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Revival Furniture Styles Popular in the Victorian Era


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Rococo Revival Style, 1845-1865
Rococo Revival sofa by John Henry Belter

Rococo Revival sofa by John Henry Belter, carved solid and laminated rosewood, with varnished chestnut or oak strengthening blocks, American, ca. 1856

Photo © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Furniture of the Rococo Revival period hearkened back to the mid-18th century, and the reign of Louis XV. Made of walnut, mahogany, or rosewood, tables, chairs and sofas have cabriole legs and often feature naturalistic carvings of fruit, flowers, and leaves. Curvaceous shapes ruled: the fronts of dressers are often serpentine-shaped and the corners are rounded; leaf or fruit carved pulls decorate the drawers. The cabinetmaker who put Rococo Revival on the map was John Henry Belter, a New York manufacturer who used a technique of laminating the wood - usually rosewood - and then forming it into the scrolls and curves so beloved by 18th century French designers - though they might have found his lavish use of them a bit de trop.

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