Victorian (1840-1910)

The Victorian style draws its influence from gothic forms with heavy proportions, dark finish, elaborate carving, and ornamentation. It is named for Queen Victoria of England who reigned from 1837-1901 and was the first furniture style of mass production.



Formal – Elaborately detailed, somber appearance.(Victorian style shown)

Chair Arms

Curved – Arms curved outward.

Chair Back Material

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

Chair Back Shape

Balloon – Balloon-shaped chair back, rounded at the top and tapering to the seat.

Chair Leg

Elaborate turning – Turned leg with multiple types of turnings.
Restrained Cabriole – Cabriole leg with a rather straight shape.
Round – Round, usually shaped or turned leg.

Chair Seat Material

Upholstered – Cushioned and covered with fabric.

Chair Seat Shape

Curved – Circular or rounded seat.
Horseshoe – Horseshoe shaped seat with a rounded front.
Horseshoe Arch with Serpentine Front – Horseshoe shaped seat with a serpentine front.
Square – Square shaped seat.

Drawer Pull

Carved Wood (Ornate) – Carved wood handle, often in the shape of fruit or leaves. The size varies from 4 to 7 inches wide.
Glass Knob – Mushroom-shaped or round glass knob, often clear or iridescent.
Rosette – Round 2-inch knob in the shape of a flower, usually in brass or glass.
Wooden Mushroom-Shaped Knob – Mushroom-shaped wooden knob, often 1 inch high and 1.5 to 2.5 inches in diameter.


Braid – Woven strips of cloth.
Hair Cloth – Stiff, open weave fabric made from animal hair, often camel or horse hair.
Needlepoint – A type of counted thread embroidery in which yarn is stitched through an open canvas weave.
Plush – Fabric with a deep pile, often velvet.
Tapestry – Heavy weight fabric with decorative designs.
Velour – Cloth with a short thick pile, usually made from mercerized cotton, silk, or mohair.
Velvet – Woven pile fabric that is soft and sturdy, often made of silk with blends of cotton, nylon, and rayon.


Gilding – Gold leaf.
Oil Varnish – Clear finish that emphasized the grain of the wood.


Ball and Claw – Carved claw grasping a ball.
Continuation of leg – Leg does not terminate into a foot.
Whorl – Small round foot with a coiled appearance.

Hardware Material

Glass – Transparent to translucent.
Wood – Various types of wood, carved or turned.


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


Cyma or S-Curve – S-shaped curve, partly concave and partly convex.
Straight – Straight lines.


Foliage – Leaves or vines.
Scroll – Form resembling a roll of parchment paper.


Carving – Cutting or chipping the surface of wood to create a shape or design.
Fretwork – Decorative carving or openwork with interlacing lines.
Inlay – Contrasting material set into the surface of wood to create a shape or design.
Spindle – Turned pieces split vertically, often affixed to the front of case furniture.


Heavy – Sturdy, thick dimensions.(Chippendale style shown)


Moderate – Moderately proportioned stretchers.(William and Mary style shown)


Ash – Whitish-gray American hardwood with similar graining to oak.
Black Walnut – Dark brown American hardwood with a wide range of figures.
Butternut – Medium brown American hardwood, often stained to resemble black walnut.
Maple – Golden to Red-brown American hardwood with a wide range of figures.
Oak – Gray-brown American hardwood.
Rosewood Veneer – Purple-brown South American hardwood with black streaks that can be highly polished.