The History of Gothic Furniture

Gothic furniture is experiencing a revival of interest with interior designers and consumers. There has been a revival in the demand for furniture items like Gothic seating, tables and storage cabinets. The embellished appearance of such furniture items adds to the classic appeal of the home. Solid hardwood, common to most Gothic furniture items, presents a sturdy construction. However, it is essential that you are educated about the basics of Gothic furniture history to understand the significance of owning such valued creations.

Understanding Gothic Furniture History

To be precise, Gothic furniture creations belong to the Gothic period prevalent between the latter half of the 12th century to the mid-16th century, i.e. from 1150 to 1550. This period is regarded as the phase of authentic or "Old World" Gothic furniture creations. Furniture items from this era are regarded as the most prized Gothic furniture antiques. Gothic furniture lost its identity during the Renaissance period that started gaining momentum in 16th century.

New Gothic Furniture — Gothic art, including furniture designing was rediscovered during the 19th century, i.e. the Victorian era. As a result, Gothic furniture creations saw a revival between 1840 and 1860. This is also called the era of Gothic Revival. Wooden fixtures belonging to this period are grouped under New Gothic Furniture. This style was originally introduced in the American colonies. However, it quickly became popular throughout Europe. It is this type of Gothic Furniture, i.e. with a Victoria aura, that is the used as a stylish-yet-functional addition in many households 

Evolution of Gothic Furniture

Gothic Furniture was heavily influenced by Roman and Medieval architecture styles. Initial Gothic designs weren’t very different from classical Roman designs but they gradually evolved into an individual form of expression. Gothic furniture evolved as a part of the Gothic architectural history that is known for creating magnificent churches. The hallmark of Gothic architecture is the use of embellished, carved-out surfaces. This can be seen in Gothic furniture items too. From the 12th to the 13th century, Gothic furniture creations were a medium of expressing one’s opulence. It was only around the 14th century that Gothic furniture gained a more functional construction. This paved the way for their worldwide popularity. 

Gothic Wood Furniture Features

Increased Durability — Gothic Furniture style stressed upon using various durable varieties of hardwood. Commonly used wood types included oak, walnut, rosewood, cherry and mahogany. Chair backs were added to the seating area to reduce daily wear and tear. Feet were added to chests. This allowed easy movement without affecting the spine of the construction.

Greater Space — The use of multiple sideboards was introduced to create more storage space. Most Gothic cupboards provided two tiers of storage areas. Cupboards were enclosed with doors that used a basic hinge system. This was a major improvement over traditional 12th century furniture items that provided little storage space. The storage capacity was further increased by creating spacious chests and space within legs of top-heavy furniture.

Elaborate Carvings — Decorating the surface with intricate foliage and motif designs is common to most Gothic furniture items. Carvings of plants like vines, grapes and maple leaves is characteristic of this style. The Victorian-styled Gothic designs used a typical ball-and-flower formation at the center that was surrounded by floral motifs. In some cases, the motifs were replaced by small, checkered panels. The more expensive Gothic wooden items present a honeycomb network on the surface.