Antique Mahogany Furniture – a Sense of Solidity and Design
With its strength, grace and natural capacity for carving, the finest antique mahogany furniture is as impressive today as it was over 250 years ago.
When the heavy import duties on woods were lifted in the early 18th century, English cabinet makers were finally able to use this tropical hard wood for their designs. Previously constrained to native species, mahogany provided great durability, the ability to carve intricate designs, and a new distinctive and attractive set of colours and grains with which to work.
The first mahogany to arrive in Britain came from Cuba and the West Indies. This species, Swietenia mahagoni, is now protected after illegal logging destroyed much of the natural forests in which it grew. With the best trees long harvested, those seeking furniture made from this handsome wood can turn their attention to the finely crafted pieces from the 18th and 19th century.
Style and strength
‘The Age of Mahogany’, the term coined by the collector and author Percy Macquoid in his study published in 1907, marked a turn towards a more elegant aesthetic.
As well as giving furniture greater solidity and strength, the density of mahogany made it ideal for fine detailed carving. Thomas Chippendale, of course, made extensive use of this property of mahogany with the elaborate Rococo style carving for which he is acclaimed.
Mahogany in contemporary homes
Today, antique mahogany provides collectors with qualities that are rarely found in modern furniture.
Its great durability, which has ensured its survival into the present day, is a cause for celebration for those impatient with modern items that sometimes may not survive 20 years let alone 200 years !
At the same time, few modern pieces of furniture can give us so much to admire. With modern factory made items, there is little opportunity to pause to wonder at the skill of the craftsmen that have carved such elegant and intricate shapes and forms.
Furthermore, we should not fail to praise mahogany for its exceptional colour and beautiful grain, which 18th century designers used to great effect. In contemporary homes, the red tones of mahogany furniture look stunning against cream-based wallpaper with its red accent details.
Solid and timelessly stylish – antique mahogany furniture is very special indeed. Why not browse our website to see some of the fine pieces in our collection?
Alternatively, why not call us on 020 7584 1120 for more information or visit our premises at: Peter Lipitch Ltd, 88 Fulham Road, London SW3 6HR
*Image to the left:
A FINE CHIPPENDALE MAHOGANY BOOKCASE CABINET CIRCA 1765
The lower section with a pair of cupboard doors opening to three sliding shelves. The cresting with a partial paper label inscribed KENSINGTON, the backs of each section with chalked number DW938. The reverse of the right cupboard door bearing a black ivorine Norman Adams label.