Antique Bookcases

All antiques are steeped in history but a bookcase has even more of a story surrounding it. What great works of fiction (or non) have made that antique bookcase their home over the centuries? In what historical houses did these old bookcases adorn?

If you are looking for an antique piece of furniture that will add warmth, character and charm to your home, then an antique bookcase would offer all that and more. Antique bookcases have been traditionally used to house books but they are far more versatile and can be used as a place to display other antiques or decorative accessories.

The Origins of Antique Bookcases

It is widely believed that the first designs for low, latticed bookcases originated from Charles Andre Boulle, a 17th century renowned French cabinetmaker. Taller bookcases were then produced and one of the first people to purchase one was aptly enough, Samuel Pepys.

Antique bookcases really caught on in the 18th century, especially due to the price of books becoming more affordable. Thomas Chippendale was one of the most prominent master craftsmen of this period and is well known for his Gothic and Rococo style of furniture.

Styles of Antique Bookcases:

We have a huge range of antique bookcases, spanning from the Georgian period through to the art deco movement. Each period has a particular style of bookcase, which means that whatever size, style and era of your house, there will be an antique bookcase that will suit your home.

Georgian Antique Bookcases (1700s to 1800s)

The Georgian period of antiques refers to styles that were produced across the three reigns of George I, II and III. Antique bookcases from this period tend to be elegantly but solidly built, with a nod towards ornamentation. Due to the very famous Thomas Chippendale being active during this time, you will find many Georgian antique bookcases made from the highest quality mohogany.

Regency and William IV Antique Bookcases  (circa 1810-1840)

The Regency style of antiques were produced during the regency of George, Prince of Wales and his subsequent reign of King. A lot of inspiration for this style came from Greek and Roman antiquity. Extremely detailed and finely carved, these regency antique bookcases were not only made of mahogany, yew and cherry but often made from more unusual woods like rose wood and zebra wood.

Victorian Antique Bookcases (1830s-1900)

The Victorian style is named after the monarch at the time of production – Queen Victoria, who reigned from 1837 – 1901.  Victorian antique bookcases tend to have glazed upper sections above cupboard doors, rounded corners and pediments and would be highly french polished. 

Edwardian Antique Bookcases (1901 – 1910)

The Edwardian era was during the reign of King Edward VII and was known in Europe as “La Belle Epoque”. Although more mass produced by this time, bookcases in this period were still extremely well-built and used sturdy and high quality wood such as Walnut, Satinwood, Oak and Mahogany. As with Victorian styles, Edwardian antique bookcases would be highly polished as well, but they were far more simple in design.

Revival Antique Bookcases (Early 1900s)

In the early 20th century, Georgian and Regency revival reproductions were extremely popular. Revival antique bookcases allowed people to buy beautiful antique pieces but at a lower price as compared to the original date antiques that they pay homage to.

Art Deco Antique Bookcases (1920-1940)

The style from this period was very much about symmetry, angles and regularity. The notable woods used for art deco antique bookcases were walnut, oak, ash and maple and they were richly lacquered or highly polished.


Buying an antique bookcase is truly buying a piece of history and it will enable you to be part of that history and the story it has to tell.

It is important that you find the right antique bookcase for you and your home. We stock a huge range of all styles of antique bookcases and if you can’t see what you are looking for, we will source it for you, if possible.

Hunting For More Antique Furniture?

If you’re on the hunt for further antique furniture to compliment your antique bookcase, we can help. We stock items such as:

  • Antique settees and armchairs.
  • Antique cupboards and cabinets.
  • Antique desks and writing tables.
  • Antique sideboards.
  • Antique tables.
  • Antique mirrors.
  • Antique chests.

If you can’t find the antique you are looking for or if you require something specific please contact us and we’ll try to find it.