Cane, Rattan, and Bamboo

   From George IV's Brighton Pavillion to Martha Stewart's Sag Harbor retreat, houses big and small are resplendent in cane furniture. Bamboo furniture has a long and colorful history, having erupted into near mania following the chinoiserie craze of the Victorian period, when Englishman abroad found the large reed growing in abundance across the East.  French gardeners had long since discovered the ease with which the sturdy plant multiplied across river banks and hedgerows, with some of the French gentry bemoaning it's vociferous expansion across their curated cutting gardens. 

Bamboo Armoire

 

    In the totemic hierarchy of cane furniture, tortoise mottled bamboo is certainly the Grand Pooh Bah, but be forewarned; not all bamboo furniture is created alike; The pastel bedroom suite your grandmother purchased at Lane's in 1981 might be more well suited for the refuse pile than the drawing room.  When you're pursuing auction houses and antique merchants for this iconic style, be sure to have an appraiser handy: forged Victorian cane furniture is often peddled to unsuspecting consumers by rogue dealers and unscrupulous restorers.  And, expect true Victorian cane furniture to fetch a healthy premium in accordance with its delicateness, as not every example has braved the tests of time in equal measure. 

 

Tortoise shell bamboo tables, ca. 1881

Tortoise shell bamboo tables, ca. 1881

  Strolling through showrooms and galleries in the midatlantic leaves no doubt that bamboo furniture is back in vogue!