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Jacobean Furniture

The Jacobean Era

The Jacobean era is named afer King James I who ruled from 1603 until 1625. James 1 belonged to the Stuart family as did his son and successor King Charles I reigning from 1625 until 1649. The term Jacobean era furniture is used here to refer to the period of both kings.

The Jacobean, or Jacobethan, era was another phase of English Renaissance architecture, theatre, and decoration and formed a continuation, begun in the Elizabethan age, of the the Renaissance's penetration into England.

Jacobean Style Furniture


The early Jacobean furniture period, which inspired much of the early American furniture of the pilgrims (in America Jacobean style furniture is often called Pilgrim furniture), was similar to Elizabethan furniture in that it was still largely made of oak, and of a solid, sturdy construction. Early Jacobean furniture was somewhat inward looking, not fully embracing exotic influences, and its ornamentation became less prominent and applied in a less willy-nilly, more ordered, fashion than previously, as can be seen in pictures of early carved furniture.

Jacobean Stool
Jacobean Stool

A highlight of the period were Jacobean chairs in particular the Farthingale, and also the development of its mule chests and long tables.

Jacobean Oak Bench
Jacobean Oak Bench

Late Jacobean - Charles I

Charles 1 was more cultured than his father and took much care and interest in the furnishings of his palaces and mansions and especially in the collection of great art and paintings. In Charles's reign we see more attention paid to domestic comfort with much more use of padded upholstery, carpets instead of rush mats, and finer embroidery. This was the time of the great architect Inigo Jones, the introducer to England of Palladian architecture.

Gate leg tables are a development of the Charles the first time.

Jacobean Settle
Jacobean Settle

Jacobean Interiors

"Turkey", English knotted woollen pile, carpets were put on floors naturally but were also often used as covers of beds and covering for Jacobean windows. In furniture some veneering and inlay were used, and many pieces were painted, and tapestries, crewelwork, wool, linen, silk, and velvet were used as upholstering materials.

Relief carvings of geometric or floral motifs, and accentuated mouldings used to divide areas into geometric shapes were also features of Jacobean design.

Antique Jacobean Furniture

Understandably expensive most "Jacobean antiques" available for sale are actually 19th century reproductions. Check our Jacobean period resources section for some ideas on buying Jacobean antique and reproduction furniture.

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