In England, styles are not necessarily associated with the names of monarchs as in France. This difference is explained by the development of architectural and decorative art which is not subject to a centralizing institution.
Thus styles are named according to:
- The dynasty of the ruling family during an era such as the Tudor style, Stuart
- The same king names covering a period as the Georgian style with George 1, George II and George III.
- The influential monarch who reigned long enough like James I for the style Jacobean, the Queen Anne of the style of the same name or even Queen Victoria with the Victorian style.
- Influential cabinet makers such as Chippendale, Sheraton, Adam, Hepplewhite ...
The break between the different English styles is sometimes rather blurred, which makes them less recognizable than those of France.
English styles have their own sources of inspiration, more or less pronounced according to the periods. The classic Palladian style is deeply rooted in English culture. Andrea Palladio built constructions in the most classical style which greatly influenced English architects such as Indigo Jones. Even in the baroque and roccoco period of the eighteenth century in Europe, English art retained a strong classic touch. The rocaille style will develop only very briefly and with a restraint proper to the values of Protestantism.
Trade and political ties with the Netherlands have brought Dutch influence into the decorative arts and English furniture. It is found in the finesse of woodworking, in the sculpture, in the art of filming and in the Dutch marquetry with floral decoration.
As early as 1720, with the rise of trade between China and Europe, Indian and Chinese influences arrived in England thanks to imports such as ceramics and lacquer. We find these contributions of Far East in the decors and the forms of numerous furniture and objects. The Chinese-style Chippendale is a very good example. In the eighteenth century, the styles George II and Chippendale innovate in resuming the Gothic forms in the arts. In the nineteenth century, the "gothic revival" launched the European fashion of historicism and its neo-gothic variant.
The English preferred the comfort and practicality of the piece of furniture rather than its aesthetic and decorative side. The strong puritan influence has given furniture sober. Mahogany remains the wood of choice of English cabinet makers. England, a great colonial and maritime power, imported this exotic wood from the colonies as early as 1730. Among the specific elements of English furniture were the club-shaped or cushioned foot-ends, typical of the Queen Anne style, Ball and claw, claw clasping a ball. The many typewriters, libraries and cupboards generally retain a classic style with a broken, swan-necked or triangular pediment. Geometric lattice or lattice networks support the door panes.
Among the typical English furnishings are the chest of drawers, the secretary's bookcase, the library desk on the top, the tallboy or the highboy.