Regency style

Regency style
Style in the decorative arts and architecture produced in England during the regency (1811–20) and reign (1820–30) of George IV.

Designers borrowed both structural and ornamental elements from Greek and Roman antiquity. Egyptian motifs, inspired by Napoleon's Egyptian campaign of 1798, became part of the Regency fashion. A resurgence of a taste for chinoiserie is seen in imitation bamboo and in "japanned" lacquerwork. The prince's taste for French furniture popularized pieces ornamented with brass marquetry in the French style. Ornamentation relied on rich contrasts of exotic wood veneers and application of metal or painting rather than extensive carving.

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      decorative arts produced during the regency of George, prince of Wales, and during his entire reign as King George IV of England, ending in 1830. The major source of inspiration for Regency taste was found in Greek and Roman antiquity, from which designers borrowed both structural and ornamental elements. The classical (Classicism and Neoclassicism) revival of Regency style, emphasizing purity of detail and structure, adhered to a stricter archaeological interpretation of antique modes than either the Neoclassicism of the 18th century or the concurrent French Empire style (Second Empire style).

      An exuberant taste for Egyptian motifs resulted from the Napoleonic expeditions to Egypt in 1798 and became part of the Regency fashion. Variations in the Regency period also produced a resurgence of the Chinese theme seen in imitation bamboo and in painted and “japanned” black and gold lacquer pieces, most notably at Brighton Pavilion, where the Prince ordered its use. Another royal inclination produced the taste for French furniture, especially the type ornamented with brass inlay marquetry.

      The elaboration of ornament on the flat surfaces of Regency furniture derived from the rich contrast of exotic wood veneers and application of metals or painting rather than extensive carving or complicated contours. A strong feeling for utility combined with visually pleasing elements and an integration of architecture, interior design, and furniture is characteristic.

      Architects John Nash, Henry Holland, Charles H. Tatham, and Thomas Hope were the principal arbiters of Regency taste. Hope, Thomas Sheraton and George Smith published designs for Regency furniture.

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Universalium. 2010.

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