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Studio: international art — 1.1893

DOI issue:
No. 1 (April, 1893)
DOI article:
A history of furniture
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A History of Furniture

AHISTORY OF FURNITURE.* i^ences, help to extend a demand for average
ather than unique work. Yet we have no right to
A century ago the author of such a quarrel with an author for choosing his own point
work as this would probably have en- of view, and while awaiting a book that shall present
titled it " Contributions towards a —if it be possible to do so—the common furniture
History of Furniture," or in some way expressed of every period, it is pleasant to find gathered to-
the limits which Mr. Litchfield in a notably day so many typical examples of the more ornate
modest preface has recognised.. For the subject is products of many ages. The first impression of
too vast for any one volume to exhaust; yet as to such a book is apt to be—that the taste of past
do it full justice would require many thousands of times is greatly overrated but that may be owing
illustrations, we can in part to the fact that

but be grateful for this ^^jj^gjgg^^^z .,|t;1 isolated examples are

hand-book, which is - .jt''v apt to assume a certain

valuable as a standard ^jff^ ^l' ^\ arrogant importance

by no means inade- ■'—~—<S-------- J ■ ^ parent if we saw them

quate as a rapid survey — 3 ^ifvV ' - rrt pfc*\ " w'th the surroundings

of the huge period it l^f " /[u^maK^ \ i °f tlle'r own Period-

covers.^ The illustra- \^T^^^^^^^^m T* It is even possible that

chosen from all sons 1^ ^^iP—/fji / ject the Slate chair

of sources, and have a —~"~LjjsT from the 1S51 Kxhihi-

tendency, ... '^S^^Osi W^~~J tion (page 235), might

of their class, to re- \ .91 Ra^ufBj. ifffMf^Bf %/ • ,)e comparatively un-

present not so much h EL^T Tsff obtrusive with the

the common average '"^^^g^^^ "^^^^S^l^w"----- hangings and carpets

special pieces which | ^^^^^^^^^^^^^.'^^^^^ ' Parlt <)f its original

scum" specimens. To • wp'^^M^^^T "^\rlf *f Whatever the short-
one deeply interested ; 3L^Mpfc^5555^^3jC- mb comings of 1893, it is

in the domestic arts. i MMtr^ __;^'*;:JC# with a shudder of relief

the common articles • rTT^is^. (H^W^t _ "\ that one thinks of Tot-
used in ordinary house- ' ^^^^g^^^^^^^^^^^yr tenham Court Road at

tractive than gorgeous " , - ------------^^^LJPFL - decorative orgies of

master-pieces made for ~ V ..>.. Y-- 1851. Not that all the

special purposes. Yet theodore hooks chair work °f that vicious

one must not too (From Litchfield's " History of Furniture") period — vicious be-

hastily assume that cause it professed an

some of the most elaborate specimens were com- earnest desire for art, and produced mere extrava-
missioned for palaces or mansions. The pride of gance—was either poor design or bad craft. But
the craftsman in his art, has before now led him most of its important pieces, even those included
to expend his most prolonged labour on articles in this volume, are examples of everything to avoid,
for his own home. When furniture was handed and so far as personal experience goes, the average
down as an heirloom, and the tenants succeeded furniture of the dwelling was distinctly feeble. Even
each other under the same roof—a special chest, the plainer pieces, which because they have less bad
or armoire, was held worthy the expenditure decoration are therefore so much better, show, little
of much skill. Now our migratory habits, the appreciation of beautiful proportions, of fit and
separate household which each newly-married pair straightforward joinery, or of elegant line; but are
deem the first essential, and a thousand other bent on displaying their cost, and using as much

polish and ornament as the price will allow, rather

•"Illustrated History of Furniture." By Frederick .1 •_• r i-v* r= j j.v. c 1

„ . j , ' , , than aiming for utility first, and then for as much



Litchfield. Second Edition. London: Truslove and

Shirley." beauty as can be preserved without sacrificing