How To Tell If Antique English Furniture Is Authentic.

How to tell if antique English furniture is authentic.



Antiques are old collectible items that represent a previous era in human society. They usually show a degree of craftsmanship and are desired because of their age, rarity and unique features. Antiques are frequently used for the sake of symbolic beauty, and antique furniture has the added bonus of having some functional use, along with their aesthetic value.

There are many types of English antique furniture the earliest furniture was mostly practical and did not have many decorations. However, in the past few centuries, furniture was used as an early status symbol, and used to reflect the status and lifestyle of wealthy homeowners. So, owning English antique furniture these days is an investment. With antique furniture being so valuable, it is imperative to be able to identify furniture and tell if it an antique.


Antique furniture includes chairs, beds, storage cupboards, cabinets, chests of drawers, bookcases, desks, various types of tables, mirrors and so on. Most of these are made of solid wood. Oak was used prior to 1700, with mahogany and walnut being used dominantly afterwards. Other valuable antique furniture can also be found in maple and cherry. Certain furniture may have only been produced in limited quantities, making them even more valuable.

Back in the day, furniture components were not machine-cut, so a thorough examination of your piece of furniture, for tell-tale signs is one way to identify if it is an antique or not. Older pieces of furniture required the use of hand tools such as planes and draw-knives which leave nicks and marks in the wood, so look out for these. Look for signs of newness, such as smooth surfaces and uniform colouring, which indicates that the piece of furniture is more modern that is stated.

Another point to note is that true antiques do not often display exact symmetrical designs; this is because it is impossible to achieve such work solely by hand. Small mistakes are bound to occur with antique pieces, with some parts not being uniform or identical. So look for signs of age, such as hairline cracks, ripples, and normal wear and tear.

Antiques can also be identified by their finish. Back in the day, oil, wax and milk paint were used as a finish for all types of furniture, and was eventually replaced by Shellac in the 1800s. More recent pieces, in 20th century use lacquer and varnish as finishes, and this is useful to help date furniture. So, by testing for various finishes, you can find out whether you are looking at something really made in the 17th or 18th century.

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