The little Empire Table that wasn’t.
Calling any soda a “coke” is not correct, but people do it anyway. Calling a table made during the American Empire Movement an Empire, may or may not be correct.
A new acquisition in the store led us to rethink our broad use of the word “Empire”. Most people would call the round pedestal table “Empire”, including us, but it’s actually a Late Classical table.
Empire furniture was part of the American Empire Movement from 1820s-1840s. Empire was based on Napoleonic furniture and was often gilded, figural and featured paw feet. Furniture of this period was massive and often had brass mounts and details, like winged animals.
Late Classical furniture followed Empire from 1830s to 1850s. It featured curved legs, simple columns, C- and S-scrolls, and was undecorated. In this time period, the bandsaw was beginning to be used to mass produce furniture, Furniture making became faster and less expensive because the bandsaw could cut curved surfaces and thin veneers quickly. Late Classical furniture often was made from heavy pine or tulip poplar and then covered in the mahogany veneer.
Let’s look at the table.
- It has scroll C-feet on a base
- It is undecorated
- It is heavy
- It is covered in mahogany veneer.
- It has good proportions
Looks like Late Classical to us. Late Classical is sometimes referred to as Pillar & Scroll. This is one of our favorite furniture types; we have several pieces in our home because of the clean lines and dark mahogany.
Do you have a favorite style of furniture?