I have a real soft spot for the British Edwardian Era. It is remembered as a time of modernism, optimism, liberated fashion, and a leap forward in the arts—the fine arts, the decorative arts and the performing arts. Both the Arts & Crafts and the Art Nouveau Movements flourished during this period. It was a time of rapid invention: Marconi transmitted "wireless" communication across the Atlantic; recording technology was changing at-home entertainment, electricity was becoming more common in (upperclass) homes, and the Wright Brothers were taking to the air. And one of the largest, most advanced passenger ships in history, the Titanic, was being built for her notorious maiden voyage.
The Edwardian Era provided the United Kingdom with a "re-set" after the incredibly long reign of Queen Victoria (over 63 years, 40 of those in-mourning). Her son, Edward VII, although he was 59 years old when he ascended the throne, brought a more youthful energy to his office. He was fashionable, worldly, and well-connected. And his reign provided a change which paralleled the advancements in the arts, science and society. The Edwardian Era saw an expansion of the Middle Class, people who could enjoy a bit of leisure time for relaxation and a bit of discretionary money to buy a few things they wanted (not just things they needed).
Edward reigned for nine short years (1901-1910)—and his death was followed soon thereafter by the sudden, shocking carnage of World War One, "the war to end all wars." Although the Edwardian Era technically ended with the death of Edward, in practice, it was World War One that stopped-the-clock on the period.
Some historians contend that our rose-colored memory of the Edwardian Era's "golden optimism" is a historical manipulation of the 1920's—a look back to that innocent age, the good ol' days, before the Great War. And perhaps that's true. The Edwardian Era was more than a period of good taste, pleasure and leisure. It was a time when the historically disenfranchised, specifically women and the working class, decided that they were not content to let things remain as they had been for centuries. Women began to push for the vote; workers began to explore (and advocate for) socialism. These groups began to appreciate their strength-in-numbers. And the modernity of the times allowed people to envision a new future for themselves and their children.
Luckily, we do have many remnants of the Edwardian Era , including the armchair shown here. Beautiful and fine inlay give tasteful punctuation to the curvaceous woodwork. The seat is upholstered in rose damask fabric.
Now that I have expanded space at the Antique Center of Strabane, I have begun to seek and buy furniture once again. I've recently acquired this single armchair, made in England around 1905.
I have not listed it in the on-line shop, for its size complicates delivery. However, should you wish to discuss the possibility of purchasing and shipping the chair, please call me at 917-446-4248. You may also reach me though the website's Contact feature (click here).
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248