Know Everything About The History of European Furniture

Different countries produce different types of woods. And produces different type of furniture each unique in their own styles. And the development of these different styles of wood products was also due to the encouragements from their rulers and influential people.

Furniture made on the mainland of Europe varied from country to country, but both craftsmen and ideas were interchanged from time to time. Local tastes and the use of local timbers often played a part in creating a fashion that spread eventually from east to west. There is no space here to deal with the detailed history of the subject in each individual land, but some general notes may be helpful. French furniture, having attained a worldwide interest and importance, is described at greater length.


French furniture of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries is not greatly different from that made elsewhere in Europe at those dates. However, the principal wood used in England was oak, but in France it was walnut, which was plentiful there. Just as many foreign workers came to London, so did others to Paris; it is almost impossible to distinguish an Italian-made cabinet from one made in France by an Italian craftsman. It was not until the end of the seventeenth century that French furniture gained its recognizable distinction. The first to give his name to a style there was Andre Charles Boulle (1642-1732), who perfected marquetry, originating in Italy, employing tortoiseshell and brass which was used mostly on furniture veneered with ebony. This is known now either as Boulle or Buhl work, and the majority of it that has survived was made in Victorian times, or later. Old work of the eighteenth century is very valuable ($3,000 to $6,000 for a piece would not be considered extraordinary), but the nineteenth-century copies fetch a tenth or so of this.

Louis XV

This monarch has his name coupled with the most extravagant of furniture designs, known as Rococo; a style that spread throughout Europe. The term means ornamented with shells and scrollwork and similar patterns, and until one grows accustomed to it, the dictionary definition of 'tastelessly florid or ornate' may often be thought to apply. To our eyes it is noticeable principally for a generous use of curved. lines, and an 'unbalanced' look. Out of its elaborate setting there is no doubt that Louis XV furniture appears very showy, but when it is seen in the rooms for which it was designed it takes its place unobtrusively in the decorative scheme.

The French had a liking during the eighteenth century for small tables and cabinets, chests of drawers (called commodes), large writing tables with leather-covered tops having a row of drawers beneath and tall legs, and upright cabinets with drop-down fronts concealing a writing space. Veneering was the usual decoration, aided by parquetry and marquetry set off with ormolu mountings. When compared with the sophisticated outside appearance, most of the pieces exhibit very rough finishing of the woodwork not usually seen, and a glance at the inside or underneath of a piece will prove this.

Many of the small tables and cabinets are supported on delicately curved cabriole legs so slight that it is a wonder they can stand without breaking. Chests of drawers always have a slab of colored marble as the top, and many other pieces are similarly finished. Chairs and settees were carved usually of beech-wood, sometimes finished with gilding and sometimes painted in pale colors. Mirror-frames were gilt, and are often very like English ones of the same date.

Different countries used different types of woods. In England they mostly used the oak, but in France it was walnut, which was plentiful there. Some time the cabinet made in Italia and France are difficult to distinguish from one another. There were great differences in their price tags as well with their production ages. Monarch Louis XV extravagant furniture designs known as Rococo. He designs different styles of furniture with different types of woods that suits his tastes.