Style Files: Credenzas

Have you ever looked around your home and thought about your furniture? Really thought about the lines, the shapes, the style, the materials that each chair, each table, or each bed is made from? Furniture plays such an important part in our lives yet we rarely take a moment to look at the furniture we use everyday. The history of furniture is long and storied. The first people to use furniture were the non-nomadic cultures. Their furniture was made of stones and mud, much like the furniture that has survived from the Neolithic Period excavated in Skara Beae, Orkney, Scotland. Due to a shortage in wood the people were forced to use stones, making everything from cupboards, to shelves, to beds out of the rocky materials located around their homes. Ancient furniture from the 8th century was excavated in Gordion, Turkey, including pieces such as inlaid serving stands and tables. Excavations of Herculaneum and Pompeii revealed Roman furniture, preserved in the ashes from the eruption of Vesuvius. Among those pieces were multiple credenzas—an interesting piece of furniture with a surprising history.

Historically, the credenza is a piece of furniture made of a cupboard flanked by two display cabinets. Credenzas are typically made from polished wood and decorated with marquetry (or veneer). While credenzas were found in Pompeii they did not achieve popularity until the second half of the 19th century. Today, credenzas are used in homes and dining rooms to serve as display cases or as buffet serving stations. The etymology of the word credenza comes from Italy. In Italian, credenza meant belief. In the 16th century the act of credenza was the tasting of food by a servant for an important person (such as a Pope, cardinal, or noble) in order to test for poison. The word then became the name of the room where the act took place and then transition to the word for the actual tables where the tasting took place.

AntiquitiesWeb has a wide selection of credenzas/consoles steeped in rich history and tradition:


Machine Age Art Deco Flip Top Dining Console with storage cabinet supported by four swopping curved legs. Circa 1930s. 


Art Deco Console in walnut and burl veneer with a solid glass rod. Circa 1930s. 


Solid maple stained walnut, tiger stripe maple veneer and walnut veneer. Possibly from France or Germany. Circa 1930s.


Solid glass rods and walnut veneer. Depth becomes 36″ when opened. Circa 1930.


Pair of Italian balck lacquered wood and parchment covered consoles. Circa 1940s.

If you’re looking for a unique credenza or console then contact AntiquitiesWeb. Our selection of top quality antiques are unique, original, and timelessly beautiful. No matter what kind of antique you’re looking for, AntiquitiesWeb has the piece for you. To see these pieces and more call us at 212-644-4236, contact us, or visit our New York gallery.

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