Archive for May 2010 | Monthly archive page

A Short History of Sideboards by Graham Blackburn

Items deemed worthy of display in living rooms and parlors found a home in display cabinets, essentially more sophisticated versions of dressers, which had begun as low, table-height cupboards used for display in wealthy medieval halls. These dressers eventually acquired open shelving above to become the form now implied by the term. → Read more

United States Arts and Crafts

In the United States, the Arts and Crafts Movement took on a distinctively more bourgeois flavor. While the European movement tried to recreate the virtuous world of craft labor that was being destroyed by industrialization, Americans tried to establish a new source of virtue to replace heroic craft production: the tasteful middle-class home. They thought that the simple but refined aesthetics of Arts and Crafts decorative arts would ennoble the new experience of industrial consumerism, making individuals more rational and society more harmonious. In short, the American Arts and Crafts Movement was the aesthetic counterpart of its contemporary political movement: Progressivism. → Read more

History of the chair

The chair is of extreme antiquity, although for many centuries and indeed for thousands of years it was an article of state and dignity rather than an article of ordinary use. “The chair” is still extensively used as the emblem of authority in the British House of Commons and in public meetings. It was not, in fact, until the 16th century that it became common anywhere. The chest, the bench and the stool were until then the ordinary seats of everyday life, and the number of chairs which have survived from an earlier date is exceedingly limited; most of such examples are of ecclesiastical or seigniorial origin. Our knowledge of the chairs of remote antiquity is derived almost entirely from monuments, sculpture and paintings. A few actual examples exist in the British Museum, in the Egyptian museum at Cairo, and elsewhere. → Read more

Country French “Country French” furniture doesn’t refer to a period in French history but to a way of life. Drawing from many periods in French furniture design, particularly Louis XV, Louis XVI, Regence, Directoire and Louis Phillipe, country French furniture exemplifies relaxed sophisticated living. These designs are found in the country homes of France in Normandy, Provence and Bordeaux. You’ll find large farm tables with ladderback chairs, carved oak hutches, sideboards, and armoires all in various finishes. → Read more