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Furniture of William III



Specimens of English furniture, dating from about 1680 to 1700, distinctly shew the influence of Flemish design. The Stadtholder, King William III., with his Dutch friends, imported many of their household gods, and our English craftsmen seem to have copied these very closely. The chairs and settees in the South Kensington Museum, and at Hampton Court Palace, have the shaped back, with a wide inlaid or carved upright bar; the cabriole leg and the carved shell ornament on the knee of the leg, and on the top of the back, which are still to be seen in many of the old Dutch houses.

There are a few examples of furniture of this date, which it is almost impossible to distinguish from Flemish, but in some others there is a characteristic decoration in marqueterie, which may be described as a seaweed scroll in holly or box wood, inlaid on a pale walnut ground. A good example of this is to be seen in the upright "grandfather's clock" in the South Kensington Museum, the effect being a pleasing harmony of color.

In the same collection there is also a walnut wood centre table, dating from about 1700, which has twisted legs and a stretcher, the top being inlaid with intersecting circles, relieved by the inlay of some stars in ivory.

As we have observed with regard to French furniture of this time, mirrors came more generally into use, and the frames were both carved and inlaid. There are several of these at Hampton Court Palace, all with bevelled edged plate glass; some have frames entirely of glass, the short lengths which make the frame, having, in some cases, the joints covered by rosettes of blue glass, and in others a narrow moulding of gilt work on each side of the frame. In one room (the Queen's Gallery) the frames are painted in colors and relieved by a little gilding.

The taste for importing old Dutch furniture, also lacquer cabinets from Japan, not only gave relief to the appearance of a well furnished apartment of this time, but also brought new ideas to our designers and workmen. Our collectors, too, were at this time appreciating the Oriental china, both blue and white, and colored, which had a good market in Holland, so that with the excellent silversmith's work then obtainable, it was possible in the time of William and Mary to arrange a room with more artistic effect than at an earlier period, when the tapestry and panelling of the walls, a table, the livery cupboard previously described, and some three or four chairs, had formed almost the whole furniture of reception rooms.



















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