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FURNISHINGS AND DECORATIVE ARTS

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Furniture design complements the building, imitates English prototypes, and has both high-style and vernacular variations. Forms and ornament are drawn from English Queen Anne, Early Georgian, and Chippendale modes. Queen Anne lasts longer in America because there is no subsequent Early Georgian development, so American styles are defined only as Queen Anne (1720–1790) and Chippendale (1750–1790). (Some American museums refer to Queen Anne as Late Baroque and Chippendale as Rococo, believing these terms to be more descriptive of the character of all decorative arts.)

Furniture types include arm and side chairs, easie or wing chairs, sofas, tables, secretaries, high chests of drawers (highboys), dressing tables (lowboys), tall case (grandfather or hall) clocks, firescreens, and beds. As in English homes, furniture arrangements in American homes support room function, with an emphasis on formality, customs, and harmony. Symmetry and integration with the architecture are important in the placement of tables and/or pier tables and looking glasses. 

 Materials. Walnut and imported mahogany are the principal woods for all types of furniture, but regional woods such as maple, cherry, and pine are good substitutes. Often, local woods are stained or painted in imitation of the more valuable walnut or mahogany to enhance their appearance. Japanning is fashionable in the early part of the century.

Seating. Queen Anne chairs follow English prototypes in a curving silhouette, solid splat, and cabriole legs. Feet may be pad, club, ball and claw, or trifids. Chippendale-style chairs feature lower and broader proportions, rectangular outlines, pierced splats, trapezoid seats, and cabriole legs. Chinese, Gothic, and Rococo ornament is common. Comfort is important, so arms curve and seats contour slightly to fit the body. Combinations of Queen Anne and Chippendale characteristics, such as a Chippendale form with a solid splat, are not uncommon in the colonies. Image

 Tables. Public rooms have numerous card and tea tables (Fig. 22-622-822-9), which line the walls when not in use. Card tables resemble English ones, and like them, have folding tops. Tea tables have rectangular or round tops, often with piecrust edges, and either legs or pedestals. Sideboard tables with marble tops are used for serving during meals. Dining tables made in several pieces are plain because they are covered with a cloth when in use. Dressing tables frequently match high chests of drawers.

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Written by callawayinteriordesign

June 1, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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