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College for Appraisers
Furniture I – Antiquity to the Neo-Classical Period
24 Hour Course – On Campus and Distance Learning

This course examines the history of furniture as it reflects the history of human invention and expansion. The story begins with examination of Egyptian, Greek and Roman forms and styles, and then careful attention to the artistic vision and achievements of Renaissance, Baroque (15th – 17th Centuries), Rococo and Neo-Classical periods. Examples are mainly European – Italy, France, Germany, England—with emphasis on developing familiarity and mastery of features and styles and also to understand how these styles continued to influence the eclectic furniture of the Victorian era and later revivals.

This course is designed to instill appreciation of history of furniture design and also to prepare students to recognize furniture still available in the current marketplace. Special attention is given to develop skills and judgments to identify, research, evaluate and value furniture including study of woods, wood working techniques and furniture construction.

Participants will learn appreciation of furniture history, style and design; develop the skills and competencies to research, identify, and evaluate furniture for purposes of appraisal and collection.

This course includes two exams and three written appraisal reports. Grades are based on A (90 – 100); B (80 – 89); C (70 – 79); D (60-69)

Furniture I – Antiquity to the Neo-Classical Period,
College for Appraisers
Introduction to Furniture: The Development of Form and Style, Thomas R. Field and Ann Kelly, College for Appraisers, 1996.
Video Lectures

Recommended Texts
Our course materials are intended to integrate and coordinate among the many excellent furniture books available. We recommend the following:
Encyclopedia of Furniture, 3d Ed., Joseph Aronson, Random House, 1961
Bullfinch Anatomy of Antique Furniture, An Illustrated Guide to Identifying Period, Detail, and Design, Tim Forrest and Paul Atterbury, Bulfinch Press
How to be a Furniture Detective, Fred Taylor
Miller’s Antique Checklist – Furniture, Judith and Martin Miller, Antique Collectors Club, Ltd, 1991
New Fine Points of Early American Furniture: Good, Better, Best, Superior, Masterpiece, Albert Sock, Crown Publishers, 1993
Furniture Treasures, Wallace Nutting


Terms and Nomenclature

Classical Antiquity
Styles and Motifs

  • Egyptian
  • Greek
  • Roman

Furniture Construction and Nomenclature

History and Styles
  • Dark and Middle Ages
  • Byzantine, Romanesque, Gothic Tudor, Elizabethan
  • Renaissance, Louis XIII, Baroque, Louis XIV
  • Rococo, Louis XV, Regency, Chippendale, Louis XVI
  • Neo-Classical, Directoire, Empire
  • American Colonial Furniture, William and Mary, Duncan Phyfe
  • Learning to recognize reproductions, marriages and fakes

Specific Focus: England
Forms, Motifs
Great Designers
  • Chippendale
  • Adam
  • Hepplewhite
  • Sheraton

Specific Focus: Neo-Classical Period Europe
  • Forms and Motifs
  • Materials
  • Decoration

Specific Focus: The American Colonies 1620 – 1830
  • Forms and Motifs
  • William & Mary
  • Duncan Phyfe
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