This is a typical piece of Victorian furniture. It is walnut or mahogany, there is ornate carving and it is large and substantial. The Victorians favoured heavy ornamented pieces because they suggested wealth and the fact that machinery was introduced in the 19th century to mass produce furniture meant that the middle class could have the same looking furniture as the wealthy. Victorian design used plush, dark coloured fabrics, busy wallpaper and covered the surfaces of everything with ornaments and acquisitions. They loved tassels and fringes on carpets, lamps and pillows as well as lace antimacassars.
This is a contemporary B&B that has a Victorian theme. Note the mixture of patterns, colours and the collection of knick-knacks on the surfaces. Victorians rooms were overstuffed with furniture and things, all designed to create a sense of opulence and wealth.
Curving lines, ovals and ellipticals were very popular. Chair backs and legs on furniture were usually curved as can be be seen in this Victorian lady’s chair with its spoon back and elaborately carved legs. Lady’s chairs were often armless in order to accommodate their voluminous skirts.
Queen Victoria’s death in 1901 ushered in the Edwardian era. Although not remarkably different from the previous era, there was a movement towards more simplicity in design and a desire for a lighter look.
The dresser that I painted is about 100 years old and definitely Edwardian. It is solid mahogany and heavy but its plain drawers, elegant bun feet and graceful back piece make it a simpler design. I painted it in a soft cream colour. I puchased 4 Anthropologie knobs on sale because they are actually missing crystals and I added gilding to the remaining 2 knobs to tie them in together. I painted the bottom of the drawers a mid-blue. The piece would look lovely in a baby’s room and similar dressers are being sold at places like Pottery Barn.