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Antique Wardrobes

The main types of antique wardrobes and armoire furniture used in English period furniture.

The most satisfactory wardrobe arrangement for a modern bedroom is a pair of doors hung in front of a recess, but this hardly comes under the heading of furniture, although we may speak of it as a cupboard. Such a fitment can have glazed doors with curtains behind them, or panels of gilded cane, but it should never be allowed to develop into anything clumsy, for it can so easily become an attractive feature of a bedroom's decoration. There are few wardrobes that provide such ample space for the storing of garments, excepting perhaps the big wing wardrobes made in the Georgian eighteenth century, that completely fill one side of a moderately-sized room. A fairly common piece of eighteenth century furniture is the gentleman's wardrobe, with drawers below and trays above. There are a certain number of hanging cupboards old and new, but very few wardrobes that offer adequate accommodation.

Design for a Wardrobe
Design for a Wardrobe, 1860.

As we are not studying furniture of any special period, we can discuss the most convenient forms of wardrobe, for it is obviously absurd for twentieth century people to endure the primitive inconveniences of forms that have been replaced by designs suited to modern requirements. Modern wardrobes are well-equipped in every way, and they are at their best when painted. There is an effect of crudity about plain wood handled by modern craftsmen, and the parent of this particular type of unpolished, severe design is the American "Mission Furniture". There is no subtlety of line about it, and only colour can lend vitality to designs that lack interest and character.

The modes of any period are produced largely by its needs, and furniture of household value, such as the admirably conceived kitchen cabinets, perfected in the United States where so many time and labour-saving appliances have originated, may go down in the history of furnishing as one of the best achievements of our own time.

Next: Antique Beds.

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