Furniture

Games tables

Thumbnail image for Games tables

This table is a fine example of the 18th century fashion for specialised furniture designed to suit particular interests and hobbies. It’s beautifully crafted by a skilled cabinet-maker for a client with plenty of money. Look at the inlay work in the games boards, the edgings, the pairs of dice – and all over. Set […]

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Card tables and a social life

antique card table

Many finely-crafted card tables were made in the 1700s and 1800s. The social lives of prosperous families in America, Britain, and other parts of Europe depended on having a card table, or two, for friends to play at in the evening. Before 1700, card-playing was popular with very rich people, and less so with people […]

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Tiled stoves, winter warmth

glazed tile stove

Tiled stoves were a wonderful way of heating homes in Northern Europe. I’ve often wondered why the British never used them. The settlers in North America hardly used them either, even in regions with bitter cold winters. At first they seem to have followed the British idea of having a fire to warm yourself by, […]

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18th century American kitchen

early American kitchen

This model of an 18th century kitchen in New England should appeal to people who like historic kitchens, and to people who like doll’s houses. There are lots of “authentic” things in it, and care was taken with historical details. The room is interesting and charming even though it may not be 100% realistic, but […]

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Box beds, bunk beds – upstairs, downstairs

Lit clos double Brittany

I’ve written about box beds before, and about the Breton tradition of fine, substantial, and wonderfully carved box beds (lits clos or enclosed beds).  At the time I didn’t know about another, more recent, tradition from about 100 years ago: pictures of comic scenes staged around Britanny’s most famous furniture. The double-decker beds (double lit […]

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Early American candlestands: light at the right height

Threaded candlestand adjustable

When you’re working by candlelight you want as much light on your sewing or reading as possible, but you don’t want to waste candlewax or tallow. It helps if you can raise or lower the light to suit the task, or to allow for the candle getting shorter. Colonial Americans and their descendants left behind […]

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Rocking cradles – wood or wicker

wicker rocking cradle

Cradle designs have changed, but are parents’ concerns any different? 200 years ago people were writing about the well-known dilemma: how much can I let my baby sleep in the day without stopping it from sleeping well at night? It only remains…to say something of the cradle…I believe there is no doubt but the custom […]

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Victorian nursery furniture

antique rocking cradle

Parents planning for a new baby in the 19th century felt some of the same pressures as parents today. From one direction came the voices of “experts” offering advice on safety, health, and hygiene. At the same time magazine writers and furniture salesmen talked up the fun of choosing pretty, fashionable furnishings for a baby’s […]

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Antique work tables for sewing and crafts

Victorian needlework table

Before the 18th century ladies used to keep their needlework projects in a work-basket or bag. Then furniture designers started to create elegant little tables for the drawing room with a silk work-bag or box-holder hanging beneath. You have only to look at one to understand why Sheraton, the famous cabinet-maker, called his designs pouch […]

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History of wing chairs

wing chair queen anne

Wing chairs are sometimes called fireside chairs, and for good reason. Their design is perfect for enjoying the warmth of a fire while your back and sides are protected from chilly draughts. These chairs were not the earliest furniture to use this approach to keeping warm. Wings were also used on some of the high-backed […]

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