Reinterpreting Eastlake: Late 19th Century Furniture Styles

dc.contributor.advisorFitzgerald, Oscar
dc.contributor.authorHouseholder, Katherine
dc.creatorHouseholder, Katherine
dc.description.abstractIt has been accepted that Charles Locke Eastlake through his book, Hints on Household Taste in Furniture, Upholstery, and Other Details influenced the manufacture of furniture in the late nineteenth century. The immense success of the book in the United States led to a furniture style being called “Eastlake” in the 1870s. Beginning in the twentieth century, the name “Eastlake” was used by historians to describe almost any manufacture of furniture between 1870 and 1890, but the Eastlake style as defined by authors, critics and commentators at the time was very narrowly defined in the 1870s. At that time, the Eastlake style was known and understood as synonymous with the modern Gothic aesthetic, influenced by English Gothic architecture and furniture from the mediaeval era. The Eastlake style of furniture in America was but one of many different styles that rose and fell in popularity between 1870 and 1890. The different styles were all part of the burgeoning “art furniture” movement rooted in the teachings of English architect, A.W.N. Pugin and philosopher, John Ruskin, who, in the nineteenth century, preached that furniture must be honestly and properly constructed in combination with a pleasing design. Charles Eastlake promoted the cause of artistic furniture in his book. In the late 1870s, the discussion of art and artistic manufacture was taken up in the guise of the Aesthetic Movement in England. As the 1870s neared a close, the Eastlake style declined, but in its stead another style arose linked in some ways to the Eastlake style, but incorporating influences from a far different aesthetic. The so-called Queen Anne revival style arose in the mid-1870s and remained popular into the mid-1880s. Its forms and ornament were based on a wide range of characteristics from architecture and furniture of the Jacobean seventeenth century to the Georgian and neo-classical styles of the early nineteenth century. Largely forgotten in design histories in America, the American Queen Anne revival style of furniture was very eclectic and encompassed a wide variety of interpretations in the all-encompassing style. Its one defining characteristic was the use of spindles and spindle balustrades in furniture. Spindles, widely associated today with Eastlake furniture, were not found on the mediaeval inspired forms of the early to mid- 1870s in the United States. Both American styles were influenced by British architecture and furniture through many avenues including trade journals, design publications and international exhibitions during the nineteenth century. This study will show that the American Eastlake style and Queen Anne revival style in furniture were distinct and separate aesthetics in the late nineteenth century in the context of the rise of art furniture and a multitude of other furniture styles.
dc.titleReinterpreting Eastlake: Late 19th Century Furniture Styles
dc.typeThesis of Decorative Arts Mason University's of Arts in History of Decorative Arts


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