The Queen is Dead… uh… Long Live the Queen!

It has, again, been brought to my attention that I know not what I’m talking about. I’m the first to admit my mind isn’t what it once was (I even woke Virginia the other night and enquired “What land is this?”), but when it comes to dates and monarchs, I take great pains to ensure my attributions are accurate.

In a recent email I was quizzed as to why I ascribed the walnut bachelor’s chest in Bands of Feathers as Queen Anne, circa 1705, when, “… clearly, the Queen Anne Period begins at 1730”. I identified the problem straight away – the writer was a North American!

North Americans have a unique interpretation of, amongst other things, English monarchs’ reigns and furniture periods which are peculiarly out of kilter. I can’t fully explain the disparities, but I’m pretty certain continental drift isn’t wholly to blame. I suspect contributing factors such as strong headwinds, scurvy, mutiny, or more likely, apathy or mischief on the part of the English exaggerated or delayed news of the demise of the various monarchs reaching the colony. As for the Chippendale jape…

At any rate, to put matters into perspective and to hopefully circumvent further ado, I present this comparative chronology of English monarchs and furniture periods:

reigns_&_furniture_periods_01aJack Plane                                                                                                                                  *


About Jack Plane

Formerly from the UK, Jack is a retired antiques dealer and self-taught woodworker, now living in Australia.
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15 Responses to The Queen is Dead… uh… Long Live the Queen!

  1. Ron says:


    Thank you for the informative chart and the guffaw it incited.



  2. George Walker says:

    I know this shows my ignorance but how did we end up with two George III ?

    George Walker


    • Jack Plane says:

      To be perfectly accurate, you ended up with none!

      It’s the same George III, but during his period of ‘madness’, his son, George, the Prince Regent, temporarily ruled from 1811 until his father’s death in 1820 (when he became George IV). Even though George III was deemed incapable of ruling for the last nine years of his life, he was still the monarch.

      I have merged the two George III cells which will hopefully make it clearer.



      • walkerg says:


        Thanks for clearing that up. I’ve in the midst of reading a biography on Christopher Wren and finally getting a handle on the James/ Charles I &II. I suppose at some point I’ll get all those Georges sorted out also.



  3. Adam says:

    Just for commentary, (as opposed to objective fact), here in North America I’ve read several books that have mentioned that the style always occurs after the life of the person for which it is named. This is supposedly due to lag in the style becoming popular in the US. Of course, if you look at the chart, this isn’t actually consistent either. I try not to get too worked up about it, that just leads to high blood pressure and chisel slippage.


    • Jack Plane says:

      “[…] I’ve read several books that have mentioned that the style always occurs after the life of the person for which it is named.”

      I’ve heard/read that too, but as you point out, the argument doesn’t really hold water. It is an anomaly which causes melancholy and mirth equally.



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