Georgian Furniture 1714 – 1800
During the very long reign of England’s three Kings, Georges, I, II, and III, from 1714 to 1800, there developed a style of furniture known as Georgian.
An Antique Chest of Drawers or any Georgian furniture are well designed pieces and are built to a very high standard. They are made using good quality woods such as mahogany and oak and the screws were made by hand.
As the British Empire expanded more and more, new and different woods were discovered and became available. One of the main changes to furniture fashions occurred during the reigns of George I and George II by the replacement of Walnut with Mahogany.
Early Georgian furniture was mainly of a simple design. Pieces like the cricket table, would have had a plain solid top and three simple turned legs. Hanging corner cabinets made from oak were popular and also simply designed oak settles and refectory tables. More elaborate pieces of furniture were constructed from walnut, for example, a chest on stand, sometimes had cabriole legs and ball and claw feet. Card tables also became popular using the same construction and style.
Some of the greatest furniture designers were around by Mid Georgian times. George Hepplewhite and Thomas Sheraton were well known cabinet makers both of whom made a huge impact on furniture design in the 18th century. There were also Robert Adam who introduced the “Greek” neo-classicism to Britain, and Thomas Chippendale, who promoted more French Rocco style.
There was widespread use of painting, light carving and marquetry, inlay and veneer by the late Georgian period. Mahogany was still the principal wood of choice for the cabinet makers, but satinwood was beginning to become popular.
How to date a Georgian piece of furniture by the construction and style.
The very early pieces may have used mortice-and-tenon joints which were held by pegs or dowels instead of using screws or glue, and the most common foot was the bracket foot. From the earliest Georgian times the most common method of construction was hand cut dovetail joints which were glued together. Clout nails which were hand cut were used for the backboards and sometimes hand made screws were used. Ebony and brass were more commonly used for decoration in the later Georgian period, as were banding with string inlay. The later pieces sometimes had an ogee bracket foot, and the most popular handles were the drop and swan neck.