The Victorian era is renowned as a period of many and varied revivals of styles, and the antiques world today has been left with a myriad of choice. However it is the French Rococo revival that perhaps remains as a style that typifies this era more than any other.
The restrained and classical lines of the Regency period could no longer capture the imagination of early Victorians. Outward looking and expansive, Victorians wanted the world brought to them, and it was Paris’s Le Style Empire brought visually through a Louis XIV Rococo Revival that suitably reflected the aspirations of the expanding British Empire.
Rococo was the antithesis to the austerity of Neo-classicism. Although widely regarded as frivolous, it suited Victorian taste for the wild and exotic with its ostentatious decoration. In the 1820s firms such as Gillows of London and Lancaster were decorating their furniture with profusions of acanthus leaves and scrolling typical of the style. There was also a wealth of French Rococo furniture for them to copy where many beautifully crafted period pieces had found their way to Britain from (now post) revolutionary France. Even George IV had profited from the fall of the French aristocracy.
Although not accurate recreations, the naturalistic ornamentation, accentuated cabriole legs and deep upholstery of these Rococo Revival pieces have become the style of the time and are regarded as typically Victorian today. As well as being extremely popular with the rising middle classes, the style was also imitated by the poorer classes where modelling clays and papier-mâché were used to create the illusions of the hand crafted Rococo wooden forms of master craftsmen.
Anyone interested in finding good quality Victorian Rococo Revival antique cabinets in Lancashire , Cumbria or the surrounding areas should see a reputable antiques dealer who will be able to advise on quality items.
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