Furniture History, Vol.XXXIX (2003) P. 141-155.
In 1900 a writer in The Cabinet Maker complained ‘The public will have quaintness’. The term ‘quaint’ was commonly used to describe a style and type of furniture in Britain that was popular at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries. Today the term appears to have been largely forgotten and is seldom encountered. Quaint furniture represents an interesting example of the furniture trade adopting features from more fashionable work, exploiting them for a short period , and quickly rejecting them once the fashion had passed. This article will explore the origins of so-called Quaint furniture before addressing the influences that led to the creation and development of the style.
‘A Quaint Bedroom Suite’ as illustrated in The Cabinet Maker in December 1900. Quaint furniture at its most extreme. An ‘A’ frame base and inverted ‘A’ frame above it, a complete lack of vertical lines and right angles. Novelty for its own sake? There was not a great deal of this furniture manufactured, however elements of the design can be seen regularly in bedroom furniture from the turn of the century. What would the market make of this suite if it came to the market today?
Popular in the bedroom, this furniture was also designed for the dining room and drawing room. The particularly brave or fashionable furnisher could have furnished their entire house in this fashion. Unfortunately fashioned moved on after The Great War, and in the 1920’s these interiors will have looked rather dated.
‘A Quaint Suite for the Dining Room’ from The Cabinet Maker, August 1897
Furniture History, Vol. XXXIX (2003) p.141-155. This journal should be available from the Furniture History Society
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