Although used as a generic term to describe period and historical design, ‘vintage’ actually refers to the 1940s and 1950s. Vintage can be described as nostalgic, from an era that most people can remember from childhood or least their parents/grand-parents. This style is not easy to define as it was a bit of a miss-match. Post war furniture of the 40s and 50s included family heirlooms, hand downs, with a make-do-and-mend attitude. Items from many different eras were therefore incorporated. Wrought iron furniture was seen often as it was passed down to the next generation from the industrial revolution and Victorian age.
A massive wrought iron furniture trend exploded in 1920s America thanks to designers such John B Salterini, Lee Woodward and Joseph Leinfelder. Salterini was a huge influence; a mid-century designer from New York who popularised wrought iron furniture. He was a craftsman who emigrated from Italy and from the years 1928 to 1953 made quality indoor and outdoor iron furniture. This included highly decorative wine racks, French inspired vanity stools, cocktail tables, love seats and candle holders. These trends inevitable made their way across the ocean to Britain where elaborately iron furniture designs were seen in high society homes throughout the country.
The Victorian Era
Every style from Rococo to Gothic was enjoyed a revival in the Victorian era. The best way to describe the décor of the period would as luxurious and opulent. Wrought iron furniture was extremely popular due to the fact that it could be ‘worked’ into intricate, elaborate designs. The industrial revolution had allowed for the mass production of the material. Traditional craftsmen produced fabulously ornate designs that graced the Victorian homes. Often referred to as a ‘heavy,’ style of decorating, Victorian England adored wrought iron furniture. French inspired curls, twists and swirls were popular both inside the home in mirrors, candle holders, coat stands and tables. An English country garden would not have been complete without traditional lawn chairs and wrought iron benches.
The Art Nouveau decorating style emerged in 1890s with the Arts & Crafts movement. ‘New Art’ was to move away from more traditional styles, artistic with curved lines and motifs influenced by nature. This also influenced the popularity of wrought iron furniture as curvy designs incorporating plants, birds, flowers and vines were easy to create.
This movement is best described as French country, although there are many different variations and interpretations. The term wasn’t coined until the 80s and aims to mimic the look of old 18th century country houses. It is heavily influenced by antique French styles. Rustic, aged vintage wrought iron furniture suits this décor well.
Gothic style in interior decor was originally inspired from medieval churches and architecture. It made a brief come-back in the late 1800s, popular due to its grand, dramatic, style. When we think of Gothic architecture, we think of great cathedrals, majesty, stained glass, intricate detail and symbolism. Admirers of this style use dark, detailed wrought iron furniture to create magnificent gothic interiors, including sconces, candelabras, elaborate mirrors and arched chairs.
Versatile wrought iron furniture can be used to re-create many vintage interior décor styles. It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking to create an elegant, romantic dining room or a rustic shabby-chic style kitchen. Vintage wrought iron furniture and accessories can be used to style spaces from any era.