Kaylor Stroot, Author at Thomaston Auction

The 18th century version of contemporary furniture, Queen Anne style, was artisan’s and craftsmen’s attempt to appeal to the consumer at the turn of the century.

Its predecessor, William and Mary furniture, was sturdy, dense, and rigid with ornate designs carved into the flat surface. The use of negative space was limited, and so was the consideration for comfort.

Figure 1.
William and Mary
Oak Coffer, ca. 1680

Sold 2016 for $1,100

Then, a revolutionary design is implemented in the British colonies by Boston furniture makers – the “crooked” or S-curved back chairs. Unlike the William and Mary stiff vertical chairs, the S-shaped chairs curve to accommodate the shape of the human spine to provide an element of comfort that mirrors early Asian designs. The rounded outlines created an organic shape and formed the foundation for much of the Queen Anne style. Designs were created for comfort of user and practicality for moving as they were much lighter.

Figure 2.
Queen Anne Dining Chairs,
Period American

Sold 2014 for $5,500

In America, inter-coastal trade created competition of sorts between the colonies and their artisans. Philadelphia artisans elaborated on the Boston style side chair with the use of negative space to give the piece a more distinctive character. The back panel of the chair would be cut to create swirls and further the intricacy of the curved outlines. Thus began the evolution of Queen Anne furniture.

To spot Queen Anne furniture, look for furniture that is light and uses organic shapes. Ball-and-claw foot (what looks like a bird clutching a ball with it’s claws), hoof foot (what looks like the hooves of deer), or pad foot (looks like a flattened oval sitting on a disk) can all be found on the base of a cabriole leg. The cabriole leg, another staple of Queen Anne furniture, utilizes the S-shape to have the leg of the furniture with an upper convex arc and a lower concave arch. In later Queen Anne furniture, it is common to find the cabriole leg decorated with an acanthus leaf.

Figure 3.
Lot 1344 from Home Decor & More,
Pair of Mahogany Youth Chairs

Est. $100-$200

Case furniture, used for storage, also featured standard cabriole legs with one of the standard foot designs. In addition, these pieces became very architectural with classical proportions. The top of the case furniture could be flat or be adorned with broken scroll pediments and finials. Carved decorations, such as shells, are a familiar nod to the previous carvings done during the Willam and Mary period but are lighter and do not cover the entirety of the space.

Figure 4.
Custom Cherry Highboy
by David Rockwell

Sold 2018 for $1,100

Queen Anne style furniture, also known as ‘Late Baroque’, was succeeded by movements such as Revival and Art Nouveau as the furniture market continued its evolution to what we know now. All types of furniture, lighting, and décor can be found in our upcoming sale ‘Home Décor & More’ happening April 19th. Browse the inventory and see if you can spot any Queen Anne style furniture.

The distinctive pattern of blue and white porcelain has become a staple over time. Delicate blue patterns drawn on to the surface of white porcelain is common to find not only in our auctions, but around the world in museums, private collections, and modern designs.

Lot 6139 from Eastern Elegance, a Chinese Hexagonal Hu Vase, est. $300-400

The origin of the designs comes from the use of a very specific shade of blue – cobalt blue. Islamic and Chinese trade was a growing common practice in during the Yuan era, giving opportunity to refine the process of making blue and white porcelain. The practice of this pottery had been around for a hundred years during, appearing first during the Tang and Song eras. However, the means for creating a sound firing process were not yet available due to the lack of technology and the scarcity of cobalt ore. But during the Yuan era, there was an uptick in Cobalt Blue ore found in Persia as well as Samarra Blue and Sumatra Blue. Meanwhile, over in the town of Jingdezhen, potters had added kaolin clay (an essential ingredient in making porcelain even now) to their practice to create the pure white we know as porcelain today.

Lot 6168 in Eastern Elegance, Chinese Bottle Form Vase, est. $600-800

Layers of the iron rich cobalt blue were used to create a variety of shades resulting in a striking contrast between porcelain and pigment. Some artists mix in differing tones of blue, called Fenshui, making light and deep blues for further experimentation in the practice. While other artists created pieces with delicate and complex line work, others utilized the white negative space and painted the rest of the piece blue. Styles vary as the pieces were made for markets in the Middle East, Korea, and even Africa, resulting in culture creating their own version of the practice, such as Japan. While the trend spread throughout China and the world, it was believed that the originating town of Jingdezhen created the best. The practice had its peak in the 1700s, however Britian’s “Chinamania” resulted in utilization of the iconic blue and white during the Aestheticism movement of the 1850s and 60s.

Lot 6228 in Eastern Elegance, (2) Japanese Blue and White Chargers, est $200-400

Blue and white porcelain not only showcased signature colors, but motifs and themes as well. The blue and white practice had a partial religious component as the Mongols recognized their ancestors as the blue wolf and white doe. Some also say the blue color symbolizes heaven while white means purity. The details in the decor of the ware also give insight into its purpose. For example, if there are two mandarin ducks on the piece, this symbolizes marital bliss. Others such as a peach are for longevity, a lotus for mental and spiritual purity, and a parasol for royalty.

You will find many white and blue porcelain pieces in our upcoming ‘Eastern Elegance’ online discovery auction on March 20, 2024.

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Thomaston Place Auction Galleries
PO Box 300
Thomaston, Maine 04861
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Thomaston, ME 04861
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