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Jacobean Furniture

King James I ascended the throne after the death of Queen Elizabeth and this marked the beginning of a new era known as the Jacobean era. Since Jacobean period began immediately after the end of the Tudor dynasty, it was only natural that there would be heavy influence of thoughts and culture on the Jacobean society.

The same can be said to be the case in respect of furniture during Jacobean era. During the early years of Jacobean period, furniture style remained almost the same as the Elizabethan style. However, with change in times, different furniture styles emerged.

Jacobean Furniture

Jacobean Furniture


Jacobean furniture was heavy, strong and was extremely durable. Oak was mainly used to make the furniture pieces. Pine and Walnut were also used to make furniture. Chairs, tables, stools, beds, chests, etc were some of the furniture that could be found in every house. Some changes in the making of the furniture are peculiar to the Jacobean era.

For instance, during this era, the idea of long tables was also introduced. Women found it particularly difficult to adjust themselves in the chairs with their heavy dresses. So, to tackle the problem Farthingale chairs were introduced so that the women could sit in the chairs with ease.

Jacobean furniture wood

Jacobean artists mainly used oak as the primary material for their furniture, but other woods such as pear tree wood, lime and cherry were used as well. Cypress tree was preferred for making chests.

Jacobean era furniture

Jacobean Chairs

Chairs displayed a wide range of shapes. For instance, the seats were rectangular and their backs were straight. The legs of tables and chairs were perpendicular. Earlier, the legs of the tables were bulb-shaped. The ‘X’ shaped chair was a typical feature of the Jacobean period.

Jacobean chairs design
Jacobean chairs 17th century

What is a Jacobean prayer chair?

The term Jacobean has Ecclesiastical associations because it originated from Jacobus in Latin which meant James in English. The chairs used in the churches for prayers had high perpendicular backs with rich colour and cushions with beautiful embroidery.

Jacobean Tables

The Jacobean tables were made of oak, quite similar to Elizabethan tables. They were broad and had bulb-turned legs initially. Later the legs became simple baluster ones. The rails had arabesque designs or lunette patters.

Folding tables were also introduced later which were large in size. They had extended flaps on the sides that could be opened and the area of the table increased. At times, these tables had fifteen to twenty legs. Woods from pear tree and oak were used to make the tabletop.

Jacobean table

The legs had curved and bulbed designs of Dutch fashion.

Jacobean Beds

The Jacobean beds were similar to the ones from the Tudor times. The huge traditional Four-posted beds from the Elizabethan times were still the most popular and regarded with high esteem.

Jacobean dining room furniture
Jacobean dining room furniture

What is Jacobean Revival Furniture?

The Jacobean furniture that originated in 1600 England was not simple or minimalist in style. Extremely ornate and intricate in design, the Jacobean furniture had delicate wood carvings, massive sizes and beautiful style elements.

Jacobean Furniture Value

One of the special features of Jacobean furniture was the use of upholstery on furniture like chairs. Gateleg table was a Jacobean invention. These were made either in circular, rectangular or elliptical shapes. During this period, the embellishment gradually became simpler and smaller, chests of drawers took the place of chests.

Jacobean Furniture

Even the drawers and knobs were carved to give it a new look. A chair known as the Farthingale chair was made particularly for women. During the late Jacobean, chairs with leather and embroidered seats were imported from France.

Jacobean Furniture

Jacobean Furniture Major design

The style of Jacobean beds remained more or less similar to the Elizabethan era. The designs were simple. Cupboards and Chests of the Jacobean period were beautifully carved. Table designs of the Jacobean era underwent certain crucial changes. Firstly, the width of the table was increased and secondly, the tabletop could be folded into two parts.

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