978-0-8160-4158-9 / 9780816041589

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About the book:

Furniture, when you really stop to think about it, has a surprisingly small number of uses: for sitting or lying on, for storing things in, and to provide flat surfaces on which to dine, write, or perform other tasks. Nonetheless, furniture designers throughout history have drawn on a seemingly endless supply of creativity to give expression to contemporary sensibilities through the design of these ubiquitous objects. This second edition of Charles Boyce's exhaustive Dictionary of Furniture chronicles artistic and cultural currents of past and present, using changing furniture as a looking glass through which to learn about the time in which it was made.

Boyce shares amusing and fascinating anecdotes illustrating the links between furniture design and the larger world. Louis XIV of France, for instance, required French aristocrats to imitate the extravagantly luxurious architecture and furnishings of Versailles in order to control their wealth. In China, chairs with names like "chair of the old man who has been drinking" or "chair like a hanging lantern shaped like a chair" enjoyed popularity throughout the Song and Ming dynasties.

In a comprehensive listing of entries from "Aalto, Hugo Alvar Henrik" to "Zui Weng Yi," Boyce illuminates readers about furniture styles, construction details, terminology, furniture designers, and design movements throughout history and throughout the world. He includes information on European-inspired classical, baroque, rococo, pop, and modernist styles, among many others. A helpful guide to buying furniture is included, and offers advice on how to settle on a budget, how to determine what you need for your space, how to ensure against fraud, and what to do if you are unhappy with a purchase. This helpful reference will surely prove handy for both furniture enthusiasts and those looking to redecorate or refresh their homes. --Robin Donovan

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