What are Eastlake furniture and what do they look like? Those who want Victorian furnishings without the over-the-top look should make themselves familiar with these kind of pieces.
Eastlake furniture was named after Charles Lock Eastlake, an architect and writer. He designed furniture which are described as having the Early English or Modern English Gothic style. It takes inspiration from medieval and the mild Renaissance eras. This is why the medieval tradition of not using glue to hold the piece together was practiced; its framework consisted of verticals and horizontals (such as posts and rails) together with mortise and tenon. The furnishings, which became popular between 1870 to 1890, are characterized by a rectangular kind of structure: it is simple, geometric and ornament-free. In terms of material, oak and cherry were the usual choices, and the wood grains were often highlighted. As for ornamental carving, those on Eastlake furniture are lightly incised instead of deeply carved.
Eastlake furniture came into existence as strong opposition against Victorian Era furniture, specifically the elaborate and excessive Rococo and Renaissance Revival styles. While it falls under the category of Victorian furniture itself, the pieces made by Eastlake were remarkably different from the lot. To begin with, Eastlake’s creations were devoid of carvings and other classical elements. In his 1868 book “Hints on Household Taste in Furniture, Upholstery and Other Details, ” Eastlake slammed the prevalence of curves in Victorian era furnishings, expressing his extreme dislike for shaping. As a response to the dominant style of that time, he illustrated his designs in the book, showing his readers a traditional rural style that is somewhere between Elizabethan and early Jacobean.
Those who prefer the simple and Gothic touch in Victorian furnishings should look for Eastlake furniture in online antique shops, where they are available.