When on the hunt for antique furniture it pays to educate yourself on the periods, styles, and names of the pieces you are looking for. If you are looking for an antique French armchair, this would be a Fauteuil, which means it is upholstered with open sides. If a Fauteuil armchair has cabriole legs and fine floral carvings on the arms this would indicate that it dates from the 1730s. This style of furniture was produced in the Rococo period which is also referred to as La Baroque. French antiques are distinguished by their elaborate workmanship and quality materials that were used in crafting the furniture. For this reason they are sold at higher prices. By knowing your style and period of antique you will know its worth.
During the Colonial period from 1750-1780, America produced a traditional classic style of Chippendale furnishings. Chippendale was named after London cabinet maker Thomas Chippendale and his work. The American style Chippendale cabriole legs were more elaborate then the English style. In America the most renowned crafters of the Chippendale style were the Quakers for their outstanding quality workmanship and the number of generations who made furniture. The wood of choice for Chippendale was Mahogany but for a less costly piece of furniture Maple, Walnut and Cherry wood were also used. When looking for an antique Chippendale piece to make sure it is a genuine piece of furniture, check the workmanship. This will include looking for handmade nails, planing and sawing by hand. Also check for wood shrinkage. In addition, ask to see the authenticated history of ownership. Chippendale is considered the king of antique furniture.
American Shaker Antiques
If you prefer a simpler design in antique furniture the American Shaker Style is plain yet graceful and beautiful. The Shakers also known as The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Coming crafted furniture in the Federalists style which was straighter with a greater degree of balance in the furniture. The Federalist period was from 1790 to 1830 and derived its name from the early American Federalist Party. This party wanted to form a strong new Republic and for this inspiration they leaned toward the classic days of the Greeks and Romans. Shakers arrived in American from England in 1774.The furniture they crafted was void of any type of decoration.
The Shakers crafted rockers, sewing rockers and side chairs, welcome to your fantasy trestle tables, beds and other furnishings. Every piece the Shakers made were for utility purposes. The Shakers chairs are the most admired piece to collectors. The simple and utilitarian lines is the beauty of the chair.
Research is the best way to get the information you need on the style and periods of antique pieces that you are interested in. This is why it is important to learn the language of antiques so you can easily identify certain pieces. Antiques can be valuable because they of their rarity. This is why they are valuable to collectors. Be a smart collector and do your homework and it will make antique hunting fun as well as rewarding.