The political, social and economic scene towards the end of the 17th century in England made for an interesting society. The English, and more importantly many of the oligarchs, were Protestant. Both Charles II and James II were Catholic and as monarchs were charged to defend the Protestant faith. Ultimately, James II’s Catholicism roused the oligarchs and William of Orange to usurp the British throne in the “Glorious” or “Bloodless” Revolution of 1688 after which William, along with his wife Mary Stuart became William III and Queen Mary II of England.
In short, religion was the deciding factor of many politicial decisions. It was thicker than both water and blood as Protestant Mary was deemed appropriate to rule with her Dutch husband while her Catholic father skedaddled to the protection of a Catholic France. That William of Orange was made king despite the fact that the English and Dutch had been to war twice in the previous thirty years is astounding. Clearly, the animosities between the countries was less viral nationalism and more based on religion, family squabbles and trade advantages.
While the political turn of events was being forced towards Protestantism in England, France outlawed Protestantism within its borders. The upshot was that many craftsmen and designers, among the most famous are Daniel Marot and Pelletier brothers, decamped from France and went to England. Furthermore, other Dutch craftsmen went to England for reasons unknown such as Gerrit Jensen and Grinling Gibbons, both famed for their craft, Jensen for superior inlay work and Gibons for his wood carving. Clearly, there were many more Dutchmen who took a similar path.
The stylistic differences between a lot of high end Dutch and English furniture between 1670 and 1720 are not easily separated one from the other. Some pieces are unidentifiable nationally despite a knowledge of style, craftsmanship or even the name of the craftsman. The permutations and combinations render such distinctions moot, at least as far as knowing where or when a piece might have been made. Anglo-Dutch as country of origin is as good as it gets for many pieces of this era.