is probably one of the largest ‘families’ of hardwood, having many different varieties within its own species.
Mahogany has been used for centuries in ship building, house building, furniture making etc and is the core structure of just about every 19th century vanity box, dressing case or jewellery box. It became more of a Victorian trend to dress Mahogany with these decorative veneers so that the actual Mahogany was almost hidden from view.
Mahogany itself is a rich reddish brown wood that can range from being plain in appearance to something that is so vibrant, figured and almost three dimensional in effect.
Although Mahogany was most often used in its solid form, it also provided some beautifully figured varieties of veneer like ‘Flame’ Mahogany and ‘Fiddleback’ Mahogany (named after its preferred use in the manufacture of fine musical instruments).
Cuban Mahogany was so sought after, that by the late 1850′s, this particular variety became all but extinct.
William IV - the brief reign of William IV (1830 – 1837) marked a period of transition between the Regency period (which had been an age of innovation based on revivalist styles such as ancient Egypt, and the Grecian designs) and the Victorian era.
William IV furniture is similar in style to Regency furniture with many of the designs from the Regency period being copied but often executed in a much heavier manner with chairs, tables and other items being coarser and clumsier in appearance when compared with those made during the Regency period.
Popular pieces produced during this period include tilt top dining tables and pillared extendable tables. Sofa tables and drum tables were also favoured at the time as were sideboards and card tables. Heavy brass fittings were a prominent feature such as lion’s paw feet on tables. Chairs frequently sported sabre legs to the back with stumpy bulbous turned legs to the front. The rope twist carved back was also much in favour.
This period also saw the introduction of the more exotic timbers such as zebra wood. With the Industrial Revolution getting under way furniture making saw the increased use of mechanisation a trend set to accelerate during the Victorian period.
This short, but important transitional period eventually gave way to the romanticism of the Victorians but the furniture it produced was usually of good quality and it remains sought after and desirable today.