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The Antique Furniture of Downton Abbey

The Antique Furniture of Downton Abbey
February 12, 2013 Peter Hemerlein

Downton Abbey is currently one of the most widely watched television shows in the world.  The show is a historical drama about a fictional Yorkshire house named Downton Abbey, its wealthy inhabitants, and its employees.  This drama takes place in the post-Edwardian era, starting around 1912, and moves forward from there giving a glimpse into English life through several different major historical events.

Everything from the costumes to the mannerisms of the actors splendidly mimic early 20th century England.  The filming takes place in Highclere Castle in England which further adds to the authentic feel of the show.  Highclere Castle has a rich history which can be read about in its wiki page. What really peaks my interest about Downton Abbey (and honestly to the chagrin of my wife pretty much any other show or movie) is the wonderful, period accurate antique furniture in all the sets, mostly courtesy of Highclere Castle.

Each room of Highclere Castle features extremely rare and beautiful antique furniture.  You will notice that not many of the antiques are English in style.  The wealthy of the time imported much of their furniture from famous European makers.

For example, we have this stunning kingwood bureau from the Morning Room.  It was made by Pierre Langlois, one of the great French cabinet makers of his time.

Even more impressive are this desk and chair.  Again they are French pieces, rich with history.  Both the desk and chair came from Palace of Fontainebleau (they were owned by Napoleon) and were made by Jacob Frères.

Perhaps my most favorite room in the series is the dining room.  This room is decorated with more English style antique furniture like we sell such as the shield back dining chairs, pedestal table, and carved servers.

This screenshot shows Mathew Crawley in his “middle class” home before he moves to Downton Abbey.  The middle class decorated with more of the traditional English antique furniture as you can see in this picture.  While wealthy enough to afford in-house help, importing European furniture was still too expensive.

I am quite pleased that Downton Abbey, with its rich historical background and settings, has become so popular.  The series has confirmed it will shoot a fourth season and I am excited to see what plot twists they come up with and if they introduce any new sets full of beautiful antique furniture for our enjoyment!