3 Examples to Help You Identify Queen Anne Furniture

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    The Highboy

    Queen Anne Highboy Example

    Queen Anne style furniture, named for Queen Anne who ruled in England from 1702 to 1714, was actually produced from just after the time of her reign through the mid-1700s in England and thereafter in Colonial America. During this period, furniture tastes shifted from heavy and massive to more delicate and light.

    There are several key pieces that exhibit the major Queen Anne attributes, including the cabriole leg, and learning to recognize these will help you identify this furniture style. These examples include the highboy, the lowboy, and the Hogarth chair.

    The Highboy

    To some, the highboy is the quintessential example of Queen Anne styling. These originated in England first and were named tall boys before the style made the leap across the pond. In the mid-1700s Colonial cabinet makers began producing what we refer to as highboys, or high chests of drawers, according to Antiques 101 by Frank Famer Loomis IV.  

    A highboy has a base of two or more drawers and, of course, cabriole legs. Atop the base will sit a chest of drawers. The earliest examples were constructed with a flat top. As time went on, they became more elaborately decorated with finials and bonnet tops or broken pediments. Many will have shell carvings, a common Queen Anne motif, as well. These were made in American furniture workshops as late as the early 1800s, but it is a style that has been widely revived over time and is still being manufactured today.

    About the Example Shown Here:

    This example is a Queen Anne mahogany highboy with broken arch pediment, cabriole legs, and trifid feet. This piece was made in America in the late 1700s to early 1800s, according to Prices4Antiques.com.

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    The Lowboy

    Queen Anne Style Lowboy or Dressing Table

    Originally known as dressing tables or toilet tables, these pieces resemble a highboy base with cabriole legs the same sort of drawer arrangement. Many were, in fact, made with matching highboys and sold in suites. They have been nicknamed “lowboys” more recently. These pieces served to hold a lady’s beauty items when they were newly made, akin to the modern vanity.

    About the Example Shown Here:

    This Queen Anne lowboy, or dressing table, was made in New England (possibly southeastern Massachusetts or Rhode Island), likely between 1725 and 1750, according to Prices4Antiques.com. It is made of cherry wood with a shaped apron, pendant drops, cabriole legs, pad feet, and decorative shell carving typical of Queen Anne pieces. 

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    The Hogarth Chair

    Queen Anne Hogarth Chair
    Photo courtesy of Prices4Antiques.com

    This type of chair has, of course, the distinctive cabriole legs associated with Queen Anne styling. It also is characterized by having a splat back, also known as a “fiddle” back. The splat detailing and back style can vary on these chairs, but frequently include yoke examples.

    The name is derived from British artist William Hogarth (1697-1764) who was a popular painter, cartoonist, and political satirist. He had an affinity for the cabriole leg, and depicted chairs in this style often in his paintings and engravings.

    About the Example Shown Here:

    According to Prices4Antiques.com, this is a very fine and rare walnut Queen Anne side chair with shell carving and compass seat. Made in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, c. 1750. The inclusion of the splat back and cabriole legs qualify this as a Hogarth chair.