On this page you will find a timeline of notable designers of fine English furniture. Further down the page there is an explanation of the designers, what influences they drew from and how they expressed this in their works.
English Furniture Periods Timeline
Gothic – (Early English) -Twelfth- Fifteenth Century
Tudor – House of Tudor 1485-1603
Stuart – House of Stuart 1603-1714
James I – 1603-1625 (Jacobean)
Charles I – 1625-1649 (Carolean)
Commonwealth – 1649-1660 (Cromwellian or Commonwealth)
Charles II – 1660-1685 (Restoration)
James II – 1685-1689 (Restoration)
William and Mary – 1689-1694 (William and Mary)
William III – 1694-1702 (William III or William and Mary)
Anne – 1702-1714 (Queen Anne)
Georgian (Early) – From 1714
George I – 1714-1727
Thomas Chippendale II – 1718-1779
George II – 1727-1760
George Hepplewhite died 1786
Robert Adam – 1728-1792
Thomas Sheraton – 1751-1806
George III – 1760-1820 (Later Georgian)
EMPIRE – 1804-1815
REGENCY – 1811-1820
George IV – 1820-1830
William IV – 1830-1837 (Late Regency or William IV)
Victorian – 1837-1901
Edwardian – 1901-1910
Other notable names
Often referred to as the first significant English architect, Inigo Jones introduced the Classical architectural designs of Italy to Britain. He is known mainly for formula rules of proportion and symmetry inspired by the ideals of Vitruvius. Among examples of his impressive work are The Banqueting House at Whitehall and the layout of Covent Garden Square.
Perhaps the most famous of French cabinet makers and referred to as ‘the father of marquetry’. Boulle is so famous for his craft that his name is now used to describe the art of inlay. ‘Boulle work’ is the process of inlaying wood with metal or tortoiseshell.
Known mainly for his wondrous carvings in wood, Gibbons is responsible for some of the finest examples of carved decoration in Britain. His work can be seen in some of the country’s most important buildings, such as Windsor Castle, Hampton Court, St Paul’s Cathedral, Trinity College Oxford and many more.
The most famous of English clockmakers and a pioneer in the development and improvement of time keeping.
A pre-eminent English architect and designer most widely recognized for championing the Palladian style and bringing it to Britain from the continent. He favoured a natural form of gardening and landscaping and his work can be seen at Stowe House and Holkham Hall.
Founded by Robert Gillow in 1730, Gillows of Lancaster (also known as Gillow & Co.) was an English furniture making firm based in Lancaster and London. It was owned by the Gillow family until 1814 when it was taken over but continued to produce furniture Leaving a legacy of one of the largest archives of any furniture designer means that Gillow pieces can be easily under the same name and later under the name of Waring & Gillows. The name Gillow has always stood for quality and for the highest standards of manufacture. Recognized and can be found in museums and important houses the world over.
Famous for his Mid-Georgian, English Rococo and Neoclassical designs, Chippendale is known for his extremely elaborate and decorative style. He was the first furniture maker to publish his designs on a large scale via his ‘Director’. Due to the popularity of this publication, he soon became one of the most influential and successful furniture designers of his day not only in Britain but throughout Europe and even in America.
Known for his elegant, refined style Sheraton designed furniture that is characterized by its simple, geometric lines. In 1791 he published ‘The Cabinet Maker’s and Upholsterer’s Drawing Book’ which was widely influential. Often featuring contrasting veneers and inlays, Sheraton furniture has a distinctive look that has been widely reproduced particularly in the Edwardian era (Sheraton Revival) due to its timeless and classic look.
An 18th century English furniture maker favouring simple and well-proportioned pieces. Thought to be the inventor of the sideboard; or at least to have aided in its evolution.
Widely believed to have been an apprentice to the famous furniture maker Robert Gillow of Lancaster. Unlike other eminent furniture makers of his time no singular piece can be attributed to Hepplewhite and most of what we know about him is thanks to his ‘Cabinet Maker and Upholsterer’s Guide’ which was published posthumously by his widow Alice. His designs favour simplicity and curves and can most notably be seen in chair backs formed as curves or in shield shapes. Neoclassical motifs are common in his design and it is this movement with which he is most heavily associated.
A Scottish neoclassical architect and designer, Robert Adam came from architectural royalty, his father William Adam, being perhaps the most famous Scottish architect of his day. He began to move away from the Palladian style favoured by William Kent and developed his own lighter style which came to be known as just the ‘Adam Style’. Rather than being strict this new style allowed for a mixture of influences, still mainly classical, to be employed in one project. with his style working in “stylistic coherence” throughout the house, drawing features estabilished in other rooms throughout the house.