Post filed under Art History

Far East Fascination

During the period of George II (1727-1760) the English became fascinated with the mysterious and profitable Far East. So much so that it influenced many aesthetic endeavours and catapulted tea, a previously unknown beverage in England, to the status of national drink.

By the 1750s Eastern themes appeared in ceramics, silverware and textiles. The elaborately decorated lacquered boxes that carried tea across the continents inspired English designers to begin experimenting with decoration on furniture.

Our table pays homage to the art of hand painted Chinoiserie decoration. A dark figured burl with Oriental garden scenes adorn the drum top. The base, consisting of red and gold Chinese lacquer, sits atop classic but gentle cabriole legs ending in acanthus scroll feet. Read more

Categories: Art History | Interior design

Classical Gathering

This cocktail table is veneered in hand selected, rich red flame mahogany, which speaks to the quality and intricacy of Louis XVI furniture. Classical elements, such as the dozen Corinthian columns and vase decorations on the delicately hand-hammered repousse panels conjure up the splendour of the court style under Louis XVI.

The Louis XVI style focussed more on classicism and symmetry. Although original Louis XVI tables would have used gilt brass or ormolu, we have replaced these with a softly patinated brass to elicit an air of subtle brilliance. Note the crossbanded and flame mahogany shelf that acts as an undertier. Read more

Categories: Art History | Theodore Alexander

What’s in a Name? The Canterbury (Furniture) Tales

Thomas Sheraton (1751-1806) appears to have been the first to record the written term ‘Canterbury’, the rather confusingly named music or magazine stand. In his Cabinet Dictionary of 1803 he divides the name as referring to two distinct pieces of … Read more

Categories: Art History | Theodore Alexander

The Original Original and Its Prodigies

This post was re-blogged from the original with the kind permission of John Black.

An admission: I have a fetish for chairs.

As a designer, chairs offer the best opportunity to design from a sculptural aspect. Coupled with my historical jones, it should not be surprising that the one chair design that stands out is klismos. Given the timeless nature of this chair, it is no wonder other furniture designers have gravitated to this form as well. But what I find as interesting as the chair itself is the diverse personalities involved with bringing this form, along with ancient Greek ideals, back to life. Read more

Categories: Art History | We love...

Picture Perfect

The Picture Gallery at Althorp remains very much as it was created by Robert Spencer, 2nd Earl of Sunderland (1641-1702) and is based on the original Elizabethan gallery in the south-west wing of the house. At 115 feet long one of it’s original uses was to provide an area for the ladies of the house to exercise in inclement weather in days gone by. Read more

Categories: Althorp | Art History

Every Detail Counts – the Art of Inlay, Part 1

Picture if you will a shell, delicate and brittle. Imagine sketching a design with a soft pencil on it’s surface and then gently cutting around the shape with a small saw. You need to be sure that the blade moves cleanly through the shell, with smooth even strokes. Cut too hard or too fast and the shell will shatter and you must begin again. A steady hand is needed for this task. Read more

Categories: Art History | Theodore Alexander