William and Mary
Arts and Craft
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Furniture Style Guide
The Furniture Style Guide describes and dates nineteen popular furniture styles and their
Click on a style name for detailed information.
English style of furniture, which is medieval in appearance with straight lines,
rigid designs, sturdy construction, ornate carvings and a dark finish. Much of
the early American furniture was patterned after this style.
Early American (1640-1700)
Rudimentary utilitarian furniture made from local woods. It was
brought from or modeled after European furniture styles, particularly from
England, France, the Netherlands, Scandinavia and Spain.
William and Mary (1690-1725)
after William and Mary of England (1689-1694). It has Dutch and Chinese influences
and is characterized by
trumpet turned legs terminating in a ball or Spanish foot, padded or caned chair
seats, and Oriental lacquer-work.
Queen Anne (1700-1755)
Named after Queen Anne of
England who reigned from 1702-1714. The Queen Anne style is a refinement of the
William and Mary style with a moderately proportioned, graceful appearance. It
is characterized by cabriole legs terminating in a pad or drake foot,
fiddle-back chair back, and bat wing shaped drawer pulls.
Combined the furniture style
characteristics of William and Mary, Queen Anne, and Chippendale. Colonial
furniture tended to be more conservative and less ornate than English and
European furniture of the same style period.
Named after George I and George
II who reigned England from 1714-1760. Georgian furniture is a more ornate
version of Queen Anne. It is characterized by heavier proportions, elaborately carved
cabriole legs terminating in a pad or ball-and-claw foot, ornate carvings, pierced back splats,
and the use of gilding.
Pennsylvania Dutch (1720-1830)
A simple, utilitarian
American country style of furniture with Germanic influences. It is
characterized by colorful folk painting on case pieces.
Named after British designer
and cabinet maker Thomas Chippendale, who published his furniture designs in "The
Gentleman and Cabinet Maker's Director" in 1754. The Chippendale style can
be classified into three types: French influence, Chinese influence, and Gothic
influence. In the United States, the Chippendale style was a more elaborate
development of the Queen Anne style with cabriole legs, ball-and-claw foot, and
broken pediment scroll top on tall case pieces.
Robert Adam (1760-1795)
Named for architect Robert
Adam who studied ancient architecture in Italy. While in England, he designed
furniture with classical details that would fit the character of his classically
designed homes. The Adam style was limitedly reproduced by cabinetmakers in the
United States. Adam interior millwork and woodwork was reproduced in South
Named after English designer
and cabinetmaker George Hepplewhite whose designs in "The Cabinet Maker and
Upholsterers Guide" were published posthumously in 1788. The Hepplewhite
style is neoclassic and was reproduced in the United States particularly in the
Carolinas, Maryland, New England, New York and Virginia. It is characterized by
a delicate appearance, tapered legs and the use of contrasting veneers and
Combined the neoclassic furniture
style characteristics of Hepplewhite and Sheraton. It is characterized by
graceful straight lines, light construction, tapered legs, and the use of inlay, and contrasting
Named for English designer
Thomas Sheraton who published his designs in "The Cabinet Makers and Upholsterers
Drawing Book" in 1791. It is a neoclassical style characterized by delicate
straight lines, light construction, contrasting veneers and neoclassical motifs and ornamentation.
The Sheraton style was the most reproduced style in the United States during the Federal period.
Duncan Phyfe (1795-1848)
American cabinetmaker Duncan Phyfe. The Duncan Phyfe style is considered by some
art historians as more of an adaptation and refinement of Adam, Sheraton,
Hepplewhite, and Empire than a style in itself. It is characterized by carved or
reeded legs and neoclassic motifs.
American Empire (1800-1840)
French Empire with classical influences. It is moderate in proportion with classical
ornamentation, coarse carving, and a dark finish.
A simple and utilitarian style
produced by the religious group, the United Society of Believers, in
self-contained communities within the United States. It is characterized by
straight tapered legs, woven square chair seats and mushroom shaped wooden
Named for Queen Victoria of England who reigned from 1837-1901. The Victorian
style draws its influence from gothic forms with heavy proportions, dark finish,
elaborate carving, and ornamentation. The Victorian period was the first
furniture style of mass production.
Arts and Craft (1880-1910)
The Arts and Craft is characterized by simple utilitarian design and construction.
Arts and Craft style furniture is also referred to as Mission.
Art Nouveau (1890-1910)
A naturalistic style characterized by intricately detailed patterns and curving lines.
Scandinavian Contemporary (1930-1950)
utilitarian design style in natural wood popularized by Danish and Swedish