In the 19th century, Europe and the United States experienced frequent change and advancement in society and culture as well as arts and design. Furniture made in this era reflect the fast-paced evolution of 19th century design. From the late Georgian era to the rise of Art Nouveau, this century provided beautiful pieces of furniture that are widely prized by collectors today.
The Georgian Era
The Georgian era (1714-1830) was a period that was characterized by the reign of King George I, King George II, King George III, and King George IV in Great Britain and Ireland. The 19th century encompassed the reign of Kings George III and George IV. A smaller period during this time, the Regency period, lasted from 1811 to 1820. The architecture and design of the latter Georgian era was largely influenced by Neoclassicism and the Ancient Greeks and Romans.
The Biedermeier period (1815-1848), centered in Germany, marked a shift in German society. Political stability resulted in the development of a new middle class. Biedermeier furniture comes from this middle class of Germans. Characteristics of Biedermeier design include clean lines, decreased ornamentation, and use of wood local to the area.
The Victorian Era
The Victorian era produced a multitude of advancements in society and culture. The furniture designs of this period were largely influenced by Rococo and Gothic styles. Common motifs in design included nature and animals. Interior decoration was important to Victorians, and each room in the house was carefully detailed to the owners' desires.
The 20th Century
The death of Queen Victoria in 1901 marked the beginning of the Edwardian Era. During this time, the Art Nouveau movement had gained popularity. Interior design of this era incorporated light, ethereal elements, much unlike the dark and heavy designs of the Victorian era. Materials for furniture changed from mahogany and oak wood to bamboo and wicker.