Our trusted dealers offer a wide range of antique bookcases and vintage shelves online. From large mid-century bookcases to painted, mahogany and metal styles, there's a piece of statement furniture to suit every taste. Browse English, Victorian, Library and French bookcase styles, as well as vintage bookcases, at The Decorative Collective.
Antique bookcases have been around for a very long time, much earlier times than you may think, as some religious paintings have shown cupboards with shelves inside and manuscripts on them. Open shelves have been used for Centuries, so the idea of shelving for books is not new.
Very popular in Victorian times, old bookcases remain as much in demand now as ever. Antique bookcases always seem to have a presence about them compared to many new ones, and this is possible because earlier ones were always made of wood, which over time gains patina, giving the antique bookshelf character. Often you will see antique bookcases with glass doors. This reflects the high value placed on books at the time, with the wish to keep them in the very best condition. The style of antique bookcases also often hints to a more classical style, with the use of columns or classical appliques or carvings.
Columns are one of the most usual forms of decoration you will see on a bookcase, the parts that 'frame' the bookcase. There are three classical Greek names for columns, Ionic, Doric and Corinthian and these terms are called 'the order of ancient Greek and later Roman architecture', ie the official basis for design at this time.
Doric columns are recognised by the simple circular capitals a the top and bottom. The Ionic column is recognisable by the 'volutes' or spiral scrolls at the top. The Corinthian top of a column will be very ornate and the column itself is usually more slender than the others.
Although many old bookcases are quite large, small antique bookcases are to be found, and also unusual bookcases, such as 19th century revolving bookcases.
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