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Furniture (H) - Encylopedia Of Antiques

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HARE WOOD: Sycamore, stained a greenish yellow color. Much used by English cabinetmakers for inlay, late 18th century.

HARPSICHORD: A keyed musical instrument sometimes with two or three banks of keys, which differed from the virginal (q.v.) and spinet (q.v.) by the addition of extra strings which could be brought into use by means of extra stops. It preceded the piano and was formerly in extensive use, but is now little known. It was made in three shapes; one resembled the "grand" piano of later days, upright in form and very rare. It produced a brilliant but somewhat metallic sound, and after the invention of the pianoforte the harpsichord was gradually superseded by it. See PIANO.

HEPPLEWHITE STYLE: George Hepplewhite was the second of the great English cabinet-makers to make a distinct impression upon the furniture styles of the Georgian period. Most of his work was confined to the smaller items of furniture and he represented the simplest, most graceful and most delicate type form in England of that period. Much of this classic feeling was derived from the designs of the brothers Adam. His style was also in fluenced by French designs. It was in making chairs that he struck out on new lines. His chairs are lighter and more graceful than those of Chippendale, but they are lacking in strength and durability. The backs are in shield, oval or heart shape, the top rails and side posts are fluted, the legs are straight or tapering, square or round, often fluted, with collared or spade feet, and he enriched his chairs with veneers and inlay. Mahogany was used for carved work and satinwood where painting or inlay was employed. The Prince of Wales feathers, the honeysuckle and the husk were favorite Hepplewhite motives. Also, the pl"n, elongated urn. He was partial to curved lines, using them wherever possible, while Sheraton, who followed him, preferred straight lines. In spite of this, some of their designs are so much alike it is very difficult to differentiate between them. The tambour front for small writing tables, the pouch worktable and sideboard with drawers and cupboards are characteristic pieces of Hepplewhite design, although Shearer shares with Hepplewhite the credit for the sideboard of the period. For upholstering he preferred silks and satins and was fond of narrow stripes and French designs. This was generally brought down over the frame of the chair all around. The furniture of Hepplewhite was practical, designed in the workshop, and the designs after his death were published by A. Hepplewhite & Company in a book called The Cabinet Maker's and Upholsterer's Guide, which went into several editions. It is, by far, the best exposition of Adam's style, adapted to the use of cabinet-makers.

HERRINGBONE: An inlay much used in walnut and mahogany furniture in the Georgian period. It first came into use in the 17th century. It is composed of two strips with the grain of each running diagonally.

HICKORY: The hickory is exclusively American, unlike many other of the woods used for cabinet-making. The wood is heavy, strong and tenacious, but decays speedily when exposed to heat and moisture. For this reason, probably, it was not made use of freely by Colonial cabinetmakers, although the delicate spindles of the Windsor chair were usually made of hickory.

HIGHBOY: The form, a chest-on-chest, though of English origin, late 17th century, and designed in English period styles, never had much vogue in England, and is notably an American development. In England they were known as tallboys. They were superseded there by the commode. The highboy consists of two parts; a chest of drawers above and a stand with from one to three drawers below. The early stand, or table, had six legs, four in front and two at the back, united by stretchers running all the way around, just above the floor. Later they were made with four cabriole legs, without stretchers. The earliest highboys had flat tops, with a light molded cornice. The ornamental cornice, with broken arch pediment and finials, formed a decorative finish on the later designs. The highboy remained in use in this country for more than a century and reached its highest development here. The highboys (and lowboys) in the Chippendale style made by Philadelphia cabinet-makers from 1762 to 1776 are among the noteworthy furniture creations of all time.


HOLLY: A wood used for inlaying and for marquetry. It is a hard white wood with a speckled grain.

HONEYSUCKLE: A form of ornament used both by Adam and by Hepplewhite.

HOOD: A shaped top to cabinet work. A bonnet or arch.

HOOF-FOOT: A style of foot often found with the cabriole leg, introduced into England at end of 17th century.

HOOP-BACK: A back of chairs whose uprights and top rail continue in one unbroken arch.

HOROLOGE: Early name given to clocks, derived from the Greek.

HOURGLASS: A shaped top to cabinet work. A bonnet or arch. Used for telling time in both ancient and more modern times. The quantity of sand used required just one hour in passing from one chamber to the other.


HUSK MOTIF: A form of ornament, taken from na ture, generally used in a pendent manner, or in the form of a festoon. A favorite with Adam and with Hepplewhite. First introduced into England in the reign of Charles II.

HUTCH: (French, Huche) A coffer or chest, standing on legs with doors opening in front, instead of a lid on top. In England in the Gothic period it was the dole cupboard or almery, and in Tudor times it was used for storing clothes.