William Morris the man often associated with the Victorian Arts and Crafts movement famously said “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”.
This typified the thinking in Victorian times that furniture should be crafted, beautiful to look at and just as importantly fit for purpose. The latter part of the 19th century was a time when machines were beginning to enable the mass production of many items and materials and the arts and crafts movement drew inspiration from the past when furniture and clothing was handcrafted.
All furniture from the Victorian era would have been handmade making it very expensive relative to the prices you would pay today. However, the materials used to produce it needed to be of high quality to enable craftsmen to carve out intricate designs and produce furniture that was robust enough to survive the rigours of Victorian homes.
Like any artform, masterpieces of furniture were produced, which continue to be sold today for six figures sums for the most coveted pieces but there are plenty of examples on sale for hundred rather than thousands of pounds.
Popular Victorian furniture items include upholstered armchairs, rocking chairs. display cabinets and washstands.