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Dutch Furniture

The history of Dutch furniture is closely allied to English furniture making, and especially to English furnishing, and in the chapter on the Age of Walnut Dutch influence is referred to, showing the way in which the Dutch furniture makers supplied English buyers with furniture during the close of the Stuart period and during the early days of William and Mary.

Dutch makers were influenced by the Renaissance just the same as wood-workers in the Netherlands and in other Continental countries. The wood-workers of Holland had gained much reputation by the splendid carvings of their churches and town halls. Their domestic furniture, too, had received attention, and its makers had caught the same inspirations. They understood the true spirit of the Gothic style, and in a similar way as time went on they learned to make the most of the art of the Renaissance. The furniture which may be regarded as typical of their best efforts was made by Flemish artists and shipped to England and other countries. Dutch merchants became the patrons of Dutch wood-workers, and as traders were becoming wealthy in the early seventeenth century they employed them to carve the furniture for the imposing dwellings then springing up in Holland. The time soon came when Dutch furniture, even of a less elaborate character, gained notoriety for its excellent qualities and ornamental finish, and many fine pieces crossed over to England as the household treasures and heirlooms of the families which came over with William and Mary.

Among the Huguenot refugees, who were compelled to leave their country in 1685 on the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, were many skilled cabinet-makers. Some settled in Holland, others in England, and they did much to inspire Dutch artists.

The Dutch furniture which has gained the greatest notoriety among the present-day collectors is the remark able marqueterie which changed in form in England after the death of Queen Mary. The Dutch inlays of ivory and mother-of-pearl also marked another stage in the decorative enrichment. Unfortunately many pieces of the so - called Dutch marqueterie offered in curio shops to-day are merely copies or duplicates. The fakers have been at work in every direction. Old Dutch furniture of poor appearance and of no special value has been covered with modern marqueterie of still poorer workmanship. The great revival in art which affected so many countries undoubtedly left its mark among the wood-workers of Holland.

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

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