the cellaret
made part of the interior fittings, and the banishment of knife cases and
urns to the realms of the curiosity hunter, or for conversion into spirit
cases and stationery holders. The sarcophagus, often richly carved, of
course succeeded the simple cellaret of Sheraton's 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."



To the latter part of the eighteenth century--the English furniture
of which time has been discussed in this Chapter--belong the quaint
little "urn stands" which were made to hold the urn with boiling water,
while the tea pot was placed on a little slide which is drawn out from
underneath the top. In those days tea was an expensive luxury, and
urn stands (illustrated below) were inlaid in the fashion of the time.
These, together with the old mahogany or marqueterie tea caddies, which
were sometimes the object of considerable skill and care, are dainty
relics of the past. One of these, designed by Chippendale, as illustrated
on page 179, and another by Hepplewhite will be found on page 194. They
were fitted with two and sometimes three bottles or tea poys of silver or
Battersea enamel, to hold the black and green teas, and when really good
examples of these daintily-fitted tea caddies are offered for sale they
bring large sums.

[Illustration: URN STAND.]

[Illustration: TOILET GLASS.]

[Illustration: URN STAND.]

The "wine table" of this time deserves a word. These are now somewhat
rare, and are only to be found in a few old houses, and in some of the
Colleges at Oxford and Cambridge. These are fitted with revolving tops,
which had circles turned out to a slight depth for each glass to stand in,
and they were sometimes shaped like the half of a 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 eighteenth century
was the partiality for secret drawers and contrivances for hiding away
papers or valued articles; and in old secretaires and writing tables we
find a great many ingenious designs which remind us of the days when there
were but few banks, and people kept money and deeds in their own custody.

The reader who would make a careful study of English furniture of
the period discussed in this chapter, is referred to the exhaustive
work edited by Mr. John Aldam Heaton, and published by Mr. Bumpus in
parts:--"Furniture and Decoration in England during the 18th Century,
being facsimile reproductions of the choicest examples from the works of
Chippendale, Adam, G. Richardson, Hepplewhite, Sheraton, Piranesi, and



[Footnote 16: "The universal system of Household Furniture, 300 designs on
95 plates, folio. London. N.D. (circa 1770)"]

[Footnote 17: Matthias Lock published "A new book of pier frames, ovals,
girandoles, tables, etc." Imp. 8vo., 1769.]

[Footnote 18: The Court room of the Stationers' Hall contains an excellent
set of tables of this kind.]

[Footnote 19: 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.]


First Half of the Nineteenth Century.

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


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 that country. It was an event of great
importance, whether we consider the religion, the politics, or the manners
and customs of a people, as affecting the changes in the style of the
decoration of their homes. The horrors of the Revolution are matters of
common knowledge to every schoolboy, and there is no need to dwell either
upon them or their consequences, which are so thoroughly apparent. To
the confiscation of the property of those who had fled the country, was
added the general dislocation of everything connected with the work of the
industrial arts.

Nevertheless it should be borne in mind that amongst the anarchy and
disorder of this terrible time in France, the National Convention had
sufficient foresight to appoint a Commission, composed of competent men in
different branches of 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 in an article on "Art," by a democratic French writer,
as early as 1790--when the great storm cloud was already threatening to
burst--which is quoted by Mr. C. Perkins, the American translator of Dr.
Falke's German work, "Kunst im Hause," and gives us the keynote to the
great change which took place in the fashion of furniture about the time
of the Revolution:--"We have changed everything; freedom, now consolidated
in France, has restored the pure taste for the antique! Farewell to your
marqueterie and Boule, your ribbons, festoons, and rosettes of gilded
bronze; the hour has come when objects must be made to harmonize with

Thus it is hardly too much to say that designs were governed by the
politics and philosophy of the day; and one finds in furniture of this
period, the reproduction of ancient Greek forms for chairs and couches;
ladies' work tables, too, are fashioned somewhat after the old drawings
of sacrificial altars; and the classical tripod is a favourite support.
The mountings represent antique Roman fasces with an axe in the centre;
trophies of lances, surmounted by a Phrygian cap of liberty; winged
figures, emblematic of freedom; and antique heads of helmeted warriors
arranged like cameo medallions.

After the execution of Robespierre, and the abolition of the Revolutionary
Tribunal in 1794, came the establishment 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 the old Roman
imperialism, to see that in his mind was the ambition of reviving much of
the splendour and of the surroundings of the Cæsars, whom he took, to some
extent, as his models; and that in founding on the ashes of the Revolution
a new fabric, with new people about him, all influenced by his energetic
personality, he desired to mark his victories by stamping the new order of
things with his powerful and assertive individualism.

The cabinet which was designed and made for Marie Louise, on his marriage
with her in 1810, is an excellent example of the Napoleonic furniture. The
wood used for this style of furniture was almost invariably rich mahogany,
the color of which made a good ground for the bronze gilt mounts which
were applied. The full-page illustration shews these mountings, which are
all classical in character; and though there is no particular grace in the
outline or form of the cabinet, there is a certain dignity and solemnity,
relieved from oppressiveness by the fine chasing and gilding of the metal
enrichments, and the excellent color and figuring of the rich Spanish
mahogany used. This cabinet, and several other more or less ornate pieces
of Napoleonic furniture, may still be seen in the Chateau of Fontainebleau.


Presented by Napoleon I. to Marie Louise on his Marriage with her in 1810.


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.


In Mahogany, with Gilt Bronze Mountings.


The bas-reliefs in metal which ornament the panels of the friezes of
cabinets, or the marble bases of clocks, are either reproductions of
mythological subjects from old Italian gems and seals, or represent the
battles of the Emperor, in which Napoleon is portrayed as a Roman general.
There was plenty of room to replace so much that had disappeared during
the Revolution, and a vast quantity of decorative furniture was made
during the few years which elapsed before the disaster of Waterloo caused
the disappearance of a power which had been almost meteoric in its career.

One of the best authorities on "Empire Furniture" is the book of designs
published in 1809 by the architects Percier and Fontaine. It is the
more valuable, as a work of reference, from the fact that every design
represented was actually carried out, and is not a mere exercise of fancy,
as is the case with many such books. In the preface the authors modestly
state that they are entirely indebted to the antique for the reproduction
of the different ornaments; and the originals, from which some of the
designs were taken, are still preserved in a fragmentary form in the
Museum of the Vatican.

The illustration on page 205 of an arm chair and a stool, together with
that of the tripod table which ornaments the initial letter of this
chapter, are favourable examples of the richly-mounted and more decorative
furniture of this style. While they are not free from the stiffness
and constraint which are inseparable from classic designs as applied
to furniture, the rich color of the mahogany, the high finish and good
gilding of the bronze mounts, and the 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 period.

In Dutch furniture of this time one sees the reproduction of the
Napoleonic fashion--the continuation of the Revolutionists' classicalism.
Many marqueterie secretaires, tables, chairs, and other like articles,
are mounted with the heads and feet of animals, with lion's heads and
sphinxes, designs which could have been derived from no other source; and
the general design of the furniture loses its 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, surrounded 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.


[Illustration: DRAWING ROOM CHAIR.

Design published by T. Sheraton, April, 1804.]

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 shew unmistakable signs of
the French "Empire" influence, the chief difference between the French
and English work being, that, whereas in French Empire furniture the
excellence of the metal work redeems it from heaviness or ugliness, such
merit was wanting in England, where we have never excelled in bronze
work, the ornament being generally carved in wood, either gilt or colored
bronze-green. When metal was used it was brass, cast and fairly finished
by the chaser, but much more clumsy than the French work. Therefore,
the English furniture of the first years of the nineteenth century is
stiff, massive, and heavy, equally with its French contemporary wanting
in gracefulness, and not having the compensating attractions of fine
mounting, or the originality and individuality which must always add an
interest to Napoleonic furniture.

[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."




[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 shewn in the reproduction of a drawing by
Thomas Hope (known as "Anastasius Hope"), in 1807, a well-known architect
of the time, in which it will be observed that the forms and fashions of
some of the chairs and tables described and illustrated in the chapter on
"Ancient Furniture" have been taken as models.

There were several makers of first-class furniture, of whom the names of
some still survive in the "style and title" of firms of the present day,
who are their successors, while those of others have been forgotten, save
by some of our older manufacturers and auctioneers, who, at the request of
the writer, have been good enough to look up old records and revive the
memories of fifty years ago. Of these the best known was Thomas Seddon,
who came from Manchester and settled in Aldersgate Street. His two sons
succeeded to the business, became cabinet makers to George IV., and
furnished and decorated Windsor Castle. At the King's death their account
was disputed, and £30,000 was struck off, a loss which necessitated an
arrangement with their creditors. Shortly after this, however, they took
the Barracks of the London Light Horse Volunteers in the Gray's Inn Road
(now the Hospital), and carried on there for a time a very extensive
business. Seddon's work ranked with Gillow's, and they shared with that
house the best orders for 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 until recently carried on business
as "Johnstone and Norman," and who some few years ago executed a very
extravagant order for an American millionaire. This was a reproduction of
Byzantine designs in furniture of cedar, ebony, ivory, and pearl, made
from drawings by the late Sir Alma Tadema, R.A.

Snell, of Albemarle Street, was established early in the century, and
had obtained an excellent reputation; his 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 in the first quarter of the century.


Somewhat later, Trollopes, of Parliament Street; Holland, who had
succeeded Dowbiggin (Gillow's apprentice), first in Great Pulteney
Street, and subsequently at the firm's present address; Wilkinson, of
Ludgate Hill, founder of the present firm of upholsterers in Bond Street;
Aspinwall, of Grosvenor Street; the second Morant, of whom the great Duke
of Wellington made a personal friend; and Crace, a prominent decorator of
great taste, who carried out many of Pugin's Gothic designs, were all men
of good reputation. Miles and Edwards, of Oxford Street, whom Hindleys
succeeded, were also well known for good middle-class furniture. These
are some of the best known manufacturers of the first half of the present
century, and though until after the Great Exhibition there was, as a rule,
little in the designs to render their productions remarkable, the work of
those named will be found sound in construction, and free from the faults
which accompany the cheap and showy reproductions of more pretentious
styles, which mark so much of the furniture of the present day. 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. "Escritoire, jardinière, 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 here reproduced,
show the fashion of our so-called artistic furniture in England at the
time of the Regency. Mr. Smith, in the "Preliminary Remarks" prefacing his
illustrations, gives us an idea of the prevailing taste, which, looking
back now some three-quarters of a century, it is instructive to peruse:--

[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 in 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
color, and have, in some cases, heraldic shields, with crests and coats
of arms picked out in color. There are window seats painted to imitate
marble, with the Roman or Greco-Roman ornaments painted green to represent
bronze. The least objectionable are those of mahogany with bronze green

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.


_Note._--Very similar bookcases are in the London Mansion House.]


From G. Smith's Book, published in 1808.]

In the Court Room of the Skinners' Company there are tables which are now
fitted 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 of representing the
heads and feet of animals in the designs of furniture had gone out. These
tables have massive legs, with lions' heads and claws, carved with great
skill and shewing much spirit, the wood being of the best quality and rich
in color.


In the work of the manufacturers just enumerated may be traced the
influence of the "Empire" style. With the restoration, however, of the
Monarchy in France, came the inevitable change in fashions, and "_Le
style de 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,"[20] or debased "rococo" came in.
Ornament of a florid and incongruous character was lavished on decorative
furniture, indicative of a taste for display, rather than for appropriate

It had been our English custom for some long period to take our fashions
from France, and, therefore, about the time of William IV. and during
the early part of Queen Victoria's reign, the furniture for our best
houses was designed and made in the French style. In the "Music" Room
at Chatsworth are some chairs and footstools used at the time of the
Coronation of William IV. and Queen Adelaide, which have quite the
appearance of French furniture.

The old fashion of lining rooms with oak panelling, which has been noticed
in the earlier chapter, had undergone a change worth recording. If the
illustration of the Elizabethan oak panelling, as given in the English
section of Chapter III., be referred to, it will be seen that the oak
lining reaches from the floor to within about two or three feet of the
cornice. Subsequently this panelling was divided into an upper and a lower
part, the former commencing about the height of the back of an ordinary
chair, a moulding or chair-rail forming a capping to the lower part.
Then pictures came to be let into the panelling: and presently the upper
part was discarded and the lower wainscoting remained, properly termed
the Dado,[21] which we have seen revived both in wood and in various
decorative materials of the present day. During the period we are now
discussing, this arrangement lost favour in the eyes of our grandfathers,
and the lowest member, or base, of the Dado only was retained, which is
now termed the "skirting board."

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 the last century to leave the beaten track,
although the Reform and Travellers' Clubs had already been designed by
him on more classic lines. The Speaker's chair in the House of Commons is
evidently designed after one of the fifteenth century "canopied seats,"
which have been noticed and illustrated in the second chapter; and the
"linen scroll pattern" panels can be counted by the thousand in the Houses
of Parliament and the different official residences which form part of
the Palace. The character of the work is subdued and not flamboyant, is
excellent in design and workmanship, and is highly creditable, when we
take into consideration the very low state of Art in England fifty years

This want of taste was very much discussed in the periodicals of the
day, and, yielding to expressed public opinion, Government had in 1840-1
appointed a Select Committee to take into consideration the promotion of
the Fine Arts in the country. Mr. Charles Barry, Mr. Eastlake, and Sir
Martin Shee, R.A., were amongst the witnesses examined. The report of this
Committee, in 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 subsequently his "Glossary of
Ecclesiastical Ornament and Costume"; and by skilful application of his
knowledge to the decorations of the different ecclesiastical buildings he
designed, his reputation became established. One of his designs is here
reproduced. Pugin's work and reputation have survived, notwithstanding
the furious opposition he met with at the time. In a review of one of his
books, in the _Art Union_ of 1839, the following sentence completes the
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


In Carved Oak, in style of German Gothic.

(_From a Drawing by Professor Heideloff. Published in the "Art Union,"

York House was redecorated and furnished about this time, and as it is
described as "Excelling any other dwelling of its own class in regal
magnificence and vieing with the Royal Palaces of Europe," we may take
note of an account of its re-equipment, written in 1841, for the _Art
Union_. This notice speaks little for the taste of the period, and
less for the knowledge and grasp of the subject by the writer of an
Art critique of the day:--"The furniture generally is of no particular
style, but, on the whole, there is to be found a mingling of everything,
in the best manner of the best epochs of taste." Writing further on of
the ottoman couches, "causeses," etc., the critic goes on to tell of an
alteration in fashion which had evidently just taken place: "Some of them,
in place of plain or carved rosewood or mahogany, are ornamented in white
enamel, with classic subjects in bas-relief of perfect execution."

Towards the close of the period embraced in the limits of this chapter,
the eminent firm of Jackson and Graham was making headway. A French
designer named Prignot was of considerable assistance in establishing
their reputation for taste; and in the Exhibition which was soon to take
place this firm took a very prominent position. Collinson and Lock,[22]
who afterwards acquired this firm's premises and business, were both
brought up in the house as young men, and left some thirty odd years ago
for Herrings, of Fleet Street, whom they succeeded about 1870.

Another well-known decorator who designed and manufactured furniture of
good 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 the
King 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, Manson and Woods, the writer has had access to the records of
this old firm, and two or three instances of sales of furniture may be
given. While the catalogues of the Picture sales of 1830-40 were printed
on paper of quarto size, and the subjects described at length, those
of "Furniture" are of the old-fashioned small octavo size, resembling
the catalogue of a small country auctioneer of the present day, and the
printed descriptions rarely exceed a single line. The prices seldom
amounted to more than £10; the whole proceeds of the day's sale were often
less than £100, and sometimes did not reach £50. At the sale of "Rosslyn
House," Hampstead, in 1830, a mansion of considerable importance, the
highest-priced article was "A capital mahogany 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 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
realise as many pounds as the shillings included in such sums, will
appreciate the enormously increased value of really good old French

Perhaps the most noticeable comparison between the present day and that of
half-a-century ago may be made in reading through the prices given at the
great sale at Stowe House, in 1848, when the financial difficulties of the
Duke of Buckingham caused the sale by auction which lasted thirty-seven
days, and realised upwards of £71,000; the proceeds of the furniture
amounted to £27,152. We have seen in the notice of French furniture that
armoires by Boule have, during the past few years, brought from £4,000
to £6,000 each, under the hammer, and the want of appreciation of this
work, probably the most artistic ever produced by designer and craftsman,
is sufficiently exemplified by the statement that at the Stowe sale
two of Boule's famous armoires, of similar proportions to those in the
Hamilton Palace and Jones Collections, were sold for £21 and £19 8s. 6d.

We are accustomed now to see the bids at Christie's advance by guineas, by
fives, tens and fifties; and it is amusing to read in these old catalogues
of marqueterie tables, satin wood cabinets, rosewood pier tables, and
other articles of "ornamental furniture," as it was termed, being knocked
down to Town and Emanuel, Webb, Morant, Hitchcock Baldock, Forrest,
Redfearn, Litchfield (the writer's father), and others who were the buyers
and regular attendants at "Christie's" (afterwards Christie and Manson) of
1830 to 1845, for such sums as 6s., 15s., and occasionally £10 or £15.

A single quotation is given, but many such are to be found:--

_Sale on February 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 page 57, was amongst the examples lent by the
Queen on that occasion. Specimens of Boule's work and some good pieces of
Italian Renaissance were also exhibited.

A great many of the older Club Houses of London were built and furnished
between 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 Athenæum, Oriental,
Wyndham, Oxford and Cambridge, Reform, Carlton, Garrick, Conservative, and
some others were erected and fitted up. Many of these still retain much of
the furniture of Gillows, Seddons, and some of the other manufacturers of
the time whose work has been alluded to, and these are favourable examples
of the best kind of cabinet work done in England during the reign of
George IV., William IV., and that of the early part of Queen Victoria. It
is worth recording, too, that during this period, steam power, which had
been first applied to machinery about 1815, came into more general use in
the manufacture of furniture. With its adoption there seems to have been
a gradual abandonment of the 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. Queen Victoria. Designed and Carved by H. Rogers,

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 the
exhibition of manufactures was at Birmingham in 1849; and from the
illustrated review of this in the _Art Journal_, one can see that there
was a desire on the part of our designers and manufacturers to strike out
in new directions and make progress.

We are able to reproduce some of the designs of furniture of this
period; and in the cradle designed and carved in Turkey-boxwood, for
Queen Victoria, by Mr. Harry Rogers, we have a fine piece of work, which
would not have disgraced the latter period of the Renaissance. Indeed,
Mr. Rogers was a very notable designer and carver of this time; he had
introduced his famous boxwood carving about seven years previously.

[Illustration: DESIGN FOR A TEA CADDY.

By J. Strudwick, for Inlaying in Ivory.

Published as one of the "Original Designs for Manufacturers" in the _Art
Journal_, 1849.]

This cradle was also, by Queen Victoria's command, sent to the Exhibition,
and it may be worth while quoting the artist's description of the
carving:--"In making the design for the cradle it was my intention
that the entire object should symbolize the union of the Royal Houses
of England with that of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and with this view, I
arranged that one end should exhibit the arms and national motto of
England, and the other those of H.R.H. Prince Albert. The inscription,
'Anno, 1850,' was placed between the dolphins by Her Majesty's special


By W. Holmes. Exhibited at the "Society of Arts" in 1848, and published in
the _Art Journal_, in 1849.]

In a criticism of this excellent specimen of work, the _Art Journal_ of
the time said:--"We believe the cradle to be one of the most important
examples of the art of wood carving ever executed in this country."

Rogers was also a writer of considerable ability on the styles of
ornament: and there are several contributions from his pen to the
periodicals of the day, besides designs which were published in the _Art
Journal_ under the heading of "Original Designs for Manufacturers." These
articles appeared occasionally, and contained many excellent suggestions
for manufacturers and carvers, amongst others the drawings of H. Fitzcook,
one of whose designs for a work table is here reproduced. Others more or
less constant contributors of the original designs for furniture were J.
Strudwick and W. Holmes, a design from the pencil of each of whom is given.


By H. Fitzcook. Published as one of the "Original Designs for
Manufacturers," in the _Art Journal_, 1850.]

But though here and there in England good designers came to the front, as
a general rule the art of design in furniture and decorative woodwork was
at a very low ebb about this time.

In furniture, straight lines and simple curves may be plain and
uninteresting, but they are by no means so objectionable as the over
ornamentation of the debased rococo style, which obtained in this country
about forty years ago; and if the scrolls and flowers, the shells and
rockwork which ornamented mirror frames, sideboard backs, sofas, and
chairs, were debased in style, even when carefully carved in wood, the
effect was infinitely worse when, for the sake of economy, as was the
case with the houses of the middle classes, this elaborate and laboured
enrichment was executed in the fashionable stucco of the day.

Large mirrors, with gilt frames of this material, held the places of honor
on the marble chimney piece, and on the console, or pier table, which was
also of gilt stucco, with a marble slab. The chiffonier, with its shelves
having scroll supports like an elaborate S, and a mirror at the back, with
a scrolled frame, was a favourite article of furniture.

Carpets were badly designed, and loud and vulgar in coloring; chairs,
on account of the shape and ornament in vogue, were unfitted for
their purpose, on account of the wood being cut across the grain; the
fire-screen, in a carved rosewood frame, contained the caricature, in
needlework, of a spaniel, or a family group of the time, ugly enough to be
in keeping with its surroundings.

The dining room was sombre and heavy. The pedestal sideboard, with a
large mirror with a scrolled frame at the back, had come in; the chairs
were massive and ugly survivals of the earlier reproductions of the
Greek patterns, and though solid and substantial, the effect was neither
cheering nor refining.

In the bedrooms were winged wardrobes and chests of drawers; dressing
tables and washstands, with scrolled legs, nearly always in mahogany; the
old four-poster had given way to the Arabian or French bedstead, and this
was being gradually replaced by the iron or brass bedsteads, which came
in after the "Exhibition of 1851" had shewn people the advantages of the
lightness and cleanliness of these materials.

In a word, from the early part of the last century, until the impetus
given to Art by this great Exhibition had had time to take effect, the
general taste in furnishing houses of all but a very few persons was at
about its worst.

In other countries the rococo taste had also taken hold. France
maintained a higher standard than England, and such figure work as was
introduced into her furniture, was better executed, though her joinery
was inferior. In Italy, old models of the Renaissance still served as
examples for reproduction, but the ornament was more carelessly carved
and the decoration less considered. Ivory inlaying was largely practised
in Milan and Venice; mosaics of marble were _specialités_ of Rome and of
Florence, and were much used in the decoration of cabinets; Venice was
busy manufacturing carved walnutwood furniture, in buffets, cabinets,
negro page boys elaborately painted and gilt; and carved mirror frames,
the chief ornaments of which were cupids and foliage.

Italian carving has always been free and spirited, the figures have never
been wanting in grace, and though by comparison with the best time of
the Renaissance there is a great falling off, still, the work executed
in Italy during the nineteenth century has been of considerable merit as
regards ornament, though this has been overdone. In construction, and
joinery, however, the Italian work was and still is, for the most part,
very inferior. Cabinets of great pretension and elaborate ornament, inlaid
perhaps with ivory, lapislazuli, or marbles, are so imperfectly made that
one would think ornament, and certainly not durability, had been the
object of the producer.

In Antwerp, Brussels, Liege, and other Flemish Art centres, the School of
Wood Carving, which came in with the Renaissance, appears to have been
maintained with more or less excellence. With the increased quality of the
carved woodwork manufactured, there was a proportion of ill-finished and
over-ornamented work produced; and although, as has been before observed,
the manufacture of cheap marqueterie in Amsterdam, and other Dutch cities
was bringing the name of Dutch furniture into ill-repute--still, so far
as the writer's observations have gone, the Flemish wood-carver appears
to have been, at the time now under consideration, ahead of his fellow
craftsmen in Europe; and when, in the ensuing chapter, we shall notice
some of the representative exhibits in the great International Competition
of 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 among the designers and
manufacturers of decorative furniture.

England, it has been observed, was suffering from languor in Art industry.
The excellent designs of the Adams and their school, which obtained
early in the century, had been supplanted, and a meaningless rococo
style succeeded the heavy imitations of French pseudo-classic furniture.
Instead of, as in the earlier and more tasteful periods, when architects
had designed woodwork and furniture to accord with the style of their
buildings, they appear to have then, as a general rule, abandoned the
control of the decoration of interiors, and the result was one which--when
we examine our National furniture of half a century ago--has not left us
much to be proud of as an artistic and industrious people.

Some notice has been taken of the appreciation of this unsatisfactory
state of things by the Government of the time, and by the Press; and, as
with a knowledge of our deficiency, came the desire and the energy to
bring about its remedy, we shall see that, with the Exhibition of 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.





In carved walnut wood, with colored marbles inlaid, and doors of
perforated brass.






[Illustration: GRAND PIANOFORTE.

In Ebony inlaid, and enriched with Gold in relief.



[Footnote 20: The word baroque, which became a generic term, was derived
from the Portuguese "barrocco," meaning a large irregular-shaped pearl.
At first a jeweller's technical term, it came later, like "rococo," to be
used to describe the kind of ornament which prevailed in design of the
nineteenth century, after the disappearance of the classic.]

[Footnote 21: 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

[Footnote 22: Collinson and Lock amalgamated with Warings in 1897.]


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--Talbert's Work--Revival of
    Marquetry--Comparison of Present Day with that of a Hundred Years
    Ago--Æstheticism--Traditions--Trades-Unionism--The Arts and Crafts
    Exhibition Society--Kensington School of Wood-carving--Independence
    of Furniture--Present Fashions--Writers on Design--The New
    Renaissance--"Trade" Journals--Modern Furniture in other
    Countries--Concluding Remarks.

In the previous chapter, attention has been taken of the success of the
National Exhibition in Paris of 1849; in the same year the competition
of our manufacturers at Birmingham gave an impetus to Industrial Art
in England, and there was about this time a general forward movement,
with a desire for an International Exhibition on a grand scale. Articles
advocating such a step appeared in newspapers and periodicals of the time,
and, after much difficulty, and many delays, a committee for the promotion
of this object was formed. This resulted in the appointment of a Royal
Commission, and the Prince Consort, as President of this Commission, took
a keen personal interest in every arrangement for this great enterprise.
Indeed, there can be no doubt that the success which crowned the work was,
in a great measure, due to his taste, patience, and excellent business
capacity. It is no part of our task to record all the details of an
undertaking which, at the time, was a burning question of the day; still,
as we cannot but look upon this Exhibition of 1851 as one of the landmarks
in the history of furniture, it is worth while to record 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 Queen
Victoria on the 1st of May, 1851. At a civic banquet in honor of the
event, the Prince Consort very aptly described the object of the great
experiment:--"The Exhibition of 1851 would afford a true test of the point
of development at which the whole of mankind had arrived in this great
task, and a new starting point from which all nations would be able to
direct their further exertions."

The number of exhibitors was some 17,000, of whom over 3,000 received
prize and council medals; and the official catalogue, compiled by Mr.
Scott Russell, the secretary, contains a great many particulars which are
instructive reading, when we compare the work of many of the firms of
manufacturers, whose exhibits are therein described, with their work of
the present day.

The _Art Journal_ published a special volume, entitled "The Art Journal
Illustrated Catalogue," with woodcuts of the more important exhibits, and,
by the courtesy of the proprietors, a small selection is reproduced, which
will give the reader an idea of the design of furniture, both in England
and the chief Continental industrial centres at that time.

They have been selected as being fairly representative of the work of the
time, and not on account of their own intrinsic excellence.

With regard to the exhibits of English firms, of which these 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 in passing be further
alluded to, since the changes in form and character of the Pianoforte
is of some importance in the consideration of the design of furniture.
Messrs. Broadwood's Grand Pianoforte (illustrated) was a rich example
of decorative woodwork in ebony and gold, and may be compared with the
illustration on page 172 of a harpsichord, which the Piano had replaced
about 1767; and this supplies evidence of the increased attention devoted
to decorative furniture at and since the time of the 1851 Exhibition.
In the Appendix will be found a short notice of the different phases
through which the ever-present piano has passed, from the virginal, or
spinette--of which an illustration will be found in "A Sixteenth Century
Room" in Chapter III.--down to the latest development of the decoration
of the case of the instrument by leading artists of the present day. Mr.
Algernon Rose, of Messrs. Broadwood, whose firm was established at their
present address in 1732, has been good enough to supply the author with
the particulars for this notice.

It will be seen from the illustrations of these exhibits that, so far as
figure carving and composition are concerned, our foreign rivals, the
Italians, Belgians, Austrians, and French, were far ahead of us. In mere
construction and excellence of work, we have ever been able to hold our
own, and, so long as our designers have kept to beaten tracks, the effect
is satisfactory. It is only when an attempt has been made to soar above
the conventional, that the effort is not so successful.


In Papier-maché. 1851 Exhibition, London.]

In looking over the list of exhibits, one finds evidence of the fickleness
of fashions. The manufacture of decorative articles of furniture of
_papier-maché_ was then very extensive, and there are several specimens
of this class of work executed, 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.

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

[Illustration: SIDEBOARD.

In Carved Oak, with subjects taken from Sir Walter Scott's "Kenilworth."


[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.






[Illustration: PIANOFORTE

In Rosewood, inlaid with Boulework, in Gold, Silver, and Copper.


[Illustration: BOOKCASE.

In Carved Lime Tree, with Panels of Satinwood.


[Illustration: CABINET.

In Tulipwood, ornamented with Bronze, and inlaid with Porcelain.


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,
father of Messrs. Charles and Asher Wertheimer, now so well known in the
Art world, then in Greek Street, Soho, was steadily making a reputation by
the excellence of the metal mountings of his own design and 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" which time has given them, it is not always
easy to distinguish them from the models from which they were taken. Toms
was assistant to Town and Emanuel, and 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 over twenty years ago.

[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.]

Webb, of Old Bond Street, succeeded by Annoot, and subsequently by
Radley,[23] was a manufacturer of this class of furniture; he employed a
considerable number of workmen, and carried on a very successful business.

The name of "Blake," too, is one that will be remembered by some of our
older readers who were interested in marqueterie furniture of forty years
ago. He made an inlaid centre table for the late Duke of Northumberland,
from a design by Mr. C. P. Slocombe, of South Kensington Museum; he also
made excellent copies of Louis XIV. furniture.


With Carnelions inserted. Litchfield and Radclyffe. 1862 Exhibition.]

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 carnelion and other richly-colored minerals (illustrated on previous
page), was made by the firm in which the author's father was senior
partner; it received a good deal of notice, and was purchased by William,
third Earl of Craven, a well-known virtuoso of some forty years ago.

The work of Fourdinois, of Paris, has already been alluded to, and in the
1867 Exhibition his furniture acquired a still higher reputation for good
taste and attention to detail. The full page illustration of a cabinet of
ebony, with carvings of boxwood, represents a remarkably rich piece of
work of its kind; the effect is produced by carving the boxwood figures
and ornamental scroll work in separate pieces, and then inserting these
bodily into the ebony. By this means the more intricate work is able to
be more carefully executed, and the close grain and rich tint of Turkey
boxwood (perhaps next to ivory the best medium for rendering fine carving)
tells out in relief against the ebony of which the body of the cabinet is
constructed. This excellent example of modern cabinet work by 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 excessive.

The house of Fourdinois no longer exists; the names of the foremost makers
of French _meubles de luxe_, in Paris, of this time were Beurdely, Dasson,
Roux, Sormani, Durand, and Zwiener. Some mention has already been made of
Zwiener, as the maker of a famous bureau in the Hertford Collection,[24]
and a sideboard exhibited by Durand in the '51 Exhibition is amongst the
illustrations selected as representative of cabinet work at that time.

The illustration of Wright and Mansfield's satinwood cabinet, with
Wedgwood plaques inserted, and with wreaths and swags of marqueterie
inlaid, is in the Adams style, a class of design of which this firm made a
_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 some years ago. This
cabinet was exhibited in Paris in 1867, and was purchased by our South
Kensington authorities. Perhaps it is not generally known that a grant is
made to the Department for the purchase of suitable specimens of furniture
and woodwork for the Museum. This expenditure is made with great care and
discrimination. It may be observed here that the South Kensington Museum,
which was founded in 1851, was, at the time of which we are writing,
playing an important part in the Art education of the country. The
literature of the day also contributed many useful works of instruction
and reference for the designer of furniture and woodwork.





With Wedgwood plaques and inlay of various woods in the Adams style.




In the Style of Italian Renaissance by ANDREA PICCHI, Florence.


_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 work of Mr. Bruce J. Talbert deserves mention here, and should not
have been omitted in the first edition. His designs for furniture,
conceived on the basis of modified Gothic, adapted to modern requirements,
were appreciated by a considerable following; and the dining room and
library furniture especially, made from his drawings, stand the test of
time. He published a book of designs in 1868, entitled "Gothic Forms
applied to Furniture, Metal Work, and Decoration for Domestic Purposes,"
and, subsequently, in 1876, "Examples of Ancient and Modern Furniture,
Tapestries, Metal Work, Decoration, &c." In this latter work he reproduced
several of his drawings, which had been exhibited in the Royal Academy
in 1870 and five following years; and he compiled a reference table of
the dates when the various periods of architecture came in, with marginal
notes, which will be found very useful to the reader in connection with
our subject. We have, by permission of Mr. Talbert's publisher (Mr.
Batsford, of Holborn), been able to give here a full-page illustration
of part of a design for a dining room, from his Academy drawing of 1870,
which will convey a fair idea of the character of his work. Talbert made
designs for furniture exhibited in Paris in 1867, one of which, that of a
Sideboard, made by Gillows, was purchased for the South Kensington Museum.
Shortly before his death he turned his attention to Renaissance designs.

One noticeable feature of modern design in furniture, is the revival of
marquetry. Like all mosaic work, to which branch of Industrial Art it
properly belongs, this kind of decoration should be quite subordinate
to the general design; but, with a rage for novelty which seized public
attention some forty years ago, it developed into the production of all
kinds of fantastic patterns in different veneers. A kind of minute mosaic
work in wood, which was called "Tunbridge Wells work," became fashionable
for small articles. Within the last twenty-five years, the reproductions
of what is termed "Chippendale," and also of Adam, and Sheraton, designs
in marqueterie furniture, have been manufactured to an enormous extent.
Partly on account of the difficulty in obtaining the richly-marked and
figured old mahogany and satin-wood, of a hundred years ago, which needed
little or no inlay as ornament, and partly to meet the public fancy, by
covering up bad construction with veneers of marquetry decoration, a great
deal more inlay has been given to these reproductions than ever appeared
in the original work of the eighteenth century cabinet makers. Simplicity
was sacrificed, and veneers, thus used and abused, came to be a term of
contempt, implying sham or superficial ornament. Dickens, in one of his
novels, has introduced the "Veneer" family, thus stamping the term more
strongly on the popular imagination.

The method now practised in using marquetry to decorate furniture is very
similar to the one explained in the description of "Boule" furniture given
in Chapter VI., except that instead of shell, the marquetry cutter uses
the veneer, which he intends to be the groundwork of his design, and as
in some cases these veneers are cut to the thickness of 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 polychromatic effect is required,
holly wood and sycamore are stained different colors, 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 obtainable by machinery, which saves labour and cheapens productions
of the commoner kinds; this tends to produce a decorative effect which is
often inappropriate and superabundant.

Perhaps it is allowable to add here that marquetry, or _marqueterie_, its
French equivalent, is the more modern survival of "Tarsia" work, to which
allusion has been made in previous chapters. Webster defines the word as
"Work inlaid with pieces of wood, shells, ivory, and the like," derived
from the French word _marqueter_, to checker, and _marque_ (a sign), of
German origin. It is distinguished from parquetry (which is derived from
"_parc_," an enclosure, of which it is a diminutive), and signifies a
kind of joinery in geometrical patterns, generally used for flooring.
When, however, the marquetry assumes geometrical patterns (frequently a
number of cubes shaded in perspective), the design is often termed in Art
catalogues a "parquetry" design.



In considering the design and manufacture of furniture of the present day,
as compared with that of, say, a hundred years ago, there are two or
three main factors to be taken into account. Of these the most important
is the enormously increased demand, by the multiplication of purchasers,
for some classes of furniture, which formerly had but a limited sale.
This enables machinery to be used to advantage in economising labour, and
therefore one finds in the so-called "Queen Anne" and "Jacobean" cabinet
work of the well-furnished house of the present time, rather too prominent
evidence of the lathe and the steam plane. Mouldings are machined by
the length, then cut into cornices, mitred round panels, or affixed to
the edge of a plain slab of wood, giving it the effect of carving. The
everlasting spindle, turning rapidly by the lathe, is introduced with
wearisome redundance, to ornament the stretcher and the edge of a shelf;
the busy fret or band-saw produces fanciful patterns which form a cheap
enrichment when applied to a drawer-front, a panel, or a frieze; and
carving machines can copy any design, which a century ago were the careful
and painstaking result of a practised craftsman's skill.

Again, as the manufacture of furniture is now chiefly carried on in large
factories, both in England and on the Continent, the sub-division of
labour causes the article to pass through different hands, in successive
stages, and the wholesale manufacture of furniture by steam, has taken
the place of the personal supervision by the master's eye, of the task
of the few men who were in the old days the occupants of his workshop.
As a writer on the subject has well said, "the chisel and the knife are
no longer in such cases controlled by the sensitive touch of the human
hand." In connection with this we are reminded of Ruskin's precept that
"the first condition of a work of Art is that it should be conceived and
carried out by one person."

Instead of the carved ornament being the outcome of the artist's educated
taste, which places on the article the stamp of individuality--instead
of the furniture being, as it was in the seventeenth century in England,
and some hundred years earlier in Italy and in France, the craftsman's
pride--it is now the result of the rapid multiplication of some pattern
which had caught the popular fancy, generally a design in which there is a
good deal of decorative effect, for a comparatively small price.

The difficulty of altering this unsatisfactory state of things is evident.
On the one side, the manufacturers or the large furnishing 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 twenty years ago, and the pages of _Punch_ of that time will be
found to happily travesty its more amusing and extravagant aspects. The
great success of Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta, "Patience," produced
in 1881, was also to some extent due to the humorous allusions to the
extravagance of the "Æsthetes." 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. The names
of the late Sir Frederic Leighton and of Sir Alma Tadema are conspicuous
amongst those who have in their houses carried such principles into
effect, and among others who have been and are, more or less, associated
with this movement, may be named Rossetti, Burne Jones, Holman Hunt,
and William Morris. As a writer on 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 colorings of a previous decade or two,
has left behind it much good, and with the catholicity of taste which
marks the furniture of the present day, people see some merit in every
style, and are endeavouring to select that which is desirable without
running to the extreme of eccentricity.

Perhaps the advantage thus gained is counterbalanced by the loss of our
old "traditions," for amongst the wilderness of reproductions of French
furniture, more or less frivolous--of Chippendale, as that master is
generally understood--of what is termed "Jacobean" and "Queen Anne"--to
say nothing of a quantity of so-called "antique furniture," we are
bewildered in attempting to identify the latter end of the nineteenth
century with any particular style of furniture. By "tradition" it is
intended to allude to the old-fashioned manner of handing down from father
to son, or master to apprentice, for successive generations, the knowledge
and skill to produce any particular class of object of Art or manufacture.
Surely Ruskin had something of this in his mind when he said, "Now, when
the powers of fancy, stimulated by this triumphant precision of manual
dexterity, descend from generation to generation, you have at last what
is not so much a trained artist, as a new species of animal, with whose
instinctive gifts you have no chance of contending."

Tradition may be said to still survive in the country cartwright, who
produces the farmer's wagon in accordance with custom and tradition,
modifying the method of construction somewhat perhaps to meet altered
conditions of circumstances, and then ornamenting his work by no
particular set design or rule, but partly from inherited aptitude and
partly from playfulness or fancy. In the house-carpenter attached to
some of our old English family estates, there will also be found, here
and there, surviving representatives of the traditional "joyner" of the
seventeenth century; and in Eastern countries, particularly in Japan, we
find the dexterous joiner or carver of to-day is a descendant of a long
line of more or less excellent mechanics.

It must be obvious, too, that "Trade Unionism" of the present day cannot
but be, in many of its effects, prejudicial to the industrial Arts. A
movement which aims at reducing men of different intelligence and ability
to a common standard, and which controls the amount of work done, and the
price paid for it, whatever are its social or economical advantages, must
have a deleterious influence upon the Art products of our time.

Writers on Art and manufactures, of varying eminence and opinion, are
unanimous in pointing out the serious drawbacks to progress which will
exist, so long as there is a demand for cheap and meretricious imitations
of old furniture, as opposed to more simply made articles, designed in
accordance with the purposes for which they are intended. Within the past
few years a great many well directed endeavours have been made in England
to improve design in furniture, and to revive something of the feeling
of pride and ambition in his craft, which, in the old days of the Trade
Guilds, animated our Jacobean joiner. One of the best directed of these
enterprises is that of the "Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society," of which
Mr. Walter Crane, A.R.W.S., is president, and which includes, in its
committee and supporters, a great many influential names. As suggested on
the "cover" of their Exhibition Catalogue, designed by the President, one
chief aim of the Society is to link arm and arm "Design and Handicraft,"
by exhibiting only such articles as bear the names of individuals who,
respectively, drew the design and carried it out: each craftsman has thus
the credit and responsibility of his own part of the work, instead of the
whole appearing as the production of Messrs. A. 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, 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."

The School of Art Woodcarving at South Kensington, which was established
some twenty years ago at "the City and Guilds Institute," is also doing
a useful and practical work. With a very moderate grant from the City
Guilds and the use of free quarters, the School maintains itself, and is
the means of educating, either free or at reduced terms, a great many
students who go out into the world the better prepared to compete with
their foreign rivals. The Committee of Management, under the presidency
of Major-General Sir J. F. D. Donelly, K.C.B., is composed of artists and
architects of note and others who not only give their moral support to the
institution but bring some of their ornamental woodwork to the School for
execution under their direction.

The management of Miss Rowe[25] is evidence of the success which attends
the effort of an intelligent and enthusiastic lady, and the instructors,
Messrs. Grimwood and Ross, are practical carvers, who can not only correct
but can design and cut the patterns set for their pupils. After the first
year probation the professional students receive a fair proportion of the
value of their work, which is assessed by the instructors.

It is by the maintenance of such technical schools, which with more or
less success are now being started by our local authorities in different
parts of England, that we can to some extent replace the advantages which
the old system of apprenticeship gave to the learners of a craft.


In the collection of the late Lady Marian Alford.]

Many other societies, guilds, and Art schools have been established with
more or less success, with a view of improving the design and manufacture
of furniture, and providing suitable models for our young woodcarvers
to copy. The Ellesmere Cabinet (illustrated on page 243) was one of the
productions of the "Home Arts and Industries Association," founded in 1883
by the late Lady Marian Alford, a well known connoisseur and Art patron.
It will be seen that this is virtually a Jacobean design.

In the earlier chapters of this book, it has been observed that as
Architecture became a settled Art or Science, it was accompanied by a
corresponding development in the design of the room and its furniture,
under, as it were, one impulse of design, and this appropriate concord
may be said to have obtained in England until nearly the middle of
the last century, when, after the artificial Greek style in furniture
and woodwork which had been attempted by Wilkins, Soane, and other
contemporary architects, had fallen into disfavour, there was first a
reaction, and then an interregnum, as has been noticed in the previous
chapter. The Great Exhibition marked a fresh departure, and quickened,
as we have seen, industrial enterprise in this country: and though, upon
the whole, good results have been produced by the impetus given by these
international competitions, they have not been exempt from unfavourable
accompaniments. One of these was the eager desire for novelty, without
the necessary judgment to discriminate between good and bad. For a time,
nothing satisfied the purchaser of so-called "artistic" products, whether
of decorative furniture, carpets, curtains, or merely ornamental articles,
unless the design was "new." The natural result was the production either
of heavy, or ugly, or flimsy and inappropriate furniture, which has
been condemned by every competent writer on the subject. In some of the
designs selected from the exhibits of '51 this desire to leave the beaten
track of conventionality will be evident; and for a considerable time
after the Exhibition, we can see, in our designs, the result of too many
opportunities for imitation, acting upon minds insufficiently trained to
exercise careful judgment and selection.

About the early part of the nineteenth century, the custom of employing
architects to design the interior fittings and the furniture of their
buildings, so as to harmonize, appears to have been abandoned; this was
probably due, partly to some indifference to this subsidiary portion of
their work, but also to the change of taste which led people to prefer the
cheapness of painted and artificially grained pine-wood, with decorative
effects produced by wall-papers, to the more solid but expensive though
less showy wood-panelling, architectural mouldings, well-made panelled
doors and chimney pieces, which one finds, down to quite the end of the
previous century, even in houses of moderate rentals. Furniture therefore
became independent, and, "beginning to account herself an Art, trangressed
her limits" ... and "grew to the conceit that it could stand by itself,
and, as well as its betters, went a way of its own."[26] The effect
of this is to be seen in "interiors" of our own time which are handed
over from the builder, as it were, in blank, to be filled up from the
upholsterer's store, the curiosity shop, and the auction room, while a
large contribution from the conservatory or the nearest florist, gives a
finishing touch to a mixture, which characterises the present taste for
furnishing a boudoir or a drawing room.


(_From a Photo by Bedford Lemére & Co., by permission of H.M. The King._)]


(_From a Photo by Bedford Lemére & Co., by permission of H.M. The King._)]

There is, of course, in very many cases, an individuality gained by the
"omnium gatherum" of such a mode of furnishing. The cabinet which reminds
its owner of a tour in Italy, the quaint stool from Tangier, and the
embroidered piano-cover from Spain, are to those who are in the habit of
travelling, pleasant souvenirs; as are also the presents from friends
(when they have taste and judgment), the screens and flower-stands and the
photographs, which are reminiscences of the forms and faces separated from
us by distance or removed by death. The test of the whole question of such
an arrangement of furniture in our living rooms, is the amount of judgment
and discretion displayed. Two favourable examples of the present fashion,
representing the interior of the Saloon and Drawing Room at Sandringham
House, are here reproduced.

There is at the present time an ambition on the part of many well-to-do
persons to imitate the effect produced in houses of old families,
where, for generations, valuable and memorable articles of decorative
furniture have been accumulated, just as pictures, plate and china have
been preserved; and failing the inheritance of such household gods, it
is the practice to acquire, or as the modern term goes, "to collect,"
old furniture of different styles and periods, until the room becomes
incongruous and overcrowded, an evidence of the wealth, rather than of
the taste, of the owner. As it frequently happens that such collections
are made very hastily, and in the brief intervals of a busy commercial
or political life, the selections are not the best or most suitable; and
where so much is required in a short space of time, it becomes impossible
to devote a sufficient sum of money to procure really valuable specimens;
in their place, effective and low-priced reproductions of an old pattern
(with all the faults inseparable from such conditions) are added to the
conglomeration of articles requiring attention, and taking up space. The
limited accommodation of houses built on ground which is too valuable to
allow spacious halls and large apartments, makes this want of discretion
and judgment the more objectionable. There can be no doubt that want
of care and restraint in the selection of furniture, by the purchasing
public, affects its character, both as to design and workmanship.

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,"[27] Mr. Eastlake has scolded us severely for
running after novelties and fashions, instead of cultivating suitability
and simplicity, in the selection and ordering of our furniture; and he
has contrasted descriptions and drawings of well designed and constructed
pieces of furniture of the Jacobean period with those of last century's
productions. Col. Robert Edis, in "Decoration and Furniture of Town
Houses," has published designs which are both simple and economical, with
regard to space and money, while suitable to the specified purpose of the
furniture or "fitment."

The ruling principle in the majority of these designs has been to avoid
over-ornamentation, and pretentions to display, and to encourage good
solid work, in hard, durable, and (on account of the increased labour)
expensive woods, or, when economy is required, in light soft woods,
painted or enamelled. Some manufacturing firms, whose high reputation
renders them independent of any recommendation, have adopted this
principle, and, as a result, there is now no difficulty in obtaining
well designed and soundly well constructed furniture, which is simple,
unpretentious, and worth the price charged for it. Unfortunately for the
complete success of these sounder principles, really good and appropriate
furniture meets with a fierce competition from more showy and ornate
productions, made to sell rather than to last: furniture which seems to
have upon it the stamp of our "three years' agreement," or "seven years'
lease." Of this it may be said, speaking not only from an artistic, but
from a moral and humane standpoint, it is made so cheaply, that it seems a
pity it is made at all.

A revival in taste, which has been not inappropriately termed "The New
Renaissance," and has produced many excellent results, has been brought
about by several well-known architects and designers. Mr. Street, R.A.;
Messrs. Norman Shaw, R.A.; Waterhouse, R.A.; Sir Alma Tadema, R.A.; T.
G. Jackson, R.A.; W. Burges, R.A.; Walter Crane, Thomas Cutler, E. W.
Godwin, W. Morris, B. J. Talbert, S. Webb, and many others, have devoted
a considerable amount of attention to the design of furniture; but it is
scarcely within the writer's province to attempt a description of the
character of their respective work.

The "Trade" Journals, too, have contributed their influence by publishing
drawings of work completed, suggestions for their readers to carry out,
and also by illustrated notices of the different exhibitions which take
place from time to time.

The "Cabinet Maker and Art Furnisher," edited by Mr. J. Williams Berm,
M.P., L.C.C., contains "Pen and Ink Notes by the Editor," which should be
useful, as they are certainly instructive; and a number of good designs
are published month by month, in "Furniture and Decoration." These are
contributed by J. W. Bliss, R. A. Briggs, A.R.I.B.A., H. L. Chalmers, Owen
W. Davis, Lewis F. Day, Edwin Foley, Christopher Gill, Bertram Goodhue,
Ernest George and Peto, A. Jonquet, Felix Lenoir, Letharby, Wilbert
Rattray, Stenhouse, John Turner, Frank Ward, A. H. Wolf, and the editors
themselves--Timms and Webb.

In the "American Sketches" published in this Journal, we see the kind
of work which is being designed and carried out in the United States.
Designs of furniture and interior fittings of the houses of American
millionaires, drawn by Cauffmann; Frank Colburn, of Morristown, New
Jersey; Sanford Phipps, and James Thompson, of Boston; Ross and Marvin,
of New York, shew that there is no distinctive American style, but that
the revival in taste, which has been alluded to in England, has found its
way to America, and from the number of articles of furniture still called
after Mr. Eastlake, it is evident that the teachings of that gentleman had
considerable effect. The "Furniture Gazette," "The Builder," and "Building
News" also publish designs of furniture and woodwork.

The disadvantages, inseparable from our present state of society, which
we have noticed as prejudicial to English design and workmanship, and
which check the production of really satisfactory furniture, are also to
be observed in other countries; and as the English, and English-speaking
people, are probably the largest purchasers of foreign manufactures, these
disadvantages act and re-act on the furniture of different nations.

In France, the cabinet maker has ever excelled in the production of
ornamental furniture; and by constant reference to older specimens in the
Museums and Palaces of his country, he is far better acquainted with what
may be called the traditions of his craft than his English brother. To
him the styles of François Premier, of Henri Deux, and the "three Louis"
are "classic," and in the beautiful chasing and finishing of the mounts
with which the French _bronziste_ ornaments the best _meubles de luxe_, it
is almost impossible to surpass his best efforts, provided the requisite
price be paid; but these amounts are, in many cases, so considerable
as hardly to be credible to those who have but little knowledge of the
subject. As a simple instance, the "copy" of the "Bureau du Louvre"
(described in Chapter vi.) in the Hertford House collection, cost the late
Sir Richard Wallace a sum of £4,000.


As, however, in France, and in countries which import French furniture,
there are many who desire to obtain the effect of this beautiful but
expensive furniture, but are unable to spend several thousand pounds in
the decoration of a single room. To meet this demand, the industrious
and ingenious Frenchman manufactures vast quantities of furniture which
affects, without attaining, the merits of the better made and more highly
finished articles.

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

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 being
labelled with the name of the designer and maker.

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

In conclusion, it seems evident that, with all the faults and shortcomings
of the latter part of the nineteenth century--and no doubt they were many,
both of commission and of omission--still, speaking generally, there
was no lack of men with ability to design, and no want of well trained
patient craftsmen to produce, furniture which would equal the finest
examples of the Renaissance and Jacobean periods. With the improved means
of inter-communication between England and her Colonies, and with the
chief industrial centres of Europe united for the purposes of commerce,
the whole civilised world is, as it were, one kingdom: merchants and
manufacturers can select the best and most suitable materials, can obtain
photographs or drawings of the most distant examples, or copies of the
most expensive designs, while the public Art Libraries of London, and
Paris, contain valuable works of reference, which are easily accessible
to the student or to the workman. It is very pleasant to bear testimony
to the courtesy and assistance which the student or workman 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 he 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_."[28] It is often forgotten that the price paid is that of the lives
and health of the workers and their families.

       *       *       *       *       *

A point has now been reached at which our task must be brought to its
natural conclusion: for although many collectors and others interested in
the subject, have invited the writer's attention to numerous descriptions
and examples, from an examination of which much information could, without
doubt, be obtained, still, the exigencies of a busy life, and the limits
of a single volume of moderate dimensions, forbid the attempt to add to a
story which, it is feared, may perhaps have already overtaxed the reader's

As has already been suggested in the preface, this book is not intended
to be a guide to "_collecting_," or "_furnishing_"; nevertheless, it
is possible that, in the course of recording some of the changes which
have taken place in designs and fashions, and of bringing into notice,
here and there, the opinions of those who have thought and written upon
the subject, some indirect assistance may have been given in both these
directions. If this should be the case, and if an increased interest
has been thereby excited in the surroundings of the Home, or in some of
those Art collections--the work of by-gone years--which form part of our
National property, the writer's aim and object will have been attained,
and his humble efforts amply rewarded.]



[Footnote 23: The present firm is Radley, Robson and Mackay.]

[Footnote 24: This Collection, now better known as the Wallace Collection,
has been bequeathed to the Nation.]

[Footnote 25: Miss Rowe, who has made some valuable contributions to the
literature of Woodwork, has written hand-books for young woodcarvers,
which are published under the sanction of the South Kensington

[Footnote 26: Essay by Mr. Edward S. Prior, "Of Furniture and the Room."]

[Footnote 27: Published in 1868, when the craze for novelties was at its

[Footnote 28: Essay on "Decorated Furniture," by J. H. Pollen.]


    The following List of the Names of some Artists and Manufacturers of
    past times, in alphabetical order, will be useful for reference. The
    Author is indebted to Mr. J. Hungerford Pollen for some additions to
    his list in "Ancient and Modern Furniture." (published in 1874). The
    names of existing firms are not included, partly on account of the
    large number who might fairly claim a place amongst the makers of
    furniture of the present time, and partly because any selection of
    names by a contemporary would appear to be invidious and arbitrary:--

    Names of Artists or  |   Country and time in   |      Remarks and
      Manufacturers.     |    which they worked.   |      References.
            A            |                         |
                         |                         |
  Adam, J. (and R.)      | England      1728-1792  | Chapter vii.
  Agnolo, B. d'          | Italy        1460-1563  | Architect who designed
                         |                         |   much intarsia work,
                         |                         |   also carved church
                         |                         |   work.
  Agnolo, D. d'          |   "       16th century  | Son of above.
  Agnolo, J. d'          |   "         "     "     | Ditto.
  Ambrogio, G.           |   "       17th    "     |
  Annoot, ----           | England   19th    "     | Chapter ix., p. 235
                         |                         |   (French style).
  Ards, W.               | Flanders  15th    "     | Executed carvings in
                         |                         |   the roof of Hotel
                         |                         |   de Ville, Malines.
  Armand, Jean           | France     18th    "    | Marquetry.
  Asinelis, A.           | Italy      16th    "    |
  Aubiche, Jacques d'    | France     18th    "    | Faubourg, Ste.
                         |                         |     Antoine.
            B            |                         |
                         |                         |
  Bachelier, ----        | France     16th century |
  Baerze, J. de          | Flanders   14th    "    | Carved figure work,
                         |                         |   preserved in
                         |                         |   Museum of Dijon.
  Baker, ----            | England    18th    "    | Flower painter.
  Balthazar, Lieutand    | France       "     "    |
  Barili, A.             | Italy      16th    "    | Carved woodwork for
                         |                         |  Cathedral of Siena.
  Barili, G. (Florence)  |   "          "     "    | Carved doors in the
                         |                         |   Vatican.
  Barili, S.             |   "          "     "    | Carved work for
                         |                         |   Cathedral of Siena.
  Barry, Sir Charles     | England    19th    "    |Chapter viii., woodwork
    (architect)          |                         |   of Houses of
                         |                         |   Parliament.
  Baumgartner, U.        | Germany    17th century   Made the celebrated
                         |                             Pomeranian Art
                         |                             Cabinet in Berlin
                         |                             Museum.
  Beaugreant, G. de      | Flanders   16th    "      One of the designers
                         |                             of the
                         |                             chimney-piece at
                         |                             Bruges, see p. 63.
  Beck, S.               | Germany      "     "
  Belli, A. A.           | Italy        "     "
  Belli, G.              |   "          "     "
  Beneman, G.            | France     18th    "      "Maitre ébeniste"
                         |                             in 1785, worked
                         |                             at Fontainebleau.
  Berain, J.             |   "           1636-1711   Chapter vi.,
                         |                             designed for
                         |                             Boule.
  Bergamo, D. da         | Italy         1490-1550   Intarsia work in
                         |                             Church of S.
                         |                             Dominic in
                         |                             Bologno.
  Bergamo, S. da         |   "        16th century   Brother and
                         |                             assistant.
  Bernardo, ----         |   "          "     "
  Berruguete, ----       | Spain         1480-1561   Chapter iii.
                         |                             (Spanish
                         |                             section),
                         |                             pupil of M.
                         |                             Angelo.
  Bertolina, B. J.       | Italy      16th century
  Beyaert, J.            | Flanders   15th    "      Carvings in roof
                         |                             of Salle de
                         |                             Marriage, Hotel
                         |                             de Ville,
                         |                             Louvain.
  Binson, Andrieu de     | France     18th    "      Furniture and
                         |                             carriage
                         |                             decorator,
                         |                             worked in 1736.
  Blake, S.              | England    19th    "        Marqueterie
                         |                             furniture
                         |                             (French style),
                         |                             p. 235.
  Blondeel, L.           | Flanders      1495-1560   Designed the
                         |                             chimney-piece
                         |                             at Bruges, see
                         |                             p. 63.
  Bolgié, G.             | Italy      18th century
  Bonzanigo, G. M.       |   "          "     "
  Borello, F.            |   "        16th    "
  Borgona, F. de         | Spain        "     "
  Botto, B.              | Italy        "     "      Famous wood
                         |                             carver.
  Botto, G. B.           |   "          "     "
  Botto, P.              |   "          "     "
  Botto, S. A.           |   "          "     "
  Boulle, A. C.          | France        1642-1732   Chapter vi.
    (generally spelt     |
    "Boule")             |
  Boulle, P.             |   "        17th century   Born 1619,
                         |                             premier
                         |                             _ébeniste_ to
                         |                             Louis XIII.
  Bourdin, M.            |   "        16th    "      Chapter iii.,
                         |                             pp. 60, 63.
  Brandri, ----          |   "        17th    "      An Italian,
                         |                             worked with
                         |                             Goletti at
                         |                             "Pietra Dura"
                         |                             under Colbert.
  Brescia, R. da         | Italy      16th    "
  Bross, ---- de         | France     17th    "
  Bruggeman, H.          | Germany    15th    "      Carver.
  Bruhl, A. Flanders     |           16th and 17th   Carved stalls of
                         |                centuries    San Giorgio
                         |                             Maggiore in
                         |                             Venice.
  Brunelleschi, F.       | Italy         1377-1446
  Brustolone, A.         |   "           1670-1732
  Buontalenti, B. T.     |   "        16th century
  Burb, ----             | France     18th century   Said to have worked
                         |                             for M. de
                         |                             Pompadour
                         |                             (Vernis Martin
                         |                             style).
        C                |
  Caffieri, Ph.          | France    17th and 18th   Chap. vi. (worked
                         |              centuries      with Riesener)
                         |                             famous mounter.
  Campbell and Sons      | England    18th century   Chapter vii., p.
                         |                             198.
  Canabas, Joseph        | France       "     "      Made mechanical
                         |                             tables, Rue
                         |                             du fg. St.
                         |                             Antoine.
  Cano, A.               | Spain      17th    "
  Canavo, J. de.         | Italy      16th    "
  Canozii, C.            |   "          "     "      Executed intarsia
                         |                             work in S.
                         |                             Marco, Venice.
  Canozii, G. M.         |   "          "     "   }  Carvers of church
                         |                        }    decorative
  Canozii, L.            |   "          "     "   }    work.
  Capitsoldi, ----       | England    18th    "      Louis Seize style
                         |                             of furniture.
  Capo di Ferro,         | Italy      16th    "
    Brothers             |
  Carlin, E.             | France     18th    "      Stamped on table
                         |                             in Jones
                         |                             Collection.
  Carlin, Martin         |   "          "     "      Ebony with
                         |                             porcelain
                         |                             plaques, lac,
                         |                             and "Pietra
                         |                             Dura."
  Carlone, J.            | Italy        "     "
  Carnicero, A.          | Spain         1693-1756   Sculptor, carved
                         |                             in convent of
                         |                             Valladolid.
  Carter, ----           | England    18th century   Chapter vii.
    (architect)          |
  Castelli, Q.           | Italy      16th    "
  Cauner, ----           | France     18th    "      Chapter vii.
                         |                             (frames in Louis
                         |                             XV. style).
  Cauvet, G. P.          |   "           1731-1788
  Ceracci, G.            | England    18th century   Italian, modelled
                         |                             for R. Adam.
  Cervelliera, B. del    | Italy        "     "
  Chambers, Sir W.       | England       1726-1796   Chapter vii.,
                         |                             introduced
                         |                             Chinese style in
                         |                             furniture.
  Chippendale, T.        |   "        18th century   Chapter vii.
  Cipriani, G. B.        |   "          "     "      Chapter vii.,
                         |                             employed by
                         |                             Chambers and
                         |                             others to paint
                         |                             furniture.
  Claude, Charles S.     | France       "     "      Faubourg Ste.
                         |                             Antoine, 1752,
                         |                             good plain work
                         |                             with metal
                         |                             mounts.
  Claude, Lebesque       |   "          "     "      Worked in Paris,
                         |                             1771.
  Cleyn, F. R.           | England    17th    "      Worked for Charles
                         |                             II.
  Coech, P.              | Flanders   16th    "      Chapter iii., p.
                         |                             63.
  Coit, ----             | England    18th    "      Chaser of metal
                         |                             mounts.
  Collett, A.            |   "          "     "      Chapter vii.,
                         |                             carver.
  Collmann, L. W.        |   "        19th    "      Chapter viii., p.
                         |                             220.
  Copeland, ----         |   "        18th    "
  Cosson, J. L.  France  |   "          "            Stamped on the
                         |                             table in Jones
                         |                             Collection.
  Cotte, J. de           |   "          "     "
  Cotte, R. D.             France     1656-1735
  Cotton, C.               England 18th century
  Couet, L. Jaques         France     "   "           Rue de Bussy in 1774.
  Cramer, M. G.               "       "   "     }    Stamped on tables in
  Cressent, ----              "   "   "   "     }  Green Museum (Mainwaring
                                                }       Collection).


  Darly, Mathias               England    18th century   Chapter vii.,
                                                          p. 186, designer.
  David, ---- (see Roentgen)   France  "   "              Chapter vi.,
                                                            famous for
  Davy, R.                     England   1750-1794        Wood carving,
                                                                 p. 198.
  Dello Delli                  Italy 14th & 15th centuries
  Deloose, ----                France    18th century     Stamped on table
                                                           in Jones
  Delorme, ----                   "       "      "   }    Stamped on table
                                                              in Bethnal
  Denizot, ----                   "       "      "   }      Green Museum
                                                     }       Collection).
  Dolen, ---- van              Flanders    18th century   Carvings in
                                                            Church of S.
                                                          Gudule, Brussels.
  Donatello, ----              Italy          1380-1466
  Dorsient, A. C.; C. Oc.      Flanders    10th century   Signed on carved
                                                           door in South
                                                         Kensington Museum,
                                                            dated 1580.
  Dowbiggin, ----              England    18th and 19th   Chapter vii. and
                                             centuries    viii. (Gillow's
  Ducereau, A.                 France         1515-1518
  Dugar, E.                    Italy       16th century
  Dugourc                      France late 18th    "      Designed for
                                                            and others.
  Duplessis, ----                 "          "     "      Famous mounter
                                                            of furniture.
  Du Quefnoy, F. H. and J.     Flanders    17th    "


  Ellaume, Jean C.             France   18th century      Worked in Paris,
  Elliott, Charles             England   "     "          Chapter vii.,
                                                                   p. 198.
  Etienne, Avril               France                     Lived at the Rue
                                                             Charenton in
                                                            1774, good
                                                          plain work with
                                                            metal mounts.


  Faydherbe, L. (artist and    Flanders    1627-1694      Chapter iii.
  Feucheré, ---- (mounter)     France   18th century      Chapter vi.
  Flaxman, ----                England and                Chapter vii.
                                  Italy    "    "
  Filipo, D. di                Italy    16th    "
  Fitzcook, H.                 England  19th    "         Chapter viii.,
                                                            designed for
  Flörein, J.                  Flanders 15th    "
  Floris, C.                   Netherlands 16th "         Chapter iii.
  Flötner, P.            | Germany    16th century   Designs for
                         |                             furniture in
                         |                             the Berlin
                         |                             Museum.
  Forestier, ----        | France     18th    "      Mounter of
                         |                             mahogany
                         |                             furniture.
  Fourdinois, ----       |   "        19th    "      Chapters viii.
                         |                             and ix.,
                         |                             exhibited
                         |                             '51, '67.
  France, ----           | England    18th    "      Chapter vii.,
                         |                             p. 198.
  G                      |
  Gabler, M.             | Germany    17th century
  Gaine, ----            | France     18th    "
  Gallé, ----            | Holland    17th    "      Ebony, with metal
                         |                             and hard
                         |                             pebbles.
  Galletti, G.           | Italy      18th    "
  Gallieux, ----         | France       "     "      Stamped on tables
    (mounter)            |                             in Jones
                         |                             Collection.
  Garnier, P.            |   "          "     "      Stamped on table,
                         |                             and on
                         |                             marquetry
                         |                             encoignures in
                         |                             the Duke of
                         |                             Westminster's
                         |                             Collection.
  Genfer, M.             | Germany    17th    "
  Gervasius, ----        | England      "     "
  Gettich, P.            | Germany      "     "
  Geuser, M.             |   "          "     "
  Gheel, F. van          | Flanders   18th    "
  Gibbons, G.            | England    17th    "      Chapter iv.,
                         |                             worked for
                         |                             Charles II.
  Gillet, Louis          | France     18th    "      Worked in Paris,
                         |                             1776.
  Gillow, R.             | England   18th and 19th   Chapters vii.,
                         |             centuries       viii., ix.
  Giovanni, Fra          | Italy      16th century
  Glosencamp, H.         | Flanders     "     "      Chapter iii.
                         |                             (Bruges
                         |                             chimney-piece).
  Goletti, ----          | France     17th    "      "Pietra Dura,"
                         |                             worked under
                         |                             Colbert.
  Goujon, J.             |   "        16th    "      Sculptor, designed
                         |                             much furniture.
  Gouthière, P.          |   "        18th    "      Chapter vi., born
                         |                             1740, worked
                         |                             with Riesener,
                         |                             famous mounter.
  H                      |
  Habermann, ----        | France     18th century   Rococo or Pompadour
                         |                             style.
  Habert, ----           | Italy 16th to 17th  "     Stamped on examples
                         |                             in Hamilton
                         |                             Palace
                         |                             Collection.
  Haeghen, ---- van der  | Flanders   18th     "
  Heckinger, J.          | Germany    17th     "
  Hedom, J. B.           | France     18th     "
  Heinhofer, Ph.         |   "       16th and 17th   Designed the
                         |             centuries       celebrated
                         |                             Pomerian
                         |                             Art Cabinet
                         |                             in Berlin
                         |                             Museum.

  Helmont, --- van           Flanders   18th century      Carved pulpits in
                                                               St. John
                                                          Baptist, Cologne.
  Henrieux, ----             France      "      "         Famous mounter.
  Hepplewhite, A.            England     "      "         Chapter vii.
  Hernandez, G.              Spain      1586-1646.
  Herring, ----              England    19th century      Chapter viii.
  Holbein, ----                 " early 16th   "          Chapter (iii.)
                                                        (English section).
  Holthausen, H. J.          France     18th   "          Stamped on table
                                                              in Bethnal
                                                            Green Museum
  Holmes, W.                 England    19th   "          Chapter viii.
  Hool, J. B. van            Flanders   18th   "
  Hope, T. (architect)         "  early 19th   "          Chapter viii.,
                                                         classical style.
  Huet, ----                 France     18th   "
  Huygens -- (lacquer)       France & Holland             Chapter vi.
                                        17th century
  Hyman, F.                  England   18th century


  Ince, W.                   England    18th century      Chapter vii.,
                                                         with Chippendale.


  Jackson and Graham         England   19th century     Chapters viii. and
                                                        ix., exhibited '51.
  Jansen, G.                 France    18th    "          Stamped on table
                                                       in Jones Collection.
  John of St. Omer (Frenchman)    "      13th    "    Court painter & house
                                                          decorator to
                                                            Henry III.
  John of Padua                 "      15th    "          Chapter iii.,
                                                             employed by
                                                             Henry VIII.
  Johnson, T.                   "      18th    "          Chapter vii.,
                                                                 p. 198.
  Jones, Inigo (architect)      "  early 17th  "          Chapter iv.
  Juni, (J. D.)              Spain 16th and 17th


  Kampen, Lambert van        Germany   16th century     Carved the Chapter
                                                         House panels in
                                                        Münster, Westfalen.
  Kauffmann, A. (artist)     England   18th    "          Chapter vii.
                                                      (painted furniture).
  Kiskner, U.                Germany   17th    "
  Kraft, J. C. (architect)   England   18th    "          Chapter vii.
  Kuenlin, J.                Germany   17th    "


  Ladetto, F.                Italy     18th century
  Lalonde, ----              France     "      "         Furniture with
                                                            (Louis XVI.).
  Lardant, Jacques              "      16th    "          Chapter iii.,
                                                                 p. 60.

  Lathille, Pierre          France   18th century      Worked in Paris,
  Lawreans, ----            England  17th    "         Pupil of G. Gibbons
                                                         (chapter iv.)
  Le Brun, ---- (artist)    France     "     "        Chapter vi., designed
                                                           for Boule.
  Lecreux, N. A. J.         Flanders 1757-1836         Carved pulpits.
  Lelu, ----                France  18th century       Chapter vi., stamped
                                                           on specimen
                                                       in Jones Collection.
                                                         Worked for Madame
  Le Moyne                    "      1645-1718
  Leopardi, A.              Italy   1450-1525
  Le Pautre, J.             France   1617-1682
  Le Roux, J. B.              "   18th century         Chimney-pieces and
                                                         room decorations.
                                                          Worked in 1777.
  Levasseur, ----             "    "     "             Chapter vi.
  Lieutand, ----              "    "     "           Stamped on specimens
                                                            in collection
                                                      "National Mobilier,"
  Linnell, J.               England  18th  "         Furniture in
                                                        Chippendale style
  Lock, M.                    "      "    "          Chapter viii., carver
                                                             and gilder,
                                                      "Mobilier National,"
  Loir, A.                  France  1630-1713
  L'Orme, Ph. de              "    16th century
  Lunigia, A. da            Italy     "     "


  Macé, J.                  France 17th century      "Menuisier en ébéne,"
                                                        was lodged in the
                                                           Louvre to
                                                         work, in 1644.
  Claud, Isaac, Louis (?)
    sons of the above Macé
  Maffeis, P. di            Italy  15th   "
  Maggiolino, ----           "     18th   "            A Milanese cabinet
                                                          maker (marquetry
                                                        chests of drawers),
                                                         contemporary with
  Magister, O.               "   16th    "
  Majano, B. da              "   15th    "             Coffer maker to
                                                        Matthias Corvinus,
                                                         King of Hungary.
  Majano, G. da              "  1432-1490
  Manwaring, Robert         England 18th century      Chair maker (chap.
                                                          vii., p. 173).
  Magaritome, ----          Italy    1236-1313
  Marot, D.                 France 1650-1700?
  Marot, G.                  "    17th century
  Marot, J.                  "    1625-1679
  Martin, R.                 "    1706-1765         Chapter vi., introduced
  Martincourt, ----          "    18th century         Bronze chaser.
  Mayhew, ----              England   "     "          Chapter vii.,
                                                         with Chippendale.
  Meissonnier, J. A.        France   1693-1750         Introduced broken
                                                         curves and the
                                                            more rococo
                                                         style of Louis
                                                            XIV. to XV.
  Mendeler, G.               Germany      17th century
  Meulen, R. van der         Flanders     1645-1717        Carved
                                                        chimney-pieces (G.
                                                         Gibbon's style).
  Miglionné, Ferdinand      France       17th century   Invited to France
                                                            by Colbert.
  Filippo de
  Minore, G.                 Italy        15th    "
  Modena, P. da                "           "      "      Chair of S.
                                                          Francesco in
                                                           in 1486.
  Moenart, M.                Flanders     17th    "      Carved the stalls
                                                          in St. James',
  Monbro, ----               England      19th    "    Chapter ix., p. 233.
  Montepulciano, G. da       Italy        16th    "
  Morand, de Pont de Vaux    France                    Stamped on a clock
                                                             case at
                                                           with date 1706.
  Morant, ----               England      19th    "      Chapter viii.
  Moser, L.                  Germany      15th    "
  Müller, D.                    "         17th    "
  Müller, J.                    "           "     "


  Newrone, G. C.             Italy        16th century
  Nilson, ----               France       18th    "      Chapter vii.,
  Nys, L. de                 Flanders       "     "   }  Carved
                                                        confessionals, work
  Nys, P. de                    "           "     "   }    dated 1768.


  Oeben, Jean Francis        France       18th century   Chapter vi.,
                                                           stamped on
                                                            in Jones
                                                            Collection. In
                                                           1751 _ébenistes_
                                                              were bound to
                                                          stamp their work.
                                                           This Oeben died
                                                             in 1765.
  Oeben, Simon (probably        "           "     "      Called the
                                                         "inventor" of
  son of the above)                                        secretaires.
  Oost, P. van.              Flanders     14th    "
  Oppen, Oorde Jean          Holland and  18th    "


  Pacher, M.                 Germany      15th century
  Padova, Z. da              Italy        16th    "
  Pafrat, ----               France       18th    "      On tables in Jones
                                                      Collection at Bethnal
                                                            Green Museum.
  Panturmo, J. di            Italy        1492-1556
  Pardo, G.                  Spain        16th century
  Pareta, G. di              Italy          "    "
  Passe, C. de               France         "    "       Chapter iii.
  Passe, C. de, the younger     "           "    "       Chapter iii.
  Percier and Fontaine       France       18th and 19th  Chapter viii., p.
                                            centuries     205, Empire
  (architects)                                            furniture.
  Pergolesi, ---- (artist)    England      18th century  Chapter vii.,
                                                               employed by
                                                           Robert Adam.
  Perreal, J.                 France       15th    "
  Pettitt (otherwise Petit),     "         18th    "     Stamped on
                                                         specimens in Jones
    Nicholas                                               Collection and
                                                             in Bethnal
                                                           Green Museum,
  Philippon, A.               France       16th    "
  Picau, ----                    "         18th    "     Chapter vii.,
                                                          carver of frames
                                                         (Louis XV. style).
  Picq, J.                    Flanders     17th    "
  Piffetti, A. P.             Italy        1700-1777     Furnished Royal
                                                              Palace of
                                                          Tusin (Boule
  Pigalle, ----               England      18th century  French sculptor.
  Pillon, G.                  France  late 16th    "     Chapter iii.
  Pinodo, ----                Spain        18th    "     Signature on
                                                          painted cabinet
                                                         in Bethnal Green
  Pioniez, ----               France         "     "      Stamped on
                                                          secretaire in
                                                         Jones Collection.
  Plumier, P. D.              Flanders     1688-1721
  Poitou, Phillipe            France       18th century  "Ébeniste de
  Porfirio, B. di             Italy        16th    "
  Prignot, ----               England      19th    "     Designed for
                                                       Jackson and Graham.
  Puget, ----                 France       18th    "     Furniture and ship


  Quellin, A.                 Flanders     1609-1668
  Quellin, A., the younger       "         1625-1700
  Quellin, E.                    "         17th century


  Raephorst, B. van           Flanders     15th century  Carver of church
                                                           reredos in 1740.
  Ramello, F.                 Italy        16th    "
  Ranson, ----                France       18th    "
  Rasch, A.                   Flanders     15th    "     Chapter iii.
                                                          Chimney-piece in
                                                         Palais de Justice,
  Revitt, N. (architect)      England      18th    "     Chapter vii.
  Richardson, George             "           "     "     Chapter vii., p.
                                                            186. Designer
  Richter, C.                 France         "     "     Stamped on cabinet
                                                                 in the
                                                         Jones Collection.
  Riesener, ----                 "           "     "     Born 1730. Chapter
                                                            vi., _ébeniste_
                                                          to M. Antoinette,
                                                        came from Gladbeck,
                                                           near Cologne.
                                                           Died in 1806.
  Roentgen, D. (see also         "           "     "     Chapter vi.,
                                                          contemporary with
    David)                                                 Riesener. Was
                                                           living in 1780.
  Rogers, H.                  England      19th    "     Carved in boxwood,
                                                             Chapter viii.
  Rohan, J. de.                  "         16th    " }  "Maitre Menuisiers"
  Rohan, J. de.                  "           "     " }    of Lyons, 1548.
  Rosch, J.                   Germany      15th    "
  Rossi, P. de                Italy 15th & 16th centuries   Lady artist of
                                                           Bologna, carved
                                                           minute work on
                                                           peach stones.
  Rovezzano, B. da            England        16th century  Employed by
                                                          Cardinal Wolsey.
  Ruckera, Th.                Augsburg         "     "    Chapter iii.
                                                         (German section),
                                                            steel chair,
                                                          Longford Castle.


  Saint-Germain               France         18th century
  Saint Yues, Antoine de         "             "     "
  Salambier, ----                "           18th & 19th   Designed room
                                              centuries     decorations,
                                                          mirror frames,
  Sangher, J. de              Flanders       17th century
  Schelden, P. van der           "           16th    "
  Schwanhard, H.              Germany        17th    "     Invented the
                                                          "Wavy" mouldings
                                                           used in Dutch
                                                            and German
  Seddon, Thomas              England        19th    "   Chapter viii.,
                                                         with early Gillow.
  Seddon, Thomas & George        "             "     "    Chapter viii.,
                                                         furnished Windsor
    (sons of above)                                              Castle.
  Serlius, S.                 France         16th    "
  Servellino, G. del          Italy          15th    "
  Shearer, ----               England        18th    "        Chapter vii.
  Sheraton, Th.                  "             "     "        Chapter vii.
  Slocombe, P.                   "           19th    "     Chapter ix., p.
                                                            245, designer.
  Smet, R. de                 Flanders       16th    "     Chapter iii.
                                                         (Bruges chimney
  Smith, G.                   England        18th    "    Chapter viii.
                                                          (published book
                                                            of designs).
  Snell, ----                    "           19th    "
  Somer, Jacques              France         18th    "
  Stewart, Jas. (architect)   England          "     "     Chapter vii.
  Stobre, Laurent             France         17th    "
  Stockel, Joseph                "           18th    "      Worked at
  Stoss, V.                   Germany        1438-1533
  Street, Sir G., R. A,       England        19th century   The New Law
                                                           Courts (mediæval
  Swan, Abraham (architect)      "           18th    "       Chapter vii.
  Swerdficher, F.             France           "     "     Made the jewel
                                                             cabinet of
                                                          M. Antoinette,
                                                            now in the
                                                           "Garde Meuble."
  Syrlin, J.                  Germany        15th    "
  Syrlin, J., the younger         "          15th and 16th  Chap. iii.
                                               centuries    (choir stalls,
                                                             Ulm Cathedral,


  Taillebert, U.              Flanders       16th century
  Talbert, B. J. (architect)  England        19th    "        Chapter ix.
                                                                in Gothic
  Tasso, D.                   Italy     15th  & 16th centr's.}  Known as
                                                               wood carvers
  Tasso, G.                      "        "       "     "    } in Florence.
                                                                  from M.
  Tasso, G. B.                   "        "       "     "    } Angelo's
  Tasso, M. D.               Italy    15th century
  Tatham, C. H. (architect)  England  18th   "       Designed interior
                                                       &c., for the Duke
                                                            of York.
  Taurini, R.                Italy    16th   "       Pupil of A. Durer
                                                          (stalls of
                                                       Milan Cathedral).
  Thomas, ---- (architect)   England  18th   "       Chapter vii.
  Thomire, P. Ph. (mounter)  France   1751-1843      Museum of "Mobilier
  Tolfo, G.                  Italy    16th century
  Toms and Luscombe          England  19th    "      Chapter ix., p. 235
                                                     (French style).
  Topino, G.                 France   18th    "      On examples in Jones
  Toro, ----                    "     18th    "      Style of Boule (made
                                                           for Palace
                                                       of Versailles).
  Torrigiano, ----           England  1472-1522      Designed shrine of
                                                           Henry VII.
                                                     (Westminster Abbey).
  Toto, ----                    "     1331-1351
  Town and Emanuel              "     19th century   Chapter xi.,
                                                         pp. 233-5
                                                     (French style).
  Travers, R.                France   18th    "      Worked in Paris, 1774.
  Trevigi, G. da             England  1503-44        Court painter and
                                                       decorator to
                                                       Henry VIII.
  Triard, J. B.              France   18th century
  Tuart, ----                   "     18th    "      Lacquer work.


  Uccello, P.                Italy    1396-1479
  Ugliengo, C.                  "     18th century


  Vasson, ----               France   18th century   A Mounter, or
  Venasca, G. P.             Italy    18th    "
  Verbruggen, P.             Flanders 17th    "    Chapter iii.} Carved
                                                               } ornamental
  Verbruggen, P. the            "     1660-1724    Chapter iii.} Pulpit of
    younger                                                    }   College,
  Verhaegen, Th.                "     18th century   Carved work in several
                                                      Mechlin Churches.
  Vincenzo, Fra              Italy                     Worked at Verona
  Vion, ----                 France   18th century   A Mounter, or
  Voyers, ----               England  18th    "      Louis Seize style
                                                        of furniture.
  Vriesse, V. de             France   17th    "      Chapter iii.


  Waldron, ----              England  18th century   Originally carver,
                                                      afterwards actor.
  Walker, H.                    "     16th    "
  Watson, ----                  "     17th and 18th  Chapter iv., pupil
                                        centuries       of G. Gibbons.

  Webb, ----                    "     19th century   Chapter ix., p. 235.
  Wedgwood, Josiah        England         18th century  Chapter vii.,
                                                          introduced his
                                                          plaques for
  Weinkopf, W.            Germany         16th    "    Worked in Nuremberg,
                                                         temp. A. Durer.
  Wertheimer, S.          England         19th    "    Chapter ix., p 233.
  Wilkinson, ----            "              "     "    Chapter viii.
  Willemfens, L.          Flanders        1635-1702
  William the Florentine  England         13th century  Court painter and
                                                          house decorator
                                                            to Henry III.
  Wilton, J.              England         18th    "     Employed by Sir W.
  Wren, Sir C.               "  16th to 17th centuries    Chapter iv.
  Wright and Mansfield       "            19th century    Adams style
                                                           of furniture.


  Zabello, F.              Italy          16th century    Stalls in
                                                      Cathedral of Bergamo.
  Zorn, G.                 Germany        17th    "

  NOTE.--The Monogram "ME," branded on some of the old eighteenth
  century French cabinets, stands for "Menuisier Ébeniste," and
  generally accompanies the name or initials of the maker.


The following different kinds of wood are used in the manufacture of


    Black Ebony.
    Brazil Wood.
    Oak (various kinds).
    Satin Wood.
    Sandal Wood.
    Sweet Chestnut.
    Sweet Cedar.
    Tulip Wood.
    Zebra Wood.


    Cherry Tree.

Also some selections of Honduras mahogany when finely marked, and
different varieties of the Eucalyptus.

The most expensive of these are used in veneers; and in the more
ornamental and polychromatic marquetry, holly, horse chestnut, sycamore,
pear tree and plum tree are used, being woods easily stained.

Amongst some of the rarer and more beautifully marked woods, used in small
quantities, are the following:--

    Partridge Wood.
    Pheasant Wood.
    Purple Wood.
    Princes Wood.
    Yacca Wood.

TEAK is an extremely strong East India wood; there is also an African teak
(Sierra Leone), called African oak.

SHISHAM or BLACKWOOD (Dalbergia Sps) is a heavy close-grained wood, dark
brown in color, resembling ebony when polished, and is much used for
furniture in India.

SANDAL WOOD, TEAK, MANGO WOOD.--Sir George Birdwood, in "Indian Arts,"
gives a complete list of these Indian woods, with their botanical names
and other valuable information.

For a more complete list of the different woods used by cabinet makers,
the reader is referred to Mr. J. Hungerford Pollen's "Introduction to the
South Kensington Collection"; to many of these he has been able, after
much research, to give their botanical names, a task rendered somewhat
difficult owing to the popular name of the wood being derived from some
peculiar marking or colouring but giving no clue to its botanical status.
Amongst these are tulip wood, rose wood, king wood, pheasant wood,
partridge wood, and snake wood. It is worthy of remark that, whereas in
England the terms "king wood" and "tulip wood" represent the former, a
wood of rich dark reddish-brown color, or "purple madder," and the latter
one of a yellowish-red, prettily-streaked, in France these terms have
exactly the reverse equivalents. These were very favourite veneers in
the best French marqueterie furniture described in Chapter VI., and are
frequently found, the one as bordering to relieve the panel or drawer
front of the other.

In the Museum at Kew Gardens, and also in the Colonial Galleries of the
Imperial Institute, are excellent collections of many rare woods well
worth examination.

    _Some particulars of the different woods mentioned in the Bible,
    from which examples of Ancient Furniture were manufactured, and to
    which reference has been made in Chapter I._

    _These notes have been kindly supplied by Dr. Edward Clapton, whose
    collection of specimens of these scarce woods is of great interest._

SHITTIM WOOD is the wood of the Shittah tree, or Acacia Seyal. This spiny
tree especially abounded in the peninsula of Sinai and around the Dead
Sea, but was also found in various parts of Syria, Arabia, and Africa. In
the present day the shittah trees are very few and small, but in the time
of Moses there were forests of them, and of a size sufficient to form long
and wide planks. It is, as Jerome says, "a very strong wood of incredible
lightness and beauty," and, he adds, "it is not subject to decay." This
corresponds to the translation of the Hebrew term for shittim wood in
the Septuagint, which is "incorruptible wood." Though light, it is hard,
strong, and durable. As a proof of this, the Ark, and other furniture of
the Tabernacle, which were made of shittim wood, must have lasted for a
period of some 500 years before all traces of them were lost. Dean Stanley
remarks that the plural word shittim was given to the wood of the shittah
tree from the tangled thickets into which the stems of the trees expand.

ALMUG.--The wood of the Pterocarpus Santalinus, a large tree of the order
"Leguminosœ."--The wood is very hard, has a reddish color, and takes
a fine polish. It is a native of India and Ceylon, whence it was in
Solomon's time conveyed to Ophir, on the east coast of Africa, and from
Ophir to Palestine; "and the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from
Ophir, brought in great plenty of almug trees, and the king made of the
almug trees pillars for the house of the Lord, and for the king's house,
harps also and psalteries for singers." 1 _Kings_ x. 11, 12. Almug is
not the same as Algum, which grew on Lebanon with the cedar and fir. 2
_Chron._ ii. 8.

THYINE WOOD.--The wood of the Thuja Articulata, now named Callitris
Quadrivalvis, a tree of the cypress sub-order of coniferæ, from 20 to 30
feet high. It is a native of Algiers and the Atlas range of North Africa.
The wood is dark colored, hard, and fragrant, taking a fine polish; it
yields an odoriferous resin called Sanderach, which was much used by the
Romans for incense in the worship of their gods. Thyine takes its name
from "to burn incense." It was much prized by the ancient Greeks and
Romans, not only because it was considered sacred but also on account of
the beauty of the wood for various ornamental purposes. Pliny speaks of
the mania of his countrymen for ornaments made of this wood, and tells
us that when Roman ladies were upbraided by their husbands for their
extravagance in pearls, they retorted upon them for their excessive
fondness for tables made of thyine wood. So great a rage was there for
ornamental cabinet work in ancient Rome that Cicero had a table made of it
that cost £9,000. Ornaments made of this wood can be seen in the Museum at
Kew, presented by the late Jerome Napoleon. The ceiling and floor of the
celebrated Mosque of Cordova are of thyine wood, and it is also referred
to in the Bible.


GOBELINS, BEAUVAIS, AND AUBUSSON TAPESTRY.--The famous factory of Gobelins
originated in the establishment of some dye works in the Faubourg St.
Marcel of Paris, by two brothers, Gilles and Jean Gobelin, who had
introduced from Venice the art of dyeing scarlet; they also produced
some other excellent colors, and this enterprise--at first considered
foolish, and acquiring the name of _Folie Gobelin_--afterwards became
most successful. This was in the reign of François I.; they subsequently
added a tapestry factory to their dye works. Either in 1662 or in 1667,
as different authorities state, Colbert, who had succeeded Cardinal
Mazarin as Chief Adviser and Minister of Louis XIV., purchased the factory
from the Gobelin family, and reorganised the establishment as the Royal
Upholstery Works, employing the artists Lebrun, Berain, Simon Vouet, and
others, to furnish subjects for the cartoons, the former artist being
appointed Director of the Works. Since 1697 the manufacture of tapestry
only has been carried on, and the product of these celebrated looms has
become known as Gobelins tapestry. Previous to this time, however, namely,
1669, Colbert ordered the manufacture at Gobelins of what is termed the
"low warp" tapestry suitable for furniture--a branch of manufacture which
had been transferred to the State works of Beauvais, where the special
mode of making tapestry, suitable for the covering of chairs and sofas,
has since been carried on, the looms of Gobelins being more generally
employed to produce larger panels for hangings. The fine texture, the
brilliant colorings of the famous tapestry, are world famous; and enormous
sums are commanded by some of the older panels, the tints of which are
softened by age, while the condition remains good. Besides the tapestry
for furniture, sometimes made at Gobelins, and more generally at Beauvais,
a great deal has been produced by the looms at Aubusson, a factory said
to have been originated by the immigration of some Flemish workmen
into La March during the fourteenth century. Owing, however, to the
difficulty in obtaining good patterns and the quality of wool required,
their tapestry did not acquire a very high reputation. Colbert granted
these manufactories a Charter in 1669, and also gave them protection
against foreign rivals; and the looms of Aubusson became busy and their
proprietors prosperous. The productions of Gobelins and Beauvais being
monopolised by the Court, the works of Aubusson had to provide for the
more general requirements of the people, and, therefore, though good of
its kind, and occasionally excellent, this tapestry has never attained the
reputation of its more famous contemporaries. To those who would learn
more of Tapestry, its history, methods of production, and many instructive
details, the little South Kensington handbook, "Tapestry," is highly
commended; it was written for the Science and Art Department by M. Alfred
de Champeaux, and translated by Mrs. R. F. Sketchley.


WOOD GILDING.--The processes of applying gold to wood and to metal are
entirely different. In the former the gold, which has been supplied
to the gilder in extremely thin layers, generally placed between the
leaves of a little paper book to prevent them sticking together, is
transferred therefrom to the surface to be gilt, by a dexterous movement
of a flat gilder's camel's hair brush, or "tip," as it is termed, the
wood having been previously prepared by successive coatings of whitening
and thin glue, a thicker body of preparations being required for those
parts which are to be burnished. A great deal depends upon the care and
time bestowed on the preparation of the work, sometimes as many as ten
coatings being given to the wood, and these are successively rubbed down
with pumice stone and glass paper, care being taken not to lose the
sharpness of carved ornaments. This application of gold leaf is termed
mechanical gilding, and is used for gilt furniture, picture frames, or
other decorations. Within the last ten years the gold has been applied to
the more richly carved furniture in a powder. This preparation of gold
is very expensive, costing about £7 the ounce, and is only used for the
more costly chairs and couches, etc., generally of old French make, which
require re-gilding.

METAL GILDING.--The process of gilding metal which was practised by the
mounters of the fine old French furniture described in Chapter VI.,
consisted in applying to the "ormolu" an amalgam of gold and mercury;
the latter was evaporated by heat, and the gold remained firmly adhered
to the metal mount, and was afterwards colored as desired, a slightly
greenish tinge being effected by such masters as Caffieri, Gouthière,
and others. This kind of gilding requires a considerable quantity of the
precious metal to be used, and is therefore very costly, but is rich in
effect, and, under favourable conditions, permanent. It is, however, very
injurious to the workers, on account of the fumes of the mercury poisoning
the system; and it has generally been abandoned in favour of the much
quicker and far cheaper process of electro-gilding, by which an effect
can be produced by an infinitesimal coating of gold. The water gilding
process is still used to a moderate extent by the makers of the more
expensive reproductions of old furniture in Paris. There is a very cheap
and effective process of lacquering which sometimes is termed "gilding,"
used to give ormolu mounts the color of gold; this is done by applying a
solution of shellac and spirits of wine to the metal when heated, and,
as with water-gilding, the volatile spirit evaporates and leaves a thin
coating of the shellac, which may also be treated so as to have very much
the appearance of gold, to the inexperienced eye. It should be mentioned
that where mounts are gilt, it is usual to make the material more like the
color of gold than ordinary brass would be; this is done by the admixture
of a considerable amount of copper, the amalgam being generally termed

POLISHING.--The older method of polishing woodwork consisted in the
application of a mixture of turpentine and beeswax to the surface; this
would be repeated again and again, and then well rubbed down with a hard
brush, when a very durable polish was obtained. For flat surfaces, and
particularly for the tops of dining tables which were formerly uncovered
to show the wood, oil polishing was the fashion; this was effected by
rubbing the table-top with a heavy weight backwards and forwards, using
oil as a lubricant. Good housewives used to polish up their dining tables
very frequently. Oil polishing had the great advantage, too, of producing
a surface which hot plates did not easily mark. The cost, time, and
trouble, however, caused these older processes to be abandoned in favour
of "French" polishing, which is the application on a prepared surface
of shellac dissolved in methylated spirits, and often other ingredients
to give poor-looking wood a richer color. This polish is quicker, and
therefore, cheaper than the old-fashioned method. It has come into general
adoption since the Great Exhibition of 1851.


The Pianoforte is such an important article in the furniture of the
present time, that a few notes about its development, from a decorative
point of view, may be acceptable. In "Musical Instruments," one of the
South Kensington handbooks, Carl Engel traces the Pianoforte from the
"Clavicembalo," which he tells us, "was, in fact, nothing but a Cembalo
or Dulcimer, with a key board attached to it." Our present Grand Piano
was, however, more immediately a development of the Harpsichord[29] and
Spinet, which had succeeded the Virginal of the 16th century. These were
made of oblong shape and supported on stands, which were simply supports
for the instrument, and did not form a part of it as do the legs of a
modern "grand." In an original play bill, which is still preserved at
Messrs. Broadwoods', there is an announcement that at the Theatre Royal,
Covent Garden, on the 16th of May, 1767, at the end of Act I. (of the
Beggars' Opera), "Miss Brickler will sing a favourite song from 'Judith,'
accompanied by Mr. Dibden, on _a new Instrument, called Pianoforte_."

There is an illustration on p. 172 of a Harpsichord which is in the South
Kensington Museum, and in the same collection are others, varying in types
as instruments, and of different decorations. The one which belonged to
Handel is a good specimen of the decoration bestowed on these instruments.
Others of about the middle of the eighteenth century, were covered with a
coating of lacquer, like some of the furniture referred to in Chapter VI.,
the parts of the cases to be so decorated having been sent to China, and
returned when coated with the preparation, then only known to the Chinese,
but afterwards imitated in Europe. Some of these lacquered cases are very
beautiful, and those which were elaborately painted in the Vernis Martin
style, are finished with the care of cabinet pictures or miniatures. They
have, as a rule, the fine subject painting, or landscape, inside the lid
of the case, as in the illustration on p. 172, while the outside of the
case is decorated with arabesques of gold on a dark colored ground. Such
an Instrument was sold at the sale of Lord Lonsdale's furniture, a few
years ago, for some three hundred pounds.

The rectangular shape appears to have been partially abandoned for the
"Wing form," of which the modern "Grand" is a development, about the time
of Queen Anne, and was, in some cases, adapted to the Harpsichord of the
time. The earlier pianofortes were rectangular in form, with the idea
of preventing the unequal appearance produced by the bent treble side
of the Grand, and the writer has in his possession such an instrument,
without pedals, which bears the inscription:--"By Royal Patent. Longman
and Broderip, Musical Instrument makers, 13, Haymarket, and 26, Cheapside,
London." Collard and Collard are the successors of this firm, and still
retain the same premises in Cheapside. The oldest Broadwood _piano_, at
present on exhibition in Vienna, bears the name of "Schudi and Broadwood,"
with date 1780. It is square and without pedals.

Towards the end of the last century pianos were made to harmonize with
the Adam, Hepplewhite, and Sheraton furniture of the day, and some were
elaborately inlaid with small plaques of Wedgwood's Jasper ware.

There are also instruments in existence, and designs, which shew that as
the style of furniture changed during the time of the French Revolution,
and subsequently to the Classic Greek, the Piano followed the new fashion.
There is in St. James's Palace the instrument made by Broadwood for
the Princess Charlotte, who died early in the nineteenth century. This
is square in form, and is veneered with a single sheet of ivory, the
elephant's tusk having been first softened by acid, and then cut circular

In France, the older Harpsichord and the later Pianoforte have followed
the different styles which have affected the decorative furniture of that
country, and the same remark applies to the more limited productions of
such instruments in other countries.

During the period of had taste which prevailed in England thirty or forty
years ago, those who made and those who purchased pianos were content to
have either the instrument in the most ordinary and commonplace case of
mahogany, walnut, or the rosewood which about 1840 came into great favour,
or else the cases were designed in an extravagant fashion, and covered
with a superabundance of ornament, quite out of keeping with the use of a
musical instrument.

Two illustrations in Chapter IX., one of Broadwood's Grand, and the other
of an upright in Bottle's style of work, by Leistler, of Vienna, may be
taken as the most favourable examples of pinaoforte decorations at the
time of the 1851 Exhibition.

Latterly there has been amongst leading manufacturers, especially those
of our own country, a marked improvement, and the cases are made of rare
and carefully chosen woods, and the style adapted, in many instances to
the furniture of the room. Sir Alma Tadema designed cases in the Byzantine
style. Mr. Burne-Jones painted one with an elaborate design of figures and
scrolls; another with a shower of roses right across the sounding board,
and he also revived the old-fashioned trestle support, formerly used for
harpsichords. Mr. Waterhouse, R.A., Mr. John Birnie Philip, who executed
the podium of the Albert Memorial, Mr. T. G. Jackson, R.A., and others,
have also designed piano cases for friends and clients.

In the "Inventions" Exhibition, a few years since, there was a very good
opportunity of noticing the advance in design of the Pianoforte. In
nearly every instance the old fashioned fretwork front had been abandoned
for a painting or a marquetry panel. Some were enamelled white, and
relieved by gilding; others had a kind of gesso-work decoration, and the
different fashionable styles of furniture were reproduced with various
modifications. Amongst others, Kirkmans exhibited a grand and an upright
made from designs by Col. Edis, and Hopkinson a boudoir grand and some
small cottage pianos in satinwood and marquetry, and also in satinwood
painted in the old English style, and having silk panels in front with
copies of Bartolozzi prints. The designs were in the latter case made by
the author. Broadwoods, and other English firms, also produced special

Since this Exhibition, if there has not been improvement, there has been
endless variety, and the piano case is now designed and decorated to
please the taste of the most fastidious or the most eccentric.



[Footnote 29: The Harpsichord made for Frederick the Great, by
Burkardt-Tschudi, whose son-in-law was the first John Broadwood, was in
the style of German Renaissance.]


    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,                            146

    Adam, Robert and James,                      174, 175, 195, 227, 236

    Æstheticism,                                                239, 240

    Ahasuerus, Palace of,                                              2

    Alcock, Sir Rutherford, Collection of,                           131

    "American Sketches",                                             246

    Angelo, Michael,                                         48, 49, 169

    Anglo-Saxon Furniture,                                        24, 28

    Arabesque Ornament, origin of,                                   138

    Arabian Woodwork,                                            141-143

    Ark, reference to the,                                             1

    Armoires, mention of,                               61, 62, 147, 221

    Art Journal, the,             104, 111, 219, 222, 223, 224, 225, 231

    Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society,                         241, 258

    Aspinwall, of Grosvenor Street,                                  212

    Assyrian Furniture,                                             2, 3

    Aubusson Tapestry,                                          166, 264

    Audley End,                                                   77, 87

    Austrian Work,                                                   227

    Barbers' Company, Hall of the,                           96, 98, 181

    Baroque, the style,                                              216

    Barry, Sir Charles, R.A.,                                        217

    Beauvais Tapestry,                      151, 154, 155, 159, 166, 264

    Bedroom Furniture,                                               226

    Bedstead of Jeanne d'Albret,                                      60

    Bedstead in the Cluny Museum,                                     61

    Bellows, Italian,                                                 52

    Benjamin, Mr., referred to,                                 136, 138

    Berain, Charles, French artist,                                  146

    "Bergére (Chaise)",                                              159

    Bethnal Green Museum,                                  108, 133, 168

    Biblical references,                                            1, 2

    Birch, Dr., reference to,                                          8

    Birdwood, Sir George, referred to,                          135, 263

    Black, Mr. Adam, reference to,                                   198

    Bloomfield, Mr. Reginald T.,                                     242

    Boards and Trestles,                                        104, 105

    Boleyn, Anna, Chair to,                                           76

    Bombay Furniture,                                                133

    Bonuaffé, referred to,                                48, 55, 59, 70

    Boucher, artist,                                            154, 161

    Boudoir,                                                    150, 153

    Boole, André Charles,                                       146, 149

    Brackets, Wall,                                                   52

    British Museum, reference to specimens in the,
                                  1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 23, 26, 28

    Brittany Furniture,                                           62, 63

    Broadwood, Messrs,                                     231, 266, 267

    Bronze Mountings,             146, 158, 159, 162, 163, 179, 232, 265

    Bruges, Chimney-piece at,                                         63

    Bryan, Michael, referred to,                                      48

    Buffet, The,                                          43, 44, 50, 60

    Buffet,                                                          199

    Buffet, Old English,                                              44

    Buffet, Old French,                                               43

    Buffet, Old Flemish,                                              43

    Bureau du Roi,                                              159, 160

    Burges, Mr. W.,                                                  246

    Burleigh House,                                                   77

    Byzantine-Gothic, Discarded,                                      48

    Byzantine style,                                              18, 42

    "Cabinet Maker and Art Furnisher",                               246

    Caffieri, work of,                                158, 159, 179, 265

    Cairo Woodwork,                                                  139

    Canopied Seats,                                               37, 38

    Canterbury Cathedral,                                        32, 102

    Carpenters' Company,                                  84, 86, 95, 96

    Cashmere Work,                                                   135

    Cauner, French carver,                                           179

    Cellaret, The,                                                   200

    Cellini, B,                                                       49

    Chambers, Sir William, R.A.,                      125, 173, 176, 179

    Chair of Dagobert,                                                21

    Chairs of St. Peter,                                          19, 20

    Chairs, Canopied,                                             37, 38

    Chair, The Coronation,                                        30, 31

    Chair of Charles I.,                                        108, 109

    Chair, The Glastonbury,                                           78

    Chair, Jacobean style,                                           109

    Chair of Cromwell's Family,                                 109, 110

    Chairs become common,                                            104

    Chairs, German Gothic,                                            42

    "Chaise Bergére",                                                159

    Chardin, reference to,                                           161

    Charlemagne, reference to,                                    17, 21

    Charles I., reference to,                    103, 104, 105, 107, 109

    Charles II., reference to,                             110, 111, 112

    Charlton, Little,                                                 87

    Charterhouse, The,                                            81, 82

    Chaucer quoted,                                                  105

    Chimney-pieces,                                                   88

    Chippendale's Work,      125, 168, 173, 177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 182,
                                                                183, 200

    Chippendale's "Gentleman and Cabinetmaker's Director",       177-180

    Christianity, Influence of,                                       18

    Christie, Manson & Wood, Messrs,                            147, 151

       "        "       "     reference to old catalogues of,   220, 221

    Cicero's Tables,                                                  13

    Cipriani,                                                   174, 192

    Clapton, Dr, Edward, reference to,                                13

    Cleyn Francesco,                                       103, 104, 123

    Club Houses of London,                                      221, 222

    Cluny Museum, reference to,                                       61

    Colbert, Finance Minister,                                       146

    Collard's predecessors,                                          267

    Collinson & Lock,                                                220

    Collman, L. W., Work of,                                         220

    Constantinople, Capture of,                                       17

    Cope, Sir Walter,                                                103

    Cope Castle,                                                     103

    Coronation Chair, The,                                         30-32

    Correggio,                                                        49

    Couch, introduction of,                                          107

    Crace, Work of,                                                  212

    Crane, Mr. Walter,                                     241, 242, 246

    Cromwell referred to,                                       110, 111

    Crusades, Influence of the,                                       17

    Cutler, Mr. T.,                                                  246

    Cypselus of Corinth, Chest of,                                    11

    Dado, the, described,                                            216

    Dagobert Chair,                                               21, 22

    Dalburgia or Blackwood,                                          133

    Damascus, Room from a house in,                              139-141

    Davillier, Baron,                                                 69

    Dickens, Charles, referred to,                                   238

    "Dining Room," the, various definitions,                         200

    Divan, derivation of,                                            143

    Douthwaite, Mr. W. R., referred to,                               83

    Dowbiggin (Gillow's apprentice),                            194, 212

    Dryden quoted,                                                   199

    Dürer, A., referred to,                                           70

    D'Urbino Bramante,                                                48

    Du Sommerard referred to,                                         20

    Dutch Furniture,                                 61, 63-66, 170, 206

    Eagle House, Wimbledon,                                          104

    Eastlake, Mr. C., reference to,                    99, 100, 102, 245

    Edis, Col. Robert, referred to,                             245, 267

    Elgin and Kincardine, Earl of, Collection of,                    131

    Elizabethan Work,                                        67, 77, 102

    Empire Furniture,                                            203-215

    English Work,                                                     71

    Evelyn's Diary,                                                  112

    Exhibition, The Colonial,                                        133

         "      The Great (1851),           228, 229, 230, 231, 242, 246

         "      of, 1862,                                            235

         "      Retrospective of Lyons,                               61

         "      Inventions,                                          267

         "      The Stuart,                                          109

    Exhibitions, Local,                                              223

    Falké, Dr., reference to,                                11, 79, 204

    Faydherbe, Lucas,                                                 65

    Fitzcook, H., designer,                                          225

    Flaxman's Work,                                                  176

    Flemish Renaissance,                                          63, 66

    Flemish Work,                                                    226

    Florentine Mosaic Work,                                           50

    Folding Stool,                                                    29

    Fontainebleau, Chateau of,                                        58

    Fourdinois, Work of,                                        227, 236

    Fragonard, French artist, reference to,                          161

    Frames for pictures and mirrors,                                  79

    Franks, Mr. A. W.,                                                24

    Fretwork Ornament,                                               181

    "Furniture and Decoration",                                      246

    Gavard's, C., Work on Versailles,                                145

    German Work,                                                  70, 71

    Gesso Work,                                                       50

    Ghiberti, L.,                                                     49

    Gibbon, Dr., Story of,                                           195

    Gilding, Methods of,                                         50, 265

    Gillow, Richard, extending table patented by,                    193

      "        "     Work of,                                   208, 210

    Gillow's Records,                                                194

    Gillow's Work,                                              174, 237

    Giraud, M., Work by,                                              61

    Glastonbury Chair,                                                78

    Gobelins Tapestry,                      146, 151, 154, 159, 166, 264

    Godwin, Mr. E. W.,                                               246

    Godwin, Mr. G., referred to,                                  74, 76

    Goodrich Court,                                                   78

    Gore House, Exhibition at,                                       221

    Gothic Architecture,                                              30

    Gothic Work, French,                                          44, 46

      "     "    German,                                              42

      "     "    Chippendale's,                                      180

    Gough, Viscount, collection of,                                  131

    Gouthière, Pierre,                                     159, 164, 165

    "Grandfather" Clocks,                                          121-2

    Gray's Inn, Hall,                                                 83

    Greek Furniture,                                           9, 10, 11

    Greuze, reference to,                                            161

    Hall, Mr. S. C., referred to,                                    111

    Hamilton Palace Collection,   146, 147, 157, 158, 160, 163, 164, 165,

    Hampton Court Palace,                      72, 73, 79, 112, 113, 168

    Hardwick Hall,                                           77, 86, 181

    Harpsichord, the,                                 172, 231, 266, 267

    Harrison quoted,                                                  73

    Hatfield House,                                               77, 78

    Heaton, J. Aldham, Mr., referred to,                             202

    Hebrew Furniture,                                                  2

    Henri II., time of,                                               61

    Henri IV., style of Art in France,                                61

    Henry VIII.,                                              72, 73, 79

    Hepplewhite, Work of,                             184, 186, 191, 200

    Herculaneum and Pompeii, Discovery of,                           161

    Herbert's "Antiquities",                                          84

    Hertford House Collection,                                       247

    Holbein,                                                  72, 76, 79

    Hook, Theodore,                                             107, 108

    Holland House,                                    102, 103, 104, 123

    Holland, Lord,                                              102, 103

    Holland & Sons,                                             194, 212

    Holmes, W., designer,                                            225

    Home Arts and Industries Association,                            242

    Hope, Thomas, design by,                                         210

    Hopkinson's Pianos,                                              267

    Hotel de Bohéme,                                                  36

    Howard & Sons, firm of, founded,                                 212

    Ilchester, Lady, referred to,                                    103

    Ince, W., contemporary of Chippendale (Ince and Mayhew's Work),
                                                      183, 184, 187, 188

    Indian Furniture,                                           132, 136

    Indian Museum, The,                                    134, 135, 136

    Indo-Portuguese Furniture,                                  111, 112

    Intarsia Work, or Tarsia,                                     53, 70

    Inventories, Old,                                                 77

    Ireton, General, House of,                                       111

    Italian Carved Furniture,                              226, 227, 246

    Italian Renaissance,                                           48-57

    Jackson, Mr. T. G., A.R.A., referred to,           53, 104, 242, 246

    Jackson & Graham,                                                220

    Jacobean Furniture,                                          91, 240

    Jacquemart, M., reference to,                                     46

    Japan, The Revolution in,                                        130

    Japanese Joiner, The,                                            131

    Japanned Furniture,                                              192

    Jeanne d'Albret, Bedstead of,                                     60

    Jones, Inigo,                                                 92, 93

    Jones Collection, The,   133, 146, 147, 148, 151, 156, 158, 162, 165,
                                                      167, 170, 171, 172

    Kauffmann, Angelica,                                        174, 192

    Kensington, South, Museum, foundation of,                        237

        "         "       "    reference to specimens in the,     21, 22,
                                  41, 42, 44, 51, 52, 54, 56, 57, 61, 63,
                                  64, 65, 66, 75, 79, 80, 81, 95, 96, 98,
                                  110, 129, 131, 133, 136, 137, 139, 140,
                                  141, 142, 146, 158, 161, 162, 165, 167,
                                       170, 171, 172, 176, 199, 236, 237

    Khorsabad, reference to,                                     3, 4, 5

    King, H.M. the, Art Collection of,                               136

    Kirkman's Exhibit,                                               267

    Knife Cases,                                                     199

    Knole,                                                   79, 98, 102

    Lacquer Work, Chinese and Japanese,          129, 130, 131, 155, 156

       "     "    Indian,                                       135, 136

       "     "    Persian,                                           138

    Lacroix, Paul, reference to,                          21, 22, 37, 38

    Lancret, artist,                                            154, 161

    Layard, Sir Austen, reference to,                                  3

    Lebrun, artist,                                        146, 147, 149

    Leighton, Sir F., referred to,                                   240

    Leo X., Pope,                                                     49

    Lethaby, Mr. W. R.,                                              242

    Liechtenstein, Princess Marie,                                   103

    Linger, Sir Henry,                                                44

    Litchfield & Radclyffe,                                          235

    Livery Cupboards,                                             73, 78

    Longford Castle Collection,                                       70

    Longman & Broderip,                                              267

    Longleat,                                                     77, 97

    Louis XIII. Furniture,                                            61

    Louis XIV.,                                       147, 151, 167, 168

      "         death of,                                            161

    Louis XV.,                                                  152, 159

      "         death of,                                            152

    Louis XVI.,                                                  160-167

    Louvre, The,                                                      58

    Lucas, Seymour, Mr., A.R.A., referred to,                         44

    Lyon, Dr., quoted,                                             121-2

    Lytton, Lord, quoted,                                             28

    Macaulay, Lord, quoted,                                103, 112, 167

    Machine-made Furniture,                                     222, 238

    Madrid, French Furniture in,                                     168

    Magniac Collection,                                               52

    Mahogany, introduction of,                                       195

    Mansion House, the Furniture of,                                 214

    Manwaring, Robert, Work of,                                      183

    Marie Antoinette,                  146, 159, 160, 161, 163, 164, 172

    Marie Louise, Cabinet designed for,                              204

    Marqueterie,                          54, 61, 66, 150, 155, 237, 238

    Maskell, Mr., reference to,                              20, 53, 105

    Mayhew, J., contemporary of Chippendale,               183, 190, 191

    Medicis Family, Influence of the,                                 58

    Meyrick, S.,                                                      79

    Middle Temple Hall,                                           83, 84

    Miles and Edwards,                                               212

    Milton quoted,                                                   199

    Mirror Frame, Elizabethan,                                    78, 79

    Mirror, Mosaic,                                                  135

    Mirrors, introduction of,                                    79, 150

    "Mobilier National," Collection of,                 60, 61, 159, 163

    Modern fashion of Furnishing,                          244, 245, 246

    Mogul Empire, The,                                               132

    Monbro,                                                          232

    Morant's Furniture,                                              212

    Morris, Mr. W.,                                             240, 246

    Mounting of Furniture,                                            54

    Munich, Work and Exhibition of,                                  248

    Napoleon alluded to,                                        204, 206

    Nilson, French carver,                                           179

    Norman civilisation, influence of,                                28

    North Holland, Furniture of,                                      66

    Notes and Queries,                                               107

    Nineveh, Discoveries in,                                     3, 4, 5

    Oak Panelling (see Panelling)

    Oriental Conservatism,                                      139, 143

    Ottoman, derivation of,                                          142

    Oxford Museum,                                                   111

    Panelling (oak),                                 79, 80, 81, 89, 216

    Papier-Maché Work,                                               232

    Passe, C. de,                                                     65

    Paxton, Sir Joseph,                                              230

    Penshurst Place,                           32, 34, 87, 106, 111, 112

    Perkins, Mr. C., translator of "Kunst im Hause",                 204

    Persian Designs,                                             136-139

    Pianoforte, the,                                       231, 266, 267

    Picau, French carver,                                            179

    Pietra-dura introduced,                                           54

    Pindar, Sir Paul, House of,                                      109

    Pirdnesi,                                                        174

    Pollen, Mr. J. Hungerford, reference to,  12, 14, 18, 30, 31, 59, 76,
                                    80, 95, 134, 161, 199, 242, 244, 249

    Pompadour, Madame,                                               159

    Portuguese Work,                                                  69

    Prie Dieu Chair, the,                                         35, 58

    Prignot, Designs of,                                             220

    Prior, Mr. Edwards, Essay on Furniture,                     242, 244

    Pugin, Mr. A. W., work of,                             212, 217, 218

    Queen Anne Furniture,                                       239, 240

    Queen Victoria's Collection,                         57, 68, 69, 133

    Racinet's Work, "Le Costume Historique",                         132

    Radspieler of Munich (manufacturer),                             247

    Raffaelle, referred to,                                  48, 49, 169

    Raleigh, Sir W.,                                                  92

    Regency, Period of the, in France,                          152, 153

    Renaissance,                                     44, 48, 86, 87, 169

    Renaissance in England,                                        72-89

          "     "  France,                                         57-62

          "     "  Germany,                                        70-71

          "     "  Italy,                                          48-57

          "     "  The Netherlands,                                63-66

          "     "  Spain,                                          67-70

    Restoration, the,                                                111

    Revolution, the French,                                168, 203, 204

    Revival of Art in France,                                         58

    Ricardo, Mr. Halsey,                                        241, 242

    Rich, Sir Henry,                                                 103

    Richardson's "Studies",                                        70-78

    Riesener, Court Ebeniste,               159, 163, 164, 165, 167, 203

    Robinson, Mr. G. T., quoted,                           105, 108, 111

    Rococo Style, the,                                195, 216, 225, 226

    Rogers, Harry, Work of,                                     223, 224

    Roman Furniture,                                  12, 13, 14, 15, 16

    Rowe, Miss, and School of Woodcarving,                           242

    Ruskin, Mr., quoted,                               55, 239, 240, 241

    Russian Woodwork,                                                 23

    St. Augustine's Chair,                                            32

    St. Peter's Chairs,                                       18, 19, 20

    St. Peter's Church,                                               48

    St. Saviour's Chapel,                                             71

    Sallust, House of,                                                14

    Salting, Mr., Collection of,                                     131

    Salzburg, Bishop's Palace at,                                    168

    Sandringham House, referred to,                                  244

    Saracenic Art,                                           69, 139-143

    Sarto, Andrea del,                                                49

    Satinwood, introduction of,                                      174

    Saxe-Coburg, late Duke of, Art Collection of,                    131

    Scandinavian Woodwork,                              22, 23, 169, 170

    Science and Art Department, the,                                  96

    Scott, Sir Walter, reference to,                              24, 26

    Screens, Louis XV. period,                                       154

    Scrowled Chair,                                             107, 108

    Secret Drawers, etc., in Furniture,                              101

    Sedan Chair, the,                                                154

    Seddon, Thomas, and his Sons, Work of,                           210

    Serilly, Marquise de, Boudoir of,                                161

    Sêvres Porcelain, introduction of,                          158, 167

    Shakespeare's Chair,                                          87, 88

    Shakespeare, quoted,                               87, 103, 105, 107

    Shaw, Mr. Norman, R.A.,                                          246

    Shaw's "Ancient Furniture",                                  78, 112

    Sheraton, Thomas,                  192, 195, 197, 198, 207, 208, 210

    Shisham Wood,                                               135, 136

    Sideboard, reference to the,                 183, 192, 199, 200, 225

    Skinners' Company, The,                                          215

    Smith, Major-Gen. Murdoch, reference to,                    136, 141

    Smith, Mr. George, explorer, reference to,                      3, 4

    Smith, George, manufacturer,                           212, 213, 214

    Snell, Work of,                                                  210

    Soane Museum, The,                                               174

    Society of Arts, The,                                            217

    Society of Upholsterers and Cabinet Makers,                 182, 183

    Sofa, Derivation of,                                             142

    South Kensington. _See_ Kensington.

    Spanish Furniture,                                        67, 68, 69

    Speke Hall, Liverpool,                                            78

    Spitzer Collection, The,                                          61

    Spoon Cases,                                                     199

    Stationers' Hall,                                           106, 192

    Steam power applied to manufactures,                             222

    Stephens, Mr., referred to,                                       23

    Stockton House,                                                   87

    Stone, Mr. Marcus,                                               100

    "Strap Work",                                                    104

    Strawberry Hill Sale,                                       157, 219

    Street, Mr., R.A.,                                               246

    Strudwick, J., designer,                                         225

    Sydney, Sir Philip,                                               87

    Tabernacle, The,                                                   1

    Table "Dormant",                                                 105

      "   "Drawinge",                                                105

      "   Extending,                                                 193

      "   Folding,                                                   106

      "   Framed,                                                    105

      "   Kneehole,                                                  195

      "   Pier,                                                 192, 194

      "   Side,                                                      192

      "   Joined,                                                    105

      "   Standing,                                                  105

      "   Wine,                                                      201

    Tables and Trestles,                                        104, 105

    Tadema, Sir Alma, design by,                      210, 240, 246, 267

    Talbert's Designs,                                          237, 246

    Tapestry,                                              151, 154, 159

    Tarsia Work, or Intarsia,                                 53, 54, 70

    Tea Caddies,                                                     201

    Tea-poys,                                                        201

    Thackeray, quoted,                                            53, 81

    Theebaw, King, Bedstead of,                                      135

    Thyine Wood,                                                      13

    "Times" Newspaper, The, quoted,                                  172

    Titian,                                                           49

    Toms & Luscombe,                                                 233

    Town & Emanuel,                                             221, 233

    Trades Unionism,                                                 241

    Traditions, Loss of old,                                    240, 241

    Transition period,                                            43, 46

    Trianon, The,                                               145, 146

    Trollopes founded,                                               210

    "Tunbridge Wells" Work,                                          238

    Ulm, Cathedral of,                                            41, 42

    Urn Stands, The,                                       187, 200, 201

    Veneers,                                                    237, 238

    Venice, Importance of,                                            20

    Venice, referred to,                                         98, 226

    Verbruggens, The,                                                 65

    Vernis Martin,                                              156, 157

    Versailles, Palace of,                                      145, 146

    Victorian (early) Furniture,                                     216

    Vinci, L. da,                                                48, 169

    Viollet-le-Duc,                                                   58

    "Vitrine," The,                                                  151

    Vriesse, V. de,                                                   65

    Wallace, Sir Richard, Collection of,                             247

    Walpole, Horace,                                                 219

    Ware, Great Bed of,                                               87

    Waterhouse, Mr., R.A.,                                           246

    Watteau,                                                    146, 154

    Watts, artist, referred to,                                      103

    Webb, Mr. Stephen,                                          242, 246

    Webb, manufacturer,                                              235

    Wedgwood, Josiah,                                           176, 236

    Wertheimer, S.,                                                  233

    Westminster Abbey,                                        73, 97, 98

    Wilkinson, of Ludgate Hill,                                      212

    Williamson (Mobilier National),                              60, 163

    Woods used for Furniture,                                        263

    Wotton, Sir Henry, quoted,                                    91, 92

    Wren, Sir Christopher, referred to,                              112

    Wright, Mr., F.S.A., referred to,                                 26

    Wyatt, Sir Digby, Paper read by,                                  20

    York House, described in "The Art Journal",                 219, 220

    York Minster, Chair in,                                           32

       *       *       *       *       *

    |                  Transcriber notes:                            |
    |                                                                |
    | P. xi.  Chapter VIII. is on p. 203, not p. 201, changed.       |
    | P. 53.  Footnote 5: 'Maggoire' changed to 'Maggiore' as noted  |
    | in other edition.                                              |
    | P. 122. 'wallnut' changed to 'walnut.'                         |
    | P. 254. 'Green Musuem', changed 'Musuem. to 'Museum'.          |
    | P. 272. 'Sta ioners', changed to 'Stationers'.                 |

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