Q. How does ‘Vicobethan’ and ‘Vicobean’ furniture (tasteless, disproportionate, black-varnished factory-made Victorian tat produced in late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Elizabethan and Jacobean styles) make an appearance on this blog?
A. When perfectly good Carolean, Queen Anne and Georgian furniture has been defaced by Victorian wastrels to keep abreast of trends.
In the Victorian era, middle- and upper classes prospered and many wealthy profligate gentlemen who, with nothing better to occupy their time, thought it amusing to roll up their starched white shirt sleeves, in imitation of the working class, and recklessly carve anything and everything around the home in the then fashionable Elizabethan and Jacobean revival taste.
Looking like some of the finest modern chainsaw carving, later-carved antique furniture often includes spurious Elizabethan or Jacobean dates (fig. 4).
Talk about carving up the inheritance!
Thankfully, little of this vandalised furniture now remains in Britain, the vast majority having found its way to more appreciative collectors in the former colonies.