What Do We Call It?

A mini guide to antique furniture

Victorian…..Art Deco……Edwardian…..WHAT?
Antique furniture is beautiful but sometimes even the experts can’t agree on what “period” or “style” a particular piece came from. I’m going to attempt to try and sort out some of the differences for you.

First – there’s the “period” that the furniture came from. Typically these are synonymous with the British ruler of that time. Therefore, the Edwardian period dates during the rule of King Edward VII;

1901 – 1910. The Victorian period was much longer, matching the reign of Queen Victoria, 1837 – 1901.

“Styles”, however, are quite different. During the long reign of Queen Victoria, we actually saw a few different styles. Early in her reign there was a resurgence of medieval style; in the mid to later years the style was what we typically think of as Victorian – ornately carved & ‘cluttered’. In the latter part of the Queen’s years we saw a leaning towards Art Nouveau.

The typical Victorian style of furniture was dark, very ornate & heavy. A “puffy” style of upholstery with gold coloured fabric. The furniture of the Edwardian period was lighter, more delicate and was influenced by many earlier styles, which can sometimes make it difficult to accurately identify. Fabrics were typically floral prints with light colours.

Art Nouveau (1900 – 1920) is a naturalistic style characterized by intricately detailed pattern and curved lines. Elaborate ornamentation and floral motifs are common here.

Art Deco (1925 – 1940) is the style of the Great Gatsby. High gloss finishes, glass and metal combinations, geometric shapes and bold patterns (think animal prints) were a way to shed the inhibitions indicating luxury and opulence.

Hope that clears up a little of the confusion antique furniture.


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