30 March 2010

The distinctive styles that identify which country your antique originates from

19th century bank of drawers shop counter

Creating a room is like composing music. The pieces of furniture you choose are the notes you use and an inspired combination will produce a brilliant result.

Spain, France, Italy, Sweden and Denmark all have distinctive styles of antique furniture which will enhance a contemporary or classical setting and mixing these skilfully will give great authority to the final look.

In future issues I will go into more detail on the antiques of each country. For now I would just like to summarise the key looks from around Europe.

Spanish furniture embraces the ornate baroque and rococo styles as well as the simple country look exemplified by walnut or oak refectory tables with wonderful curved ironwork and stunning patination.

Always strong on impact it is equally typified by the very fine carving and gilding you can see on our magnificent pair of early 19th century Spanish console tables

Our collection from Spain


French furniture ranges from delightful country buffets, tables and armoires in attractive woods like cherry, lime, pear, oak and elm, to more sophisticated examples made for town use. Look out for marble topped commodes and gueridons in mahogany or walnut. Sometimes country and town combine in outstanding examples like our 18th century three drawer serpentine commode in elm.

Our collection from France


Italy has always been at the forefront of furniture design and fashion, and its ornate and highly decorative styles have been in constant demand, sometimes painted, often gilded and sometimes polished to show off the finish of the wood. Its position was maintained in the 20th century as our stylish Italian occasional table shows.

Our collection from Italy


The Scandinavian countries are renowned for the classical simplicity of their lines and the delicacy of their look, exemplified by pieces from the Gustavian period (1775 to 1810).Pale woods were most popular, often painted in light pastel tones to help create light filled spaces in houses during the long Nordic winters. I think these pieces look equally sensational today in hot sunny climates!

Our collection from Sweden

A great example is this elegant early 19th century painted bureau with its fabulous blond wood interior

We hope we inspire your antique collections.


In the future I will be highlighting in turn the commodes, cupboards, tables, seating, mirrors and objects of each country and how to identify them correctly. I will also look specifically at the best of English furniture.

Check out our website for inspiration on combining pieces from these different countries to get that “wow” look. At Brownrigg we don’t do boring or bland so you can choose the exciting ingredients for some stunningly harmonious interiors.

To see examples of all the above please visit Brownrigg!