Furniture Styles

Furniture > European > English > Woods > Beech

Beech Wood

A Native English Timber

Beech is a light brown wood with speckled grain. Being a softwood it is very much susceptible to worm infestation and therefore furniture made of beech wood is not likely to stand the test of time.

Beech Frame Chair
Beech Frame Chair, 1661, This seat, with its distinctive "x" frame, is known as a chair of state. It was used in ceremonies by monarchs and other leading participants. It was accompanied by a footstool, to emphasize its importance.

In the English furniture tradition beech wood has been in use uninterrupted since the mid 17th century, and being cheap, was a common substitute for walnut particularly in the making of Carolean era caned baroque chairs.

Beech Chair
1770, Carved and painted beech.

In the late 18th century there was increased use of beech for lacquered, painted, and ebonized chairs especially during the late Georgian era, the time of neoclassical furniture. Beech wood was also frequently used in carcase work, for seat rails, sofa frames and bed frames.

Beech framed neoclassical sofa
1805, Beech framed neoclassical sofa.

Finally, being a native wood, beech was also preferred by some in the Victorian era Arts and Crafts furniture movement of the late 19th century.

Next section is Walnut Wood.

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