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Title

Queen Anne Room:

Author

Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Date

1998

Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
BACKGROUND
According to dealer information, the Queen Anne Room comes from a home which was built in Staffordshire and dates from the first years of the 18th century, though this has not been proven. This house, like most houses built during these years, would have been symmetrical, both inside and outside, and would have been decorated with classical details. The balanced proportions of this room reflect this symmetry. Classical details are visible in the door which fronts on the period room court, with its Corinthian pilasters topped by a pediment decorated with the egg and dart pattern, acanthus leaves, and dentils. Inside the room, the fireplace is decorated with acanthus leaves and the reed and ball pattern, both classical details.

Like the Tudor Room, the walls are oak paneled. The floor, however, is sanded fir, authentic to the period. We believe that this room was the size of a small "closet" (an apartment or small room for privacy). Probably, it was adjacent to a bedroom and was used as an intimate sitting room or study. However, since the original room has been altered, we cannot be sure of its original use. Certainly, in comparison to Tudor times, the scale of rooms is smaller and more comfortable. The result is a room which is both intimate and formal. The Queen Anne room will be a space for rotating works of art.

CHAIRS
Currently, there are a pair of side chairs and an armchair on view:

Pair of side chairs
English, about 1710
Walnut and walnut veneer, secondary wood
Gift of Mrs. John Washburn 31.71.1-2

These chairs are good examples of the Queen Anne and early Georgian (George I) furniture styles. The Queen Anne style is generally dated 1700-1715. Typical features include the following:

  • Walnut is the primary wood used.
  • Pad feet are common. (The side chairs end in what resembles a squared pad foot.)
  • A much greater concern for comfort is evident compared to earlier furniture (such as in the Tudor Room).
  • The furniture is more comfortably scaled to the human body. The tall, stiff backs seen in the Tudor Room have been replaced by backs of moderate height, and the seats curve to better accommodate ladies' wide skirts.
  • In contrast to the straight lines of the Tudor Room furniture, here the "serpentine line," a gently curving line, prevails everywhere:
  • In the cabriole legs. (Note that the stretchers found in the Tudor Room furniture have been eliminated because they would interrupt these curved legs.)
  • In the vase-splat backs.
  • In the curves of the seats.
  • In the gently flowing sweep of the chair backs.
  • In the curving arms of the armchair which end in scrolls.
  • In contrast to the earlier furniture of the Tudor Room, all of these pieces are upholstered (the earlier furniture had upholstered pillows or "drop-in" seats).
  • The side chairs have a carved shell motif on the knee of each leg.

Wing back chair
English, about 1705
Walnut, upholstered in a Mortlake tapestry
Gift of Mrs. Eugene J. Carpenter & Olivia Carpenter Coan
31.96

The upholstered wing-chair or "easychair" first appeared around 1700. Its stuffed back and seat are an indication of the growing desire for comfort. The flat stretchers between the legs indicate that the maker was not yet adept enough in construction to dispense with the support the stretchers gave to the large, heavy chairs. The chair is upholstered in Mortlake tapestry of a floral design, made at England's Mortlake Manufactories.

TABLES
The two tables on view are of a slightly later date and style:
Card Table
English, about 1720
Mahogany and mahogany veneers
Gift of Mrs. Eugene J. Carpenter in memory of Eugene J. Carpenter 31.95

Card and Tea Table
English, about 1720
Mahogany
Gift of Mrs. Eugene J. Carpenter in memory of Eugene J. Carpenter 31.94

Both these tables are made of mahogany, the favored wood of the Georgian style. Table 31.94 has the pad foot and a carved acanthus design on the knee of its center leg; by contrast, 31.95 has the new ball-and-claw foot and a much more elaborately carved acanthus design on its front and the knees of its legs. These two tables can, therefore, be used to demonstrate a stylistic change in the early 18th century.

MIRROR
Looking Glass
English, about 1710
Gilt wood, brass (candlearms not original)
Gift of Mrs. John Washburn and Mrs. Elizabeth Pope Washburn in memory of John Washburn 32.25

The mirror is much larger and clearer than the one seen in the Tudor Room, which is another sign of increasing comfort and improved technology in domestic interiors. In 1660, mirror glass was being imported to England; by 1700, it was being made in very large plates (six feet) and was being sent abroad.

PAINTINGS
Allaert van Everdinger
Dutch, about 1621-1675
Waterscape with Rainbow
oil on canvas
70.12

Corneluis Liefrinck
Dutch, about 1581-1640
Coastal Landscape with Granite Cliffs, 1630s
Oil on panel
Anonymous donor fund
67.49

In this typical 17th-century Dutch painting, we witness an every day coastal scene placed in a fantasy landscape: the day's catch is being unloaded from the fishing boat, and the fish are being hauled away in baskets. Although the royal collections included contemporary Dutch paintings at this time, it is unlikely that a painting like this would have hung in this room.

Sir Godfrey Kneller
German, 1646-1723
Portrait of a Young Man
oil on canvas
80.68.9

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Girouard, Mark, Life in the English Country House, Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut, 1978.

Hayward, Helena, ed., World Furniture, Crescent Books, New York, 1965.

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Source: Docent Manual entry for <i>Queen Anne Room,</i> The Minneapolis Institute of Arts Education Division (1998).
Rights: ©MIA
Added to Site: March 10, 2009