Illustrated FURNITURE Glossary


Interest in Mohammedan art and architecture, the increased importance of Turkey in diplomatic affairs, and the building of the Suez Canal all contributed to a vogue for furniture which resembled that of a Turkish divan.

The American interpretation is limited to side and arm chairs, sofas, couches and ottomans, the double or "conversation" chair and the circular sofa.

Made originally in sets for parlor or library, this Turkish style is the predecessor of the overstuffed furniture of 20th-century manufacture. (At the time Turkish furniture was being produced in English and American factories, the palaces and fine residences of Constantinople and Cairo were being refurnished with carved and gilded furniture, chiefly imported from France.)

Wood - native hard and soft woods for upholstery-covered frame, black walnut or maple for turned legs

Construction -

Decoration - plain or figured upholstery material with corresponding fringe from seat to floor and arm tassels; upholstery material including plush, velour, brocatelle, tapestry, brocade and, less frequently, leather

Size - always oversize with large low seat

Example: Turkish Room of Crown Prince Rudolf - Hofmobiliendepot Imperial Furniture Collection, Vienna, Austria

Photos and their arrangement © 2005 Chuck LaChiusa
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