The Age of Antique Mahogany Furniture Lives On
Antique mahogany furniture is popular among today’s collectors mainly for its strength, ornate carvings and highly polished reddish-brown lustre. Some antique mahogany furniture dates back to the early 1500s when it was manufactured and used extensively in Spain.
Mahogany was being sourced from as far as the West Indies as well as Central America and Florida; its distinctive grain-pattern contributing to its attractive qualities. Its natural strength means it has withstood the ravage of centuries and become such a prized specimen for any antique furniture collector.
Mahogany arrived in Britain in the early 18th century
It was in the early 18th century, around 1720, that the genus of mahogany, Swietenia mahagoni”, finally made its way to Britain. The delay had been as a direct consequence of significant import duties levied on tropical hard woods. It is as a consequence of this change in tariff, that English cabinet makers began working with this wood. This became known as the Age of Mahogany and it signalled a significant turn of events for furniture makers.
No longer were these talented craftsmen restricted by the limitations of native species such as Oak and Walnut. Mahogany gave them the option to carve intricate designs, work with complex and attractive grains, add a welcome intensity of colour and also produce furniture with increased durability. This is why antique mahogany furniture is so prized.
Nature impacts dramatically in every respect and it was the dramatic walnut blight which broke out in France, during the middle of the 18th century, which obliterated new walnut stocks and raised the profile of mahogany dramatically. This new wood contributed to a much more graceful style of furniture. The Queen Anne style continuing into the period of George I certainly added a more feminine, less austere form.
Mahogany antique furniture had a dramatic effect on furniture production
It was inevitable in the annals of mahogany antique furniture that this wood should have such a dramatic effect on furniture production as a whole, elements of interior design and also the careers of famous craftsmen. Thomas Chippendale was the most celebrated of all English furniture makers. His design book ‘The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker’s Directory’ published during 1754, earned him considerable notice. It was a revolutionary publication as this was the first printed book dealing with furniture. Consequently Thomas Chippendale’s designs incorporating his Gothic, Chinese and rococo themes gained wide publicity.
If you are interested in finding out more about antique mahogany furniture, would like to see some valuable pieces, or speak to one of our mahogany experts please take a look at our website collection.
Alternatively, you are welcome to visit our premises at: Lipitch Peter Ltd, 88 Fulham Road, London SW3 6HR or call 020 7584 1120 for personal assistance.
*Image on the left:
A regency period mahogany and ebony inlaid bookcase with open graduated shelves to the upper section and having two drawers to the frieze and twin paneled doors below. Standing on swept bracket feet .