©2006 Publications International Chair and table legs exhibit many of the features that distinguish furniture styles; the leg is usually a good indicator of type. Early Georgian furniture is based on Queen Anne; later styles show classic influence.

Older Furniture Styles

Most old wooden furniture you will encounter, most likely, will be either traditional English or American Colonial styles. Let's review the special characteristics of both popular types.

Basic English Furniture Styles

The following criteria will help you determine if your old furniture is an English-made antique.

Queen Anne

Early 18th century

Woods used: Walnut, also, cherry, mahogany, maple and oak.

Description: Graceful curves, curved (cabriole) leg, with no rungs or stretchers; minimal decoration, very simple; scallop-shell mount.

Georgian Chippendale

Late 18th century

Woods used: Mahogany

Description: Elaboration of Queen Anne; ornate carvings, either delicate or bold; many themes, including rococo, English, Chinese, Greek classic; intricate chair backs.

Georgian Adam

Late 18th century

Woods used: Mahogany

Description: Straight, slender lines; heavy Greek classic influence; fluted columns; delicate low-relief carvings, especially draped garlands.

Georgian Hepplewhite

Late 18th century

Woods used: Mahogany; satinwood inlay/veneer

Desscription: Based on Adam; straight tapered legs; shield- oval-, or heart-shaped chair backs; less decoration; delicate carvings.

Georgian Sheraton

Late 18th century

Woods used: Mahogany

Description: Similar to Hepplewhite and other Georgian styles; straighter, more upright lines; Greek classic influence; lyre-shaped chair backs; inlays and thick veneers.

Regency

Early 19th century

Woods used: Mahogany

Description: Simple, bold curves; smaller scale; more functional, more intimate; colors used.

Victorian

Late 19th century

Woods used: Mahogany, walnut, rosewood

Description: heavy, massive, substantial; dark finish; clumsy dessign; ornate carvings and decorations; marble tops used.

Basic American Furniture Styles

The following criteria will help you determine if your old furniture is an American-made antique.

Early Colonial   

17th century   

Woods used: Pine; birch, maple, walnut   

Description: Hybrid of English styles; square lines; solid construction; heavy decoration and carving.

Late Colonial

18th century

Woods used: Pine; mahogany

Description: Imported wood; interpretations of Queen Anne and Georgian styles; formal. Windsor chair.

Federal

Early 19th century

Woods used: Mahogany, cherry

Description: Interpretations of Georgian styles; Duncan Phyfe variations of Sheraton style; some French influence; heavier versions of English styles. Boston rocker, Hitchcock chair.

Pennsylvania Dutch

Late 17th to mid-19th century

Woods used: Maple, pine, walnut, fruitwoods

Description: Solid, plain; Germanic style; colorful painted Germanic decorations.

Shaker

Late 18th to mid-19th century

Woods used: Pine; maple

Description: Severely functional; no decoration; superior craftsmanship; excellent design.