Sheraton inspired furniture dates from around 1790 -1820, and is named after London furniture designer Thomas Sheraton (1751 – 1806). Sheraton trained as a cabinetmaker, but is also well known for his written guides, namely the Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer’s Drawing-Book.
There are few Sheraton pieces that have actually survived until today, but his legacy inspired many other furniture makers, and features heavily in their designs. Here are a few characteristics of Sheraton Style furniture:
Sheraton Style Legs
In contrast to the popular cabriole legs of earlier furniture styles, such as Chippendale, Sheraton pieces usually have straight, and sometimes tapered legs. These legs were often rounded as well, which was done in order to create a distinction between Hepplewhite and Sheraton pieces.
Sheraton Style Feet
In a way to complement the slim and straight legs of the furniture, Sheraton feet are usually simple in design, such as a rectangular spade, tapered arrow or cylindrical feet. On the larger and heavier pieces such as Sheraton bookcases and desks, bracket or bun feet will more often be seen.
Sheraton furniture is often characterised by contrasting inlays and veneers, meaning they often contain more than one type of wood. Satinwood was often a favourite for the base, with mahogany and beech also quite popular. The decorative elements included tulipwood, ash, rosewood and birch, as craftsmen often used the local woods at hand.
Other Notable Features
Sheraton is known for having an elegant and light appearance, especially when compared to Chippendale style. Common motifs included ribbons, fans, flowers, urns and feathers. Shapes tend to be strong, geometric shapes, usually square or rectangular. Sheraton is often credited with increasingly the popularity of placing gathered sill behind glass doors of bookcases, and also used to enjoy including secret drawers or mechanisms for sliding sections in his work.