Sheraton (1780-1820)

Sheraton is a neoclassical style characterized by delicate straight lines, light construction, contrasting veneers, and neoclassical motifs and ornamentation. It is named for English designer Thomas Sheraton who published his designs in “The Cabinet Makers and Upholsterers Drawing Book” in 1791. It was the most reproduced style in the United States during the Federal period.



Graceful and Refined – Elegant appearance.(Federal style shown)

Chair Arms

Slopes to front posts – Arms slope down to meet posts from the seat.

Chair Back Material

Upholstered – Cushioned and fabric covered.
Wood – Solid wood, horizontal slats, vertical slats, or vertical splats.

Chair Back Shape

Banister – Three to six vertical turned slats in the shape of a baluster, flat on the front and round on the back.
Crosspiece – Single flat vertical slat.
Lattice – Openwork or decorative carving of crossed strips of wood, often oriental in appearance.
Rectangular or Square – Rectilinear design with a solid or central splat.
Urn – Urn-shaped central splat.

Chair Leg

Curule – X-shaped curved legs.
Reeded – Rounded decorative grooved or molding.
Round – Round, usually shaped or turned leg.
Simple turning – Turned leg with a few types of turnings.
Splayed – Leg with a concave shape.
Square – Flat surfaced leg on all sides.
Straight – Straight leg, vertical to chair seat.
Tapered – Straight leg gradually decreasing in width.
Tapered Turning – Turned leg with a slender, tapered appearance.

Chair Seat Material

Cane – Woven rattan.
Upholstered – Cushioned and covered with fabric.

Chair Seat Shape

Curved – Circular or round seat.
Horseshoe – Horseshoe shaped seat with a rounded front.

Drawer Pull

Lion Head Ring Pull – Lion’s head with ring pull attached through mouth, usually in brass.
Oval Stamped Brass Back Plate with Bail – Oval back plate of stamped brass with conforming handle. The size varies from 3 to 4 inches wide by 2 to 2.5 inches high.
Rectangular Plate with Bail – Rectangular back plate of solid stamped brass, often with canted corners and an oval bail handle. The size varies from 3 to 4 inches wide to 2 to 2.5 inches high .
Rosette – Round 2-inch knob in the shape of a flower, usually in brass or glass.


Brocade – Rich, heavily woven fabric with a raised design, often with gold or silver thread.
Damask – Medium weight, glossy fabric with a reversible pattern and a figured intricate weave, often of linen, cotton, silk, or wool.
Hair Cloth – Stiff, open weave fabric made from animal hair, often camel or horse hair.


Gilding – Gold leaf.
Oil Varnish – Clear finish that emphasized the grain of the wood.
Paint – Opaque, pigmented finish that obscures the grain of the wood.


Continuation of leg – Leg does not terminate into a foot.
Paw or Claw – Carved animal paw or claw.
Spade – Flat or rounded foot, wider than leg and then tapering.

Hardware Material

Brass – Yellowish metal made from copper and zinc.


Dovetail – An interlocking wood joint in which a series of wedge-shaped projections fits into a series of alternating grooves.


Straight – Straight lines.


Acanthus leaf – Conventionalized leaf.
Circle – A spherical shape.
Drapery Swag – Loosely folded cloth.
Floral – Flowers, such as roses, sunflowers, and tulips.
Foliage – Leaves or vines.
Honeysuckle – Plant with small colorful flowers.
Lattice – Interlaced, openwork resembling crossed strips shaped sell.
Lyre – Small harp-like musical instrument.
Plume – Feather-like figure.
Scroll – Form that resembles a roll of parchment paper.
Shell – Fan-shaped shell.
Star – Figure having five or six symmetrically projecting points.
Urn – Vase-shaped figure.


Banding – Thin strips of contrasting veneer used as a decorative border or edging.
Carving – Cutting or chipping the surface of wood to create a shape or design.
Fluting – Carved or molded vertical channels.
Inlay – Contrasting material set into the surface of wood to create a shape or design.
Marquetry – Combinations of veneer used to create pictures or patterns.
Reeding – Parallel lines of rounded molding.
Stenciling – Painting through a template to create a shape or design on the underlying wood surface.


Slender – Graceful and delicate dimensions.(Duncan Phyfe style shown)


Slender – Graceful use of stretchers.(Hepplewhite style shown)


Amboyna Veneer – Golden-brown hardwood from the West Indies with a bird’s eye figure.
Cedar – Golden to red-brown American softwood.
Cherry – Red-brown American hardwood.
Goncalo Alves – Red-brown hardwood with dark brown streaks from Central and South American.
Mahogany – Red-brown South American and African hardwood.
Mahogany Veneer – Red-brown South American and African hardwood, used in thinly sliced sheets.
Maple – Golden to Red-brown American hardwood with a wide range of figures.
Maple Veneer – Golden to Red-brown American hardwood with a wide range of figures, used in thinly sliced sheets.
Rosewood Veneer – Purple-brown South American hardwood with black streaks that can be highly polished.
Satinwood Veneer – Light yellow to golden brown Indian hardwood that is highly figured, has a close grain, and can be highly polished.
Tulipwood – Pink-yellow South American hardwood with red striping used in inlays; also known as pinkwood.
Zebrawood – Golden brown African hardwood with dark brown striping.