How To Identify Edwardian Antiques (2024)

Edwardian antiques continue to be a popular choice due to the beautiful designs and craftsmanship showcased within this period. The popularity of this period means that many pieces have been preserved, however, it also means there are a lot of reproductions out there.

Knowing some of the key features and materials to look out for can help you better identify Edwardian antiques and ensure you’re taking the real thing home.

How is Edwardian Furniture Different From Victorian Furniture?

Edwardian furniture tends to be more free-spirited, rejecting the restraint of the previous Victorian period as a result of Edward VII’s love of fashion and the arts. Colours also changed as the style moved away from the darker shades of Victorian furniture toward lighter colours that created a less imposing look.

Whereas a lot of Victorian furniture was quite large, the fact that homes started to become smaller meant that Edwardian furniture did too. Pieces became more compact and ornate, with inlays, carved legs, brass mounts, and satinwood banding all becoming popular once again.

The furniture was also affected by the time, with electric lighting making some designs possible. Lamps with fabric or glass lampshades started to appear, adding a new element to interior design.

Although mahogany was still the ain wood being used in the manufacture of Edwardian furniture, the period mixed different styles in a way that hadn’t been seen before. It integrated elements from different historical periods and countries with new styles. While this created a unique style, it also means that it can often make it difficult to identify Edwardian furniture.

When Was the Edwardian Period in Furniture?

The Edwardian era only lasted for nine years between 1901 and 1910. However, furniture made in the 1980s is also classed as Edwardian furniture even though Queen Victoria was the reigning monarch during this decade.

Despite the fact that the period was short, it has had a large impact on furniture design.

What Colours Were Used in Edwardian Furniture?

Typically, Edwardian furniture has a lighter, less imposing aesthetic. While mahogany was still broadly used, the period also saw lighter materials like bamboo and wicker become popular.

Upholstery was also used less often throughout the period and when it was used, rather than rich and dark fabrics, light colours were more popular. William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement also had a big impact on Edwardian furniture, as did Japanese art. This led to delicate florals becoming more common, along with other elements of nature, such as birds, feathers, and dragonflies.

However, not all colours were light as the period still saw dark green and blues being used across furniture. The difference is that they would team this furniture with lighter coloured walls in their home.

How Can You Tell if Furniture is Edwardian?

The mix of styles and inspirations can mean that it is difficult to highlight aspects that make Edwardian furniture clearly stand out. As with many different styles of antiques, the best option is to familiarise yourself with the marks of makers who were popular during this time period.

Maker’s marks tell you a lot about a piece of furniture, including who made it and when it was made. These marks are often hidden on furniture so as not to affect its aesthetic, so it is worth checking underneath and on the back of pieces for them.

Whereas earlier periods are characterised by handcraftsmanship, the Edwardian era started to see the production of machine-assisted furniture become more common.

While many aspects of the furniture were still produced by hand, machines were used for ease and speed to make things like dovetail joints easier and more even. This means that earlier techniques were still used, but they have the telltale sign of neat machining rather than the uneven finish of handcrafting.

Is Edwardian Furniture a Good Investment?

Edwardian furniture continues to be popular today and good quality or unusual pieces are especially highly sought after. A good example of the period that has been kept in good repair is likely to be a great investment.

On top of this, Edwardian furniture is very attractive and can fit in modern homes well and often better than larger, darker and heavier Victorian pieces.

It is best to look for pieces that haven’t been altered - for example, painted - as this can reduce their value.

How To Identify Edwardian Antiques (2024)


How To Identify Edwardian Antiques? ›

Edwardian furniture tends to be more free-spirited, rejecting the restraint of the previous Victorian period as a result of Edward VII's love of fashion and the arts. Colours also changed as the style moved away from the darker shades of Victorian furniture toward lighter colours that created a less imposing look.

How can you tell if furniture is Edwardian? ›

However, you're able to tell the difference between the two styles simply by walking into the room. The Victorian era produced furniture that was big, bulky, dark, and intimidating; the Edwardian era, on the other hand, produced furniture that was light, airy, portable, and practical.

What are the features of Edwardian furniture? ›

Mahogany was a popular choice for Edwardian furniture; cheaper pieces utilised soft wood which were then stained dark. Lighter materials such as wicker and bamboo were also introduced during this period while a Japanese influence popularised black lacquer and satin finishes.

What years are classed as Edwardian? ›

The Edwardian period from 1901 to 1910 was short and heavily influenced by The Arts and Crafts Movement.

How do I know if my ring is Edwardian? ›

Based on the style and your description of the ring, if it is a genuine antique it is most likely from the Edwardian era. The marquise boat shape of the ring, use of filigree, natural flower and leaf motifs plus the intricate designs, diamonds and platinum metal are all classic hallmarks of Edwardian rings.

How do you know if something is Edwardian? ›

Edwardian furniture tends to be more free-spirited, rejecting the restraint of the previous Victorian period as a result of Edward VII's love of fashion and the arts. Colours also changed as the style moved away from the darker shades of Victorian furniture toward lighter colours that created a less imposing look.

What are the dates for Edwardian furniture? ›

Antique Edwardian Furniture is pieces made during King Edward VII's reign in Britain from 1901 to 1911. This was the era when mass production began in a large scale with the use of new machinery.

What are the elements of Edwardian style? ›

Typical details of Edwardian Baroque architecture include extensive rustication, usually more extreme at ground level, often running into and exaggerating the voussoirs of arched openings (derived from French models); domed corner rooftop pavilions and a central taller tower-like element creating a lively rooftop ...

What are the characteristics of Edwardian? ›

The Edwardian era oversaw a lot of progressive social change. As well as child labour laws being introduced, the Edwardians also saw women's suffrage rise to prominence and the working class becoming an active voice in politics.

What defines Edwardian style? ›

Edwardian houses are 1-1/2 storey with a very steep-pitched front-gabled roof above an integral porch and (typically) saddle-bag dormers. The roof skirt gives a strongly triangular look to the gable and usually frames a sleeping porch.

What do Edwardian houses look like? ›

Edwardian houses are similar to Victorian homes—which came slightly before—in some ways but are overall less ornate and more airy in design. They have a history of being seen as homes for the wealthy and are therefore considered to be grand and ideal for entertaining.

What is the difference between Edwardian and Georgian style? ›

For example, Georgian homes typically have grand rooms with high ceilings, especially on the first and second floors. Victorian homes often feature detailed plasterwork and have bay windows. Edwardian homes usually have light and airy rooms and have the addition of a front garden.

How can I tell if my house is Victorian or Edwardian? ›

Edwardian homes tend to be shorter than Victorian residences, partly because the middle classes who lived in these homes had less of a need for servants, unlike the Georgian the Victorian generations before them. Gone were the cellars and the second floors, but in came larger halls and spacious gardens.

How do I know if my old ring is worth anything? ›

We recommend taking the piece to a jeweler to be tested. They will have professional tests that will determine whether your jewelry is real as well as the purity of the metal itself. A certified appraiser will be able to provide the value of the piece as well.

Are antique rings stamped? ›

A hallmark is a small stamp, branded into a piece of jewellery to tell us more about its beginnings. The concept of marking jewellery in this way can be dated back thousands of years, so it's not unusual for an antique ring to bear hallmarks that provide valuable information about its age, origin and quality.

What is the difference between Edwardian and Art Deco? ›

Design: Look for delicate, flowing designs in Edwardian jewelry versus bold, geometric patterns in Art Deco. Motifs: Floral and romantic motifs suggest Edwardian, while symmetrical and exotic motifs are typical of Art Deco.

How do I know what era my furniture is? ›

Search for any labels, stamps or manufacturing tags underneath or on the back of furniture, or in the drawers. These marks will be able to tell you who made the furniture, where it was manufactured and often the year that it was made.

What are the characteristics of Edwardian interior design? ›

What is Edwardian style décor? Cheerful, elegant, fresh and light is the best way to describe Edwardian interior décor. Pastel colour schemes became fashionable, as well as floral and embossed wallpapers and paintings; largely influenced by Art Nouveau designs.

What does an Edwardian chair look like? ›

Often constructed from mahogany or walnut - favourites of English chairmakers, Edwardian chairs often feature sprung seats, button backs, marquetry and brass casters.

What is the difference between Edwardian and Victorian decor? ›

The interiors of Edwardian properties typically feature high ceilings that create a sense of spaciousness. This design element contrasted with the lower ceilings often found in Victorian houses. Edwardian houses aimed to create brighter and more open interior spaces.

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