Even if you do not buy anything from there, you will feel enriched by the experience of seeing those living relics of the past. While an antique furniture gallery will be a collector's delight, it will provide an educative experience to all. The word antique refers to things that belong to a historical past. But the past itself is made up of various stages. So the antique furniture that we see in a furniture gallery will be of various periods.
In the case of America, the furniture era starts in the 17th century, in the period known as pilgrim era or colonial period. The furniture during this period was heavy, and completely hand-made. Oak and pine, and some local woods were primarily used in crafting furniture during the pilgrim era, and turned balusters were a common pattern of the times. It may be difficult to find a furniture gallery that has got furniture from this era.
Dutch influence is seen in the furniture of the next period, namely the William and Mary era of 1690 to 1725. Walnut, cherry, and pine woods were used in furniture crafting during this period, and wood relief work was common. The short and high chests, referred to as lowboy and highboy respectively, made their appearance during the William and Mary era. Furniture became more decorative, and gilded and painted furniture, and veneers, became common. More pieces have survived from this era than from the pilgrim's era and it may not be too difficult to find them in a furniture gallery.
Walnut and cherry were the woods predominantly used during the Queen Ann period of 1725 to 1755. Lacquer work and scroll work came into prominence. Wing back chairs were introduced and graceful curves became common in all types of furniture. Devoted collectors seek furniture from this period in every antique furniture gallery and many galleries are able to offer them a few pieces.
Chippendale furniture was mainly in vogue from 1755 to 1780. A demarcating feature of Chippendale furniture is its curved legs known as cabriole legs, and its claw-and-ball foot. Mahogany was the wood with which most Chippendale furniture was crafted, but wood of maple, cherry, and walnut were also used. The Chippendale style, though in a substantially modified way, continued to influence furniture making throughout the 19th century. Every antique furniture gallery is generally able to show its customers some piece with Chippendale influence.
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