Considering that France and Britain were continuously at war throughout much of the Regency period (1790-1830), furniture design remained heavily influenced by the French. In fact the period has only been referred to as Regency in retrospect. At the time it was called English Empire in deference to French Empire design. The Regency stripe was very much present in French rather than English drawing rooms where brocades were more popular over here.
It was professional architects like Henry Holland and Thomas Hope who introduced the French Empire styling into Britain and furniture tended to be designed along strict architectural and archaeological lines. However Thomas Sheraton was also working hard to keep up with fashionable trends and numerous pattern books of his and others survive to document furniture trends between the mid to late Regency period (1810-1828). However cabinet makers were also making simplified versions of these documented designs which avoided any excessive architectural detail.
The Regency dining chair shows well how architectural detail is rendered down where sabre legs and scrolled arms provide a hint of a goat’s leg or winged griffin. The back of the chair has a straight or slightly curved cresting rail, often plain or lightly carved with a hint of brass inlay. Heavy carving and marquetry techniques were not being practised any more and their art generally dying out. Mahogany was still used although rosewood was now becoming increasingly popular.
Regency furniture because of its simplicity of design remains very popular today. When looking for period Regency and revival Victorian dining chairs , Preston antique dealers will advise on quality items.
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