William and Mary (1700-1730)

William of Orange and his English wife, Mary Stuart, assumed the throne in 1688 and in the course of their reign, reinforced the British trend toward more delicate veneered furniture. Unlike the heavier furniture made in Boston in the 17th century, William and Mary style furniture is much lighter in scale, supported on thin turned legs, and decorated with patterned veneers and brass pulls applied to a pine carcass rather than with carved ornament, which was popular in the 17th century. The cases would be joined using dovetails, indicating the pieces were made by a cabinetmaker, not a joiner who would simply have nailed the boards together. These Continental influences were slow to reach rural England and the colonies, yet some cabinetmakers in towns like Boston, New York, and Philadelphia were working in the taste by 1700.

Heather Bowling, Digital Collections Content Coordinator, 2016.

Drawn from

  • John T. Kirk, American Furniture: Understanding Styles, Construction, and Quality. New York: Harry N Abrams, Inc., Publishers, 2000.

  • Elizabeth Birdwell Bates and Jonathan L. Fairbanks. American Furniture: 1620 to the Present. New York: Richard Marek Publishers, 1981.

  • Getty Vocabulary, AAT (William and Mary, AAT: 300021046).

  • DMA unpublished material [1993.30.A-B]