Southwood Furniture: Reproduction Furniture in Classical Designs

Southwood furniture focuses on reproduction furniture in the traditional and classical designs. The company was started up in 1973 by three people committed to producing the finest 18th century upholstery reproductions possible. Their dream was to become America's premier period reproduction furniture manufacturers, and this dream has largely been realized.

Southwood Furniture's burning desire to be recognized as the best that they do was rewarded when the company signed a license agreement with two of America's top historic museums: Historic Deerfield and Historic New England. This gave them the access they needed to historic documents, furniture reference libraries and to knowledgeable museum curators to accurately reproduce some of the most beautiful pieces of furniture from its 'golden age.'

This American furniture company offers reproduction furniture from 17 different historic periods from the 17th - 19th centuries, and has recently added some classical leather and skirted upholstery items to supplement the range.  American designers who specialize in period and classical reproductions refer to Southwood by choice as having the upholstery skills and wood craftsmanship to genuinely recreate the masterpieces of yesteryear.

Southwood rightly believes that the strength of furniture lies in the wood and the way each piece is joined to the other. Traditional jointing techniques were developed for a reason - because they were the strongest ways to join two pieces of wood. Nails have been known from early Roman times, but only the cheaper forms of furniture use them

Southwood Furniture is not only constructed using solid hardwood and traditional mortise and tenon and dovetail joints, but also for sitting 'in' and not 'on.' This involves determining the correct angles for the seat and back, and the degree of harness of the springing of the upholstery. Seating comfort is attained using the correct mix of feathers and down - not something you get with most American furniture these days!

The finish of the wood is very important in reproduction furniture, and Southwood can utilize up to 23 separate stages in achieving the correct look and luster, reproducing just the right patina for the age of the original design. Quite frankly, some of the reproductions crafted by Southwood Furniture could fool many self-proclaimed experts in antique furniture.

Here are some examples of the type of reproduction furniture this company produces.  The word 'manufacture' would do it a disservice, since these pieces are 'crafted', not manufactured.

Jacobean and William and Mary Reproductions

Jacobean reproduction furniture covers the period from 1603-1688, from James 1 to James II, with Cromwell in between. The style is large, very square and sturdy, generally of oak. Chairs were heavily upholstered only for the aristocracy and court, with ornately turned legs and stretchers.  Joints were generally mortise and tenon, often with pegged tenons.

William and Mary followed, and the style became less ornate with fewer turnings on the legs and stretchers although the upholstered styles became more commonplace.  Naturally, there were Dutch influences with the occasional ball foot. It should be kept in mind that during these periods fabrics and upholstery materials (feathers and down) were not available to the general population.

Southwood Furniture captures these periods perfectly in its Jacobean/William and Mary collections, with a total of 26 chairs and sofas available if you are furnishing a room in your home in this style.

Queen Anne Period Reproduction Furniture

Queen Anne was the last of the British Stuart monarchs, ruling after William and Mary from 1702-1714, yet strangely, the furniture period of the same name tends to date from 1720 onwards. Continuing the trend from the ornately carved and turned but sturdy Jacobean style, through William and Mary with its less bulky appearance, Queen Anne furniture takes on a  more refined and graceful look.

The legs take on a sigma design (s-shaped) and the ornate turnings disappear to form a cabriole leg, generally with a pad or drake foot.  In fact, the William and Mary and Queen Anne periods coincide with the American Colonial period of furniture manufacture. This is fairly evident in the Southwood Furniture Historic New England collection.

The company was chosen by the Historic New England museum to craft reproduction furniture based upon the pieces filling the 36 historic houses for which the museum  is responsible throughout five states in New England. Southwood was able to recreate these treasures, many of which are now part of the firm's Historic New England collection.

Quite frankly, if you are looking for reproduction furniture you should look no farther  than Southwood Furniture. You will find a host of reproduction pieces on their website including many that are unique to America. Visit the Southwood Website here.

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