Furniture Designers in the 19th Century

The design and development of furniture over the centuries had been steady and predictable. It was largely influenced by the availability of materials, and the changing fashions of the eras. Armoires were designed for suits of armour, but later became wardrobes for clothing. Chairs lost their arms to accommodate wide skirts, and became upholstered and comfortable to fit in with the drawing rooms of fashionable ladies.
To quote William Cowper: Necessity invented stools, convenience next suggested elbow-chairs, and luxury the accomplish’d Sofa last.
The 18th century had been dominated by fine cabinetmakers such as Chippendale, Hepplewhite and Sheraton, and their craftsmanship and designs are still loved and admired today. However, more change was on the Metal Garden Art Wholesale horizon in the later part of the 19th century, with the Arts and Crafts movement, as it became known, which integrated craft traditions with mass production techniques aimed at the growing mass markets.
Thomas Hope (1769-1831)
Hope was born in Amsterdam, Holland, and was descended from a Scottish family of successful London merchants. At the age of 18 he began a tour of Europe, Asia and Africa which greatly affected his later artistic designs. His furniture was in the style of ‘English Empire’ which was defined by extravagant and heavy designs, and he became an exponent of the Regency style of decorative arts. Like his predecessors before him, he published a book of designs in 1807 called ‘Household Furniture and Interior Decoration’.
William Morris (1834-1896)
Morris is a well-known name today for his legacy of poetry writing and textiles. He introduced heavy floral patterns to the drawing rooms of the day, in glass, wallpaper, textiles, and also in furniture. Interior Design Ideas For Living Room He was associated with the Arts and Crafts movement of that time, and his decorative arts firm produced “The Green Drawing Room” which is on display today in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Gustav Stickley (1858-1942)
Stickley began his working life as a furniture maker and architect. He was an active member of the American Craftsman Movement, similar to the British Arts and Crafts movement. His house designs were innovative, with open floor plans, fitted bookcases and benches and large windows for natural light. He created his own style of furniture in the ‘Mission Oak Style’ which was made of American oak. He made simple, useful furniture. Sadly the popularity of his designs was short-lived and he declared himself bankrupt. Perversely, his styles are now in vogue, with his simple mission-style furniture reaching high prices at auction today.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928)
Charles Rennie Mackintosh is another household name in design today. He was primarily an architect and designer and a great exponent of Art Nouveau, but his progressive ideas spilled out into his furniture designs. Together with his wife, Mackintosh had a great influence on the changing styles from the Arts and Crafts movement to the radical mass-produced Art Nouveau styles of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

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