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Eastlake Style Furniture Evolved During the Victorian Era…..

Queen Victoria, victorian era,victorian era styles,victorian era furnishings

The Victorian era produced a cosmopolitan collection of furniture styles. Many of them were quite elaborate in design, and heavy. For instance, the Rococo style was imported from France. These 18th century pieces were no doubt graceful, but went a little overboard where asymmetry and ornamentation (heavy gilding) were concerned! The Renaissance Revival types (14th to 17th centuries) were also popular among the general public. Thus, people had a variety to choose from.

To give you an idea of the type of furniture that flourished during the Victorian era, the darkest-colored wood was utilized. Unlike earlier years when satinwood and light mahogany were in fashion, this was the time of reddish-tinged mahogany, black walnut, bog oak, and rosewood. In fact, even antique oak pieces were stained and polished to such an extent that they ended up with a rich shine! And this was not all. The designs themselves were ornate, consisting of carved decorations. Human figures, animals, exotic creatures, fruits, and flowers all stood out against contrasting backgrounds. But to the expert eye, these items appeared to be rather clumsy and ill-proportioned in design. Additionally, the pieces were quite heavy, some even going to the extent of being huge! Naturally, they were highly-priced. It is to be understood therefore, that many could not afford them.

It was at this time that Charles Lock Eastlake came up with his own style of furniture. He was an architect himself and a writer as well. He was tired of the Victorian fashions and decided to start a revolution concerning furniture! And that is how the Eastlake style furniture touched the heights of popularity from 1870 to 1890. Of course, he indicated the designs and other people created the furniture pieces. According to his thinking, anything that was created manually or by machine turned out so much better when the worker put all his passion into his work. Homes were meant to have this type of décor, not the ornate styles which suited museums better. In fact, he even wrote a book on his musings. The book brought about a gradual change in the thinking of U.S. manufacturers.

Now, how does Eastlake furniture differ from Victorian pieces? Though a novice would find the designs a little complicated to follow, he/she would still relish the thought of easy maintenance. For the spindles, geometric ornaments, incised lines and low relief carvings result in items that are easy to clean. The elaborate curves, carvings that stood out in relief, and classical elements that were so much a part of the Victorian era have been dispensed with.

A typical Eastlake style furniture piece would exhibit modest curves, geometric patterns, lightly-incised carvings, and emphasis of wood grains via oak and cherry. The icing on this cake is that this furniture is reasonably priced!


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