fifty years ago, when the subject of English furniturefirst began to be studied and to be written about, it was dividedconveniently into four distinct types. One writer called his bookson the subject
The Age of Oak, The Age of Walnut, The Age of Mahogany
The Age of Satinwood.
It is not really quite assimple as that, for each of the so-called Ages overlaps the othersand it is quite impossible to la> down strict dates as to when anyone timber was introduced or when it finally, if ever, went out of favour. However, these clear-cut divisions do make it easier todeal with the subject, and it may be as well to keep to them;bearing in mind that the dates given are no more than very roughguides.Oak is the traditionally English wood and while it alone wasalmost solely used for the making of furniture from the earliesttimes until about 1650, it has actually continued along with otherwoods right down to the present day. Old oak furniture issolidly made—the wood is very hard, and not only resists decayand woodworm but calls for time, patience and strength tofashion it—and many surviving pieces are of large size and notice-ably weighty. At the time when it was popular, the houses of those who could afford furniture (other than plain and simplepieces) were large and the principal room, the hall, was quiteoften vast in size. Tables and cupboards were correspondingly