In real terms, the Regency period only existed between 1811 and 1820 when the Prince Regent took the place of his father George III who was deemed unfit to rule. However Regency style really transcended the period 1795 to 1837.
The most famous architect and interior designer to influence the neo-classical designs of the Regency period was Robert Adam. Ironically Adam was dead when Regency was at its height but his influence on design carried over from the middle to late 18th century and into the Regency period.
Adam’s neo-classical ideals created a backlash to the exuberant excesses of mid 18th century Rococo. He had studied in Italy when excavations were unearthing antiquities and mosaics in Pompeii, Rome and Herculaneum and these artefacts were prompting a classical revival in Italy and France. On his return to Britain, Adam set about utilising these designs to create what would be described today as a complete makeover when commissioned to redecorate whole interiors of many grand British houses. His furniture had a fluted elegance which incorporated classical motifs such as urns, fine inlays and medallions which matched with similar designs in carpets and ceilings. Sideboards would often have urn shaped pedestals at each end and chairs had lyre-shaped backs and straight rather than the now old fashioned cabriole leg.
The styles and designs of Robert Adam have been revived many times since and examples of period and revival pieces of Robert Adam inspired and Regency antique furniture can be found in Preston and London dealerships.
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