Many people are searching for an antique Canterbury because they find it such a useful and attractive piece of furniture. They also love the history behind it. A Canterbury is a piece of occasional furniture that is a low stand or rack, created for storing media including magazines, books, newspapers or sheet music. It typically has slatted storage partitions and it usually has an open top so you can easily reach in and access the items stored inside. However, sometimes there is a shelf on top and you reach in through the front. Other types are in an open U shape. It is generally quite portable due to its compact size, and sometimes has casters to make it easy to roll around.
The history behind these versatile pieces is very interesting. They were originally crafted by furniture makers in England at the end of the 1700s. It is said that the name comes from the fact that the Archbishop of Canterbury, the most important English bishop and leader of the Church of England, commissioned one to be built for him. The name stuck! Throughout the 1800s the designs became more and more ornate, and by the 1860s the furniture style had traveled to America, where it was considered a status symbol. Every wealthy home had to have one!
Originally, the carpenters and craftsmen used materials included mahogany, rosewood and walnut. Today, our online furniture store sells designs in all kinds of materials including those traditional woods, but also including more unusual materials. Perhaps a bamboo piece with a gorgeous painted floral Chinoiserie design on a black lacquer ground. Or a sleek stainless steel and brass piece based on chic 20th century European designs.
Some pieces have a drawer beneath for extra storage. They are very convenient and flexible to use, as they can be used as a magazine rack or holder for sheet music, or for easy storage for other similar items. The styles with a closed top can double as an occasional table. However you choose to use your Canterbury, it will be useful in every room in your house.