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A Concise History of American Period Furniture
By Stanley D. Saperstein
William and Mary, 1689-1702
When Mary Stuart ascended the English throne in 1689, she brought with her a Dutch husband and furniture from Holland. It immediately became the rage of the court, and many Dutch craftsmen, cabinetmakers, and carvers were imported from Holland, Flanders, and France. They introduced many new styles, such as the highboy. Wealthy colonists in America imported many fine pieces.
The characteristics included use of upholstery on almost all chairs and couches. Walnut became the most widely used wood; carving featured motifs of flowers, foliage, cupids, wreaths, and c-scrolls. Gilding, painting, and lacquering are found on all pieces. Marquetry and veneering were used in a great many pieces. Almost all turned pieces use the bell-shaped cup, and this characteristic makes it easy to tell a William and Mary piece.
Tables remained rectangular in shape, with "X" stretchers. Veneers are common on tabletops. Chairs use such fabrics as tapestry, petit point embroidery, damask, brocade, velvet, and chintz.
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