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Furniture (J) - Encylopedia Of Antiques

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JACOBEAN PERIOD (1603-1688): Includes Jacobean Period (proper) from 1603 to 1649, Cromwellian period 1649 to 1660, and the Carolean period 1660 to 1688. The furniture of the early Jacobean period retained the general characteristics of the preceding periods, but Flemish and Dutch arts and manufactures were influential in forming what is known as the Jacobean style. The term is derived from Jacobus, the Latin for James. Furniture was stout and staunch, even to clumsiness, severe in form and line and replete with ornament, much of which was discontinued during the Cromwellian days. As a rule it was put together with mortise and tenon, and held in place with dowels. Chairs were comparatively scarce. They usually had arms and they were seats of great dignity. The characteristic chair of early 17th century was the wainscot chair with a cresting across the top. Oak was still the favored wood. At the time of the Commonwealth, chairs with spirally turned legs and low, open backs appeared with either caning or vertical balusters or slats. Bun or ball feet with under-bracing generally used. It was not until after the Restoration in 1660 that chairs became the usual seat at the table for meals. At the end of the Carolean period, chairs with Flemish "C" and "S" scrolled legs, stretchers and top rail were common. Tables in considerable variety appeared, notably the gatelegged type; the cupboard in different sizes, and for a variety of purposes, was a favorite piece of furniture during the last half of the century. It was an article of both convenience and ceremony.

From 1660 onward, Restoration influences, essentially foreign, wrought a vast change in the fashion and forms of English furniture. At first, oak was the staple material used, superseded by walnut after 1660. This last was a more suitable medium for the scrolls, twists and curves then coming into fashion. Other native woods were also used occasionally. Glass began to be used for mirrors, doors of book-cases and other furniture. Carving, inlay; veneer, turning, painting, gilding, paneling, applied ornament and upholstering in brocades, velvets and needle-point were all used in processes of decoration during the progress of the period. The furniture of the American Colonies reflected many of the styles of the mother country.

JAPANNED FURNITURE: Japanned or lacquered furniture was popular in this country first half of 18th century, although seldom found at the present time. Presumably the japanned surface has either been removed or it has worn off with the passage of time. This method of decorating furniture was popular in England latter part of the 17th century and continued in vogue intermittently throughout the 18th century. Amateur japanning was a veritable rage in early Georgian times.

JAPANNING: The name given to imitation lacquer work in the early days of its use in England. Its derivation is obvious. Lacquered furniture from the East had become very popular and English craftsmen took this method of supplying the demand. In late 18th century it meant applying a ground coat of paint on which the decoration was laid and treated with a coat of thin varnish. The j apanned surface was then rubbed with pumice and the final polish given to it by the palm of the hand. A very brilliant polish may be thus secured which is more durable than ordinary painted or varnish work. See LACQUER.

JOINER: The early craftsman who became the cabinet-maker (q.v.) of more modern times. In the 16th century he was known as arkwright. The joiner's work of the 17th century stands unequaled for solidity and for adherence to sound principles. The mortise and tenon joint is an example of his work.

JOINTS: The early joiners made use of various methods in joining together parts of furniture. Screws were unknown to them and nails and glue were seldom used. Wooden pins and dowels were common. For corners, posts and rails, mortiseand-tenon and dovetailing made firm joints. For joining boards for chests, paneling, etc., the tongue-and-groove, the rabbet, the mortise-and-tenon and doweling were all used at times when a plain butt joint would not answer.