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Furniture (WXYZ) - Encylopedia Of Antiques

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Other Encyclopedias: [Biography]  [Clocks And Watches]  [Furntiure]  [Glass]  [Metals]  [Pottery And Porcelain]  [Textiles] 

WAG-ON-THE-WALL CLOCKS: These were of Dutch origin, sometimes called Friesland clocks. See CLOCKS, Grandfather's.

WAINSCOT: The name derives from the Danish "Wagenschot" and it was originally a plain wall boarding, which was later paneled. In England, it was customary to use oak, much of which was imported from Norway and Denmark, hence the name, and in this country in Colonial times pine was generally used.



WALL PAPER: Paper was used for wall covering in England even before the importations from China and Japan in the 17th century. During the 18th century paper, both printed and painted, competed with woven fabrics for wall coverings. In this country paper for the purpose was obtained from England as early as 1700, and most of the wall paper used here, prior to the 19th century, was imported. The earliest process of manufacture in America was that accomplished by hand-block printing.

WALNUT: The use of walnut as a wood for furniture may be said to have begun during the Cromwellian period and much extended in the reign of Charles II. Before that time oak was usually chosen for both furniture and paneling. The replacement of oak by walnut revolutionized both design and processes. For sheer refinement, furniture made of walnut in the Queen Anne period has never been excelled. It was much used for veneering and, except for chairs, furniture of solid walnut is very rare. In America the walnut used for furniture was either the black walnut of New England or the curly figured walnut of a deep rich color found on the banks of the Schuylkill River in Pennsylvania. This last seems never to have been found elsewhere, and it was much used by the Philadelphia cabinet-makers of the 18th century. The supply was long ago exhausted. Beside the English walnut, there are the French, Dutch, Spanish and Italian, each variety possessing marked differences in texture, color and figure.

WARDROBE: An English piece of furniture of the Queen Anne period, derived from the Dutch kas (q.v.) and used for the storage of clothing. The lower part consisted of three or four drawers and the upper part was fitted with shelves and hooks for hanging clothing, with double doors in front covering the shelves. They were usually made of oak and pine veneered and frequently inlaid with marquetry. They were about seven feet in height and five feet in width and nearly two feet in depth.

WASH STANDS: Also called basin stands. These were of middle 18th-century design, to hold the bowl and pitcher, in chambers. They were either square in form or triangular with a rounded front, to stand in the corner. They were supported by three or four square tapering legs, splayed out at bottom, or sometimes with turned legs, and they were usually fitted with a drawer. They followed the wig stands (q.v.).

WAX FINISH: A satisfactory wax may be made by using one-half pound of yellow beeswax, one-half pint of turpentine and one-half pint boiled linseed oil, mixing together in a double boiler. In heating, be careful, as the ingredients are inflammable. Add a small quantity of burnt umber to give the desired brown tone. Three or four well-rubbed coats of this wax, with intervals to dry in a warm room, will give a soft dull finish. Avoid applying too much wax at one time.

WEB FOOT: A style of foot following the clubfoot and preceding the claw-and-ball foot.

WIG STANDS: These were not stands for wigs, but basin stands with a glass attached, before which wigs could be adjusted and powdered in the 18th century.

WILLIAM AND MARY PERIOD (1688-1702): This period is important as marking, on the one hand, an almost complete revolution from the forms and principles of preceding times, and on the other, a crystallization into forms that endured through much of the 18th century. There came into England foreign influences from France and Italy, Holland and Spain, China and India. Daniel Marot (q.v., PART 6) was the leading spirit in the change in styles during this period. Dutch and French styles were everywhere in vogue, and lacquer, marquetry, painting, gilding and upholstery stuffs were gorgeous in color. Greater simplicity of form, grace of proportion and comfort were held to be of more account than dexterity of carving. The inverted cup leg is a distinguishing feature of this period, although the cabriole leg originated before the end of the period. Chair backs were "spooned" to fit the contour of the body or slanted backward slightly; and tables were made for cards, tea, writing, etc., for the first time. Two-section chests of drawers with bracket or bun feet became "tallboys" with flat tops, and the lowboys were used for small dressing tables. The beds were exceedingly tall, with slender posts and elaborate hangings. The knee-hole desk, and the secretary or book-case desk with hooded top made their appearance, also china cabinets with glass doors. The use of brass mounts began in this period. Walnut was the favorite wood, although oak and other woods continued to be used to some extent. Burl or crotch walnut veneer was in favor for decorative fronts. Needlework upholstery became popular for chair seats, settees and stools, and damasks, brocades and velvets were also used. These marked changes in style, design and purposes for which furniture was used persisted throughout the Queen Anne period, and reached America in due time and appear in the work of the craftsmen of the period, here.


WINE COOLERS: In the 18th century before the sideboard of Shearer was designed, the sideboard table was flanked at each end by square pedestals, with compartments for wine bottles and ice, zinc-lined and with a faucet at bottom for drawing off water from melted ice. The pedestals were surmounted by the knife boxes. Another style, called cellaret, was made to be set beneath the table or early sideboard.





YARN WINDERS: A contrivance for winding yarn, usually in windlass form, with six spokes and mounted on a platform with short legs.

YEW: A wood of very ancient use in England. It is hard, elastic and of a reddish brown tone. In the 16th century it was used for country-made pieces of furniture, and for veneer work in the 17th and 18th centuries.


ZEBRA WOOD: A wood of light brown color, strongly marked with deep brown. It was imported from Guiana and employed for veneering, late 18th century. Beautiful in markings, but infrequently seen.