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Queen Anne: Furniture During the Reign of one of Britain’s Greatest Monarchs 

Queen Anne was born in 1665 to the Duke of York and his first wife Anne Hyde.  Early life was not easy for the future queen of Great Britain and Ireland.  Following the Act of Settlement and the death of her brother-in-law, William III, she reigned from 1702 until her death in 1714, and was to be the last monarch of the House of Stuart.

Queen Anne’s reign represented a period of progress for Britain, seeing England and Scotland united to form Great Britain and a strong military power established, leading to political and economic growth during the ‘golden age’ of the 18th century.  Despite sexist prejudices against women, the Queen presided over the government with many achievements, and created a political and economic stability that allowed for a period of artistic, scientific and economic advancement like no other.

Queen Anne’s lifestyle was portrayed in 2018 in the film, The Favourite, starring Olivia Coleman. It was filmed at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, with some scenes also shot at Hampton Court Palace.   One can see interiors filled with period furniture, decorations and fine art that bring the living environment of Queen Anne and her court to life.  Architecture and furniture were named after her and demonstrate the influence she had.

Which leads us to the reason we are talking about Queen Anne today. The furniture in our upcoming sale is made primarily of walnut, some of which was harvested in England and some presumably from North America, imported from the colonies at the time.  Walnut, prized by joiners and cabinet makers for its magnificent figuring and strength, could be carefully cut into veneers with brilliant patterns and used as inlay, or drawer and cabinet fronts.

Later in Queen Anne’s reign, walnut became plagued with a widespread blight and an Act of Parliament called for the ban of cutting walnut trees, which made other woods, including satinwood and fruit woods, more popular.  However, walnut furniture has been prized by collectors for over a hundred and fifty years for its colour, figure and patina, and there are more examples in this sale than we have had in our twenty year history.

Time & Location

The English Interior
Wednesday, February 10 at 11am ONLINE

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