In antique furniture which dates back more than 100 years, there are various styles that you can find and if you know what to look out for, you can identify antiques from replicas and reproduction pieces. This will allow you to make an informed choice when going furniture shopping for antique pieces, or determine how much to pay for a piece of furniture that you think is antique.
Looking at how old a chair, wardrobe or desk is, you can look at the wood that was used, the type of joinery, the saw markings, the hidden pieces on the furniture, the carvings, the style, and the finishes. With some elements like the styling and decorative features, it can be harder to tell how old a piece is, as there are many reproduction pieces and design features that were used over many eras.
There are lots of styles that you can choose from and they all have distinguishing markings and features. Usually you will find pieces that are limited to the America Colonial and Traditional English periods at garage sales and in second hand shops, and in some hip boutique hotels like britannia hotel manchester or Andy Thorton. However, if you want to find the genuine Louis the XV chair you will have to go to a professional dealer or antiques fair (I suggest You to have a look here: What antique furniture .com) .
Looking at the styles you get, the older English pieces are categorized into Queen Anne, Georgian Chippendale, Georgian Adam, Georgian Hepplewhite, Late 18th Century, Georgian Sheraton, and Regency.
In the American Colonial styles you get the Early Colonial, Late Colonial, Federal, Pennsylvania Dutch, and the Shaker furniture. Here you will find more detail about what each style consists of:
Queen Anne – This style comes from the early 18th century, and is mainly made from walnut, cherry-wood, oak, mahogany, and maple. These pieces normally consist of lots of curves which are graceful and plenty of curved legs, there were no rungs or any kinds of stretchers used, and they were simple and elegant with not too much decoration.
Georgian Chippendale – This style dates back to the late 18th century, and was predominantly made from mahogany. They are a slight elaboration from the Queen Anne style with more ornate carvings and features, many of which were quite bold. Many themes were also used such as Chinese, Rococo, English, and Greek Classic. The chair backs were especially intricate.
Georgian Adam – Also dating to the late 18th century, and also using mainly mahogany, the Georgian Adam used slender lines and was influenced mainly by Greek Classical styles. As such, fluted columns were used frequently and delicate carvings were introduced, like the draped garlands which were a favored design.
Georgian Hepplewhite – This style is from the late 18th century, and uses mahogany and satinwood inlays or veneer. This style was based on the Adam, with tapered legs, and oval, heart, or shield shaped backs of chairs.
Georgian Sheraton – Also from the late 18th century, made from mahogany, this is similar to the Hepplewhite, only straighter lines were used and the Classic Greek influence saw lyre shaped chair backs.
Regency – Dating to the early 19th century, mahogany was favored and the designs were bold, simple, and more functional, with colors being used.
American Colonial stylesEarly Colonial
Dating to the 17th century, this style used maple, pine, birch, and walnut with heavy decorations and carvings. These were solid constructions and lots of square lines were used.
Late Colonial – From the 18th century, this style used mainly pine and mahogany, and the pieces were interpretations of the English Georgian and Queen Anne styles. One example is the Windsor Chair.
Federal – This dates to the early 19th century and used woods like mahogany and cherry. These were interpretations of the Georgian styles with some French influence and are heavier than the English styles. Examples are the Hitchcock Chari and the Boston rocker.
Pennsylvania Dutch – This style is from the late 17th century to mid-19th and used pine, maple, walnut, and fruit woods. They are plain Germanic styled pieces and are solid and usually painted colorfully with Germanic decorations.
Shaker – This dates from the late 18th century to the mid-19th century with pieces being made from pine and maple. They are very functional with no decoration but of excellent design and craftsmanship.