Little English furniture survives from medieval times, and, as on the Continent, information must be sought in contemporary references and from the picture of domestic interiors in illustrated manuscripts. Most of these manuscripts are of French or Flemish origin, but they furnish reliable evidence on English interiors because the governing classes, who were practically the sole possessors of proper furniture, copied the domestic habits of the Continent. English oak was the chief material, but softer woods also were used. A certain amount of furniture was imported from abroad, providing new ideas for the English carpenter and joiner. The furniture usually found in important houses consisted of beds, chests, cupboards, tables, benches, and stools.
The chest was the basic type of medieval furniture, serving as cupboard, trunk, seat, and, if necessary, as a simple form of table and desk. It was from this versatile piece of furniture that several other types, such as the cupboard and the box chair, were evolved. Chests were made of six planks, crudely pegged or nailed together and frequently strengthened with iron banding. Examples of this sort, dating from the 13th century and in many instances found in churches, are among the earliest pieces of extant European furniture. The chest remained one of the most important pieces of furniture until the end of the 15th century, when on the Continent the cupboard began to compete with it in usefulness.
How to Make a Neoclassical Room, Elegant, luxurious and romantic, the Neoclassical interior design style infuses any room with European formality. A style that first emerged in 18th-century Britain and France, Neoclassical decor draws on classic Greek and Roman art and architecture by featuring columns, swags, gilt, classical reliefs and opulent furnishings. This design scheme adds sophistication to any space, but avoid over-decorating with these ornate items or your room can quickly go from grand to gaudy. Neoclassical furniture embraced clean, straight lines and geometric shapes, while still incorporating some of detailed carvings so prominent in the preceding Baroque and Rococo periods. Look for refined pieces that feature design elements such as tapered, fluted or reeded legs, gold gilt accents, scrolls, medallions, rosettes and lyre designs.
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