Isn’t it wonderful to sit outside under a shady tree in a comfortable chair? Wicker furniture, cold drinks and a porch swing…heaven. I used to have a wicker armchair in my living room, bought at a junk store and treasured until it began squeaking with the slightest movement and my cats started turning it a pile of twigs. I don’t think that wicker ever really went out of fashion- it was woven in many decorative styles; Victorian, Art Nouveau, Arts & Crafts, or streamlined modern.

Dryad Cane Children's furniture, Sluggard's Lure

Dryad cane furniture was imported from England and sold exclusively at the upscale department store of W. & J. Sloan in New York City during the early twentieth century. The Dryad Cane Book was a catalog published by the store to advertise the latest styles in this line of wicker and woven furniture. They sold imported furniture and other home furnishings, and became the place to shop among the elite in New York, billing itself as "W. & J. Sloane Interior Decorators and Home Furnishers”, setting the trends and taste of the American public. The items in this trade catalog demonstrate the versatility of wicker furnishings for both indoor and outdoor use.

Manufacture Parisienne, barcelona

Woven furniture was made throughout Europe- [Trade catalog of wicker and cane furniture] by Manufacture Parisienne (Firm : Barcelona, Spain) [Barcelona? : Manufacture Parisienne, ca. 1900?] Smithsonian Libraries, q NK2712.7 .M36 1900.

Wicker furnishings has its roots in ancient weaving traditions from Asia; rattan, bamboo and cane had been used for many centuries to produce household goods and furniture. This craft tradition was adopted by Europeans early on, primarily for weaving baskets. The popularity of wicker furniture started in America and Europe during the mid to late 1800’s and continued through the early 1900’s, and then again in the 30’s. An emerging middle class with increased leisure time and a changing lifestyle created a demand for fashionable and affordable wicker furnishings. With more time spent outdoors – relaxing in cafés, terraces, or porches and lawns, there was a market for lightweight and easily maintained furniture. Wicker could be used both indoors and outdoors; conservatories, garden rooms, verandas, and other less formal rooms as well as parlours, bedrooms or any  room in a house could be furnished with wicker. Baby carriages, tea carts, smoking stands, blanket chests, were some of the more unique furniture items that were built in wicker. The fashion for woven furniture continues to come and go in cycles, and the look of “antique” wicker is as appealing as the look of contemporary designs

Leave a Reply