19 April 2021




Antique Cabinets - The Italian Renaissance and its influences on the antique cabinet

Early antique cabinets evolved from Italian influenced heavily carved dressers made in Italy, France, Britain and other parts of Europe in the 16th century. French designer Jacques Androuet DuCerceau was an early publisher of these influential designs that applied Italianate ornaments to a whole variety of furniture. The dresser emerged as the most important piece of antique cabinet furniture during this time. It had an upper and lower section with doors placed within an architectural form which rested on columnar supports.

Italianate design also played an important role in Germany in the 16th century and designers such as Peter Flottner of Nuremburg introduced these designs onto simply manufactured furniture. The city of Augsburg was famous for high quality pictorial marquetry which was then installed into antique cabinets and dressers. In Britain, oak was the wood of choice to also produce these heavily carved decorative pieces of furniture. Antique cabinets were also influenced by the Italian Renaissance with added mannerist motifs of grotesque figures as well as the Italianate architectural detail. The court cupboard was also introduced at this stage, used as the name suggests for storing cups and plates, where open shelves would be supported on heavy turned or carved columns where the top and bottom sections could be enclosed by doors.

The golden age of antique cabinet making in the latter part of the 17th century saw a revolution in furniture construction with an influx of European influences into Britain. New types of bureaux or desks incorporating cabinets were coming into fashion. In the early part of the 18th century, walnut was being superseded by mahogany as the cabinet makers’ wood of choice, plus influences of the French rococo, and Chinese imported ceramics and fretworks created an eclecticism for designers like Chippendale to draw on. Antique cabinetry styles became simpler during the Regency period with the adoption of Neo-classical architectural forms from ancient Greece and Rome. As Regency moved into the Victorian era, this period set about reviving all these earlier designs and styles with the added advantage of mass production where furniture began to be more widely owned.

Advice onantique cabinets reflecting any of these ages and styles whether period or revival can be acquired here at Christian Davies Antiques in Preston, Lancashire. We're also conveniently located if you live close by in Cumbria. 

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