How to recognise Queen Anne furniture

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Although Queen Anne’s reign ended in 1714 this style of furniture did not become popular until 1720 -1760, During her reign in 1702-1714  she introduced the custom of social drinking. This created a need for small movable furniture such as tables, chairs, couches and chaise longues.  This also created a demand for matching accessories such as china cabinets, desks, bookcases, secretaires and bedroom furniture. Also it was during this era that the first tilt top tea table was first made.


Queen Anne style furniture was light curvy and dainty which was a dramatic change from heavy masculine furniture of styles past. This has distinctive characteristics such as curved lines, feet, legs, arms, crest rails, pediments, restraint ornament (usually shell shaped), C-scrolls, S scrolls and Ogee (S-curve).
 
The most distinctive characteristic of this furniture is the cabriole legs. The wood of choice for Queen Anne furniture was walnut. However poplar, cherry and maple were also used. Queen Anne style furniture uses minimal ornamentation in contrast to earlier furniture styles.

 A good example of Queen Anne antique furniture is this English walnut secretaire.

 


This secretaire has numerous and ingenious secret drawers with small oak drawers concealed behind the uppermost row of pigeon holes (which slide forward to reveal the drawers behind). There is a concealed cushion fronted drawer just below the cornice that is oak lined and well fitted with a full oak lining.

 

The central door opens to reveal a set of three lovely drawers. The slide below reveals two more secret drawers, one on either side of the well.

 


The small second drawer to the right of the  cupboard retains the original inkwells and dividers. The lock to the fall is original and in working order with an early working key.

All of the drawers have a lovely featherband border which was an extremely costly detail at the time that is was made. There are no later timbers.

Orginally this piece would have had bun feet but due to changes in fashion these were replaced by bracket feet. Also the brass handles to the base drawers were from the Georgian period. Very well executed ogee waste and cornice mouldings, again with a lovely patina.
 
The colour is superb with a rich natural glow from years of use, wax and care. The drawers all retain their original oak linings  and open and close smoothly. The carcass is a combination of oak and pine covered with a very thickly cut and beautifully figured walnut with deep cross banded borders to the upper and lower side and lovely book matched veneers.

There is evidence of some very old shrinkage to the exterior face of the fall that is stable and not going anywhere. The fall is inset with black cut hide and rises and falls smoothly and properly resting on the original and hand forged iron hinges.

 


The piece of furniture is of small compact proportions. This beautiful piece of early walnut furniture will light up any room and is entirely practical for use in today’s wireless world having space for a laptop in the central well with a strong and flat writing surface at a height which will work with standard desk chair.

This piece is strongly recommended, a really stunning and rare example.

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