Thursday, April 9, 2015

Decorating With Antique Painted Satinwood Furniture



Satinwood also known as yellow wood, was one of the most beautiful and highly valued woods used in the latter part of the 18th century. First imported from the East Indies, by the mid 1770's it's popularity soared because of it's beautiful graining. Also satinwood had become increasingly abundant, and it's durability and exquisite finish resulted in it's immense popularity among society's wealthiest homeowners. The elegance of satinwood soon helped trigger a resurgence of neo-classical taste in furniture-making. 

Painted furniture was very much in vogue at the time and satinwood was the perfect canvas. Small painted tables, chairs, and cabinets were in demand and cabinet makers like Hepplewhite and Sheraton were closely associated with using satinwood. The light tones of satinwood worked beautifully as a ground for marquetry, however taste for painted satinwood furniture grew, and since painted decoration does not fade, it proved to be a more cost effective method of decoration than marquetry. 

The most sought after furniture painters of the day, Kauffman, Cipriani, and Pergolesi were employed by Hepplewhite, Sheraton, and the Adams Brothers to help create this beautiful furniture which I hope to introduce you to through this blog post. Enjoy!





The door of a satinwood Edwardian Sheraton style display cabinet featuring a pastoral painting. You can see just how pretty the graining in satinwood can be.


The actual piece.

 Edwardian painted satinwood Carlton House desk decorated in the popular medallions, swags, and florals associated with painted satinwood furniture of the time.


Antique Sheraton Revival satinwood bureau c1890. While many cabinet makers left satinwood unadorned so the lovely grain could be seen, this wood did not escape the painter brush and was adorned in the style of the day.

via pinterest

Extremely rare museum quality Mid 19th Century dressing table. The table is veneered in satinwood and retains all the original painted decoration. Painted medallions were filled with scenes and floral swags abounded. Painted satinwood pieces are known for their dainty elegance.


Cupids, roses, and ribbons were also in abundance on painted satinwood pieces.


An English Edwardian painted satinwood bureau.


Beautifully painted English Edwardian satinwood demilune cabinet  depicting pastoral scene, wreaths, graceful arabesques, and neo-classical designs.


Here is a pair of fabulous painted satinwood antique pedestals.


A Georgian painted satinwood knife box. Musical instruments were popular along with other fashionable motifs and inlay was often applied at the borders.


A beautiful serpentine front painted satinwood toilet mirror with some faux satinwood and brass claw feet.

A George III gilt and painted satinwood Pier Table

Another beautiful painted satinwood piece!The top is veneered and painted with flower swags.The frieze features flower sprays and Cupid's arrows gathered in a quiver with the flaming torch of Hymenaios (the Roman god of marriage) and tied with a ribbon, symbolizing the union of love and marriage. The table stands on fluted gilt-wood legs. 


A George III polychrome-painted satinwood card table with medallion and floral border.


A fabulous set of painted satinwood chairs, each with a shield shaped backrest. The splats are painted with the popular flower filled urn and feature floral garlands, ribbons and swags. The chairs set raised on square tapered legs. 


A beautiful Sheraton Revival Edwardian period triple shield back painted satinwood settee.
The feather motif was also used to decorate chairs and once again there is the flower filled urn painted on the splat. The delicacy of these painted chairs have always attracted me so.................



I was delighted to find this chair at a local antique mall. It has the urn decorated splat, ribbons, feathers, and inverted bell flower.


Here it is displayed in my dining room.


An Adams style painted satinwood marble top commode decorated with draped garland and putti framed by floral wreaths. This lovely piece sits on acanthus carved legs.


English painted satinwood bookcase /curio in Sheraton style.


A lovely pair of painted satinwood display cabinets.

Edwardian demilune satinwood cabinet with lovely painted scene. Not much of the original painted furniture came to this country but painters here were taught to paint in the style of Kauffman, Cipriani and Pergolesi.


Another beautiful Edwardian style painted satinwood cabinet. I love the flower filled urns painted on this piece.


An English Edwardian intricately painted satinwood cabinet.


What romantic bedroom wouldn't benefit from this early 20th century painted satinwood four poster with a flower-filled basket decorating the headboard. The footboard features  a medallion filled with dancing nymphs.






Click here to see the previous post


This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer


6 comments:

  1. Oh one is just yummier than the next...but those CHAIRS! And that BED! Wow. Thanks for the intro to these wonderful pieces

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    1. I love the delicacy of these beautiful handpainted pieces too Kassie.Thank you for visiting my blog and I hope you will drop in again!

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  2. What a fabulous post! Thanks so much for sharing this with us, Lisa. I've been following you on Facebook for ever and a day, but I'm a new follower to your blog. I simply love what I've seen here!
    Tania at FARRAGOZ ~ Online Course in The Art of Patina

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  3. Too beautiful to be considered only "decorative art" in my opinion. These are really quite marvelous. Do you happen to know what kinds of paints and techniques they used to accomplish the details? Thank you for sharing!
    - Canlin Frost, CanlinHandcrafted.com
    Furniture designer and traditional furniture craftsman

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  5. Dear Lisa, Lovely furniture, and very intersting! I note that quite a few of these pieces are late 19c or Edwardian - but a couple are George III. I would be really grateful if you could confirm to me whether painted satinwood was indeed in vogue in the 1800-1810 period? Thank you!

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