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Saturday, 14 March 2015

Furniture

Ancient furniture has been excavated from the 8th-century BC Phrygian tumulus, the Midas Mound, in Gordion, Turkey. Pieces found include tables and inlaid serving stands.

A Neolithic community built a village at Skara Brae in the Orkney Islands in around 2500 BC, of stone houses with built-in stone furniture.

Virtually no furniture from ancient Greece has survived, so it is known today only through pictures on vases and other items and from a few written descriptions. It consisted of chairs, chests, couches, stools and tables.

After the collapse of the Roman Empire, the western portion of Europe sank into a period in which little furniture was made. Benches, chairs, chests and stools were the most common forms produced, and furniture was transportable so that it could be moved with the wealthy nobles on their travels.  If they possessed more than one house, their furniture and possessions would go with them from place to place.

In the early Middle Ages folding stools and chests were common. Chests were often carved with architectural motifs such as arcades and columns and they often served as a chair, table, or even as a bed.

During the reign of Louis XIV in the second half, however, French furniture developed to a high level of sophistication. The craftsmen who were gathered together by the crown in the Gobelins' workshops outside Paris produced tapestries, metalwork, and furniture for the palace at Versailles under the direction of Charles Le Brun from 1663.

When Charles II was restored to the English throne in 1660, European fashions in the baroque style began to have an effect on English furniture. This influence became more pronounced after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, when many skilled French Huguenot craftsmen left France for England.

Furniture lacquered in imitation of authentic Chinese lacquer was known as japanned work. It was popularized in a book published in 1688 by John Stalker and George Parker entitled A Treatise of Japanning and Varnishing.

Lighter and finer furniture made from mahogany from the West Indies became increasingly popular in Europe during the first half of the eighteenth century.

In England the rococo style of furniture was popularized by pattern books of ornament published by many designers in the mid eighteenth century. Most prominent was Thomas Chippendale, whose The Gentleman & Cabinet-Maker's Director was first published in 1754.

Flatpack furniture was invented in Sweden by Gillis Lundgren in 1956. Lundgren was  a draughtsman hired by local furniture dealer, Ingvar Kamprad. He came up with the idea after trying to get a wooden table into the boot of a car, and deciding to pull off the legs to make it fit. Kamprad later founded Ikea.

In the 1960s plastic began to play an important role in furniture as designers sought to achieve pleasing forms that could be economically cast in a single mold.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the average American is as likely to be crushed to death by televisions or furniture as they are to be killed by a terrorist.

Here is a list of songs with furniture in the title.

Source Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc.

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