Norwegian Antique Furniture

Romanesque designs and other primitive forms are largely associated with the early furniture of Norway. These were continued, combined with features of Renaissance and Baroque designs, into the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Compositions often paralleled Swedish provincial examples. The tree-trunk chair, or knubstol, a form which is occasionally represented in English and American collections today, was commonly made up to modern times.

Outside influences penetrated to Norway during the Baroque and Rococo periods as a result of trade relations with Sweden, Denmark, Holland and North Germany. Designs patterned after those of England and France are generally supplemented by features which are readily discernible as Scandinavian work, though more difficult to define as Norwegian.

With the appearance of Classic designs, Norwegian chair backs sometimes followed styles associated with the George III period, and occasionally reflected some French influence. However, like other Scandinavian work, underframes were often molded or turned in rather simple fashions.

Throughout all periods Norwegian fmniture was painted and decorated with typically Scandinavian figural ornament, plant forms, names, initials, and dates of marriages or fabrication.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century appreciable progress occurred in the styling of Norwegian productions. During this time there was little influence from England or France, as the Empire and Biedermeier modes developed along typically Scandinavian and North German lines.

Norwegian mirrors, modeled after Danish designs of the so-called Queen Anne and Georgian types, were comprised of molded and arched frames surmounted by fret-scrolled crestings. Veneered examples were accompanied by others in painted lacquer finishes, and followed by varying oval shapes finished in flat paint and gilding.

During the second half of the eighteenth century, and through the Regency period, furniture was imported from England for the more important Norwegian homes, though Danish and Swedish productions were received in greater quantities.

The closest approximations of English designs occurred in native furniture produced on the west coast, This is rather strikingly illustrated by the appearance there of windsor chairs that almost duplicate an English version known by the name of a maker, “Dan Day,” which were produced in Suffolk at the beginning of the nineteenth century. That these particular examples are Norwegian, rather than English, is indicated by slight variattions in design, generally appearing in underframes, and in their less finished execution.


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