up, I though antiques meant Victorian. My grandmother's house was
filled with walnut furniture, and we were constantly being reminded to
not put our feet on the loveseat and not put cold glasses on varnished
surfaces. As an adult, I collected antiques, most of which were either
cottage Victorian or Arts and Crafts...the stuff I grew up with. Very
few of the objects I picked up over the years, most of which dated from
the turn of the century until 1925 (the heart of the Art Deco Movement)
would actually have qualified as antiques.
people, collecting starts with the familiar...but what was familiar 40
years ago is not what is familiar today. What was familiar in my
grandparents houses in the 1960s were objects passed down. The "new
stuff" was Haywood Wakefield and Cushman...neither of which comes close
to the revered antique status.
The truth is that very
little of what people collect would qualify as a true antique. Under
the commonly accepted definition, antiques are items that are at least
100 years old. The stuff I bought from "antique shops" in the 1980s
weren't antiques; some still have a few years to go before the earn
that august distinction.
Very few antique stores
specialize only in antiques. Go to your local store, including here at
the Emporium, and do a quick survey. There are antiques, especially in
the booths specializing in Colonial and Federal and Duncan Phyfe. There
are also the myriad of collectibles and vintage objects: objects that
are older than the desk top computer, but younger than 1910.
mother had a three basic rules about collecting: 1) collect what
appeals to you and don't worry whether everything comes from the same
generation; 2) tastes skip a generation; 3) antiques and new stuff are
not mutually exclusive (mhd).
With all of this in mind,
we've put together a list of links where you can learn about furniture
styles (newer and older), the decorative arts, and the art of
Reference Guides to the Decorative Arts.
Connected Lines: Furniture Style Guide. A good starting spot.
(1600 to 1690). A whole lot of Jacobean furniture was made by
cabinetmakers for homeowners who were seriously jonesing for the
Medieval period, although not a whole lot of furniture was being
produced 1000 years earlier and the majority of what was produced was
seriously crude. If you like light-weight or fine spindles and
turnings, you are probably not going to be a fan of a style known for
straight, unadorned legs. That is not to say that the furniture is
unadorned. Jacobean furniture is known for some really nice carving
(especially acanthus leaves, carved panels, and geometric designs. The
furniture tends to be fairly heavy and sturdy (which explains why it
has held up rather well over the years).
(1840-1910) (Keeping in mind that Victoria sat on the throne for 64
years, a period of which covers a multitutde of styles). The Victorian
period technically lasted from 1840 to 1910 (which means the last of
the Victorian era stuff finally achieved "antique" status in the last
couple of years. The definition of Victorian furniture has expanded
over the years to encompass a number of different styles, including the
Cottage Victorian, Rococo Victorian, Italiatate, and so on. While
Victorian furniture can be gorgeous, their interior design could be
rather cluttered and, as one critic was prone to say, horrific. If you
can find it, a great guide to the Victorian interior is Tasteful Interludes.