The exuberance of Rococo styling has yo-yoed in and out of fashion over the years. From French influences in its Louis XIV hey day, a brief flowering in the mid 18th century, to a serious adoption of the style in the Victorian era, in antique furniture design terms it was always perhaps a little too ostentatious to be taken too seriously.
Neo-classical styling on the other hand had an intellectual integrity which Rococo never had. Based on drawings from classical antiquity, the Neo-classical was always going to have pedigree with a return to ancient Greek and Roman much simpler architectural forms. The cabriole leg so typical of Thomas Chippendale and the English Rococo in the mid 18th century was now being superseded by straight, tapering and fluted legs. Any carved decoration was put to one side and the quality of the wood and the flatness of the surface became the focus of attention. Dining tables which showcased the cabinet makers’ art were now becoming very fashionable. Mahogany was the wood of choice and other exotic woods were also being imported to create decorative marquetry effects with intricate veneering used to form the classical fans and swags.
Other new pieces of furniture beginning to appear at this time were the ‘Regency’ sideboards which could be straight or bowed and flanked by drawers at either end. Dining tables were now made in sections with leaves to extend or reduce them in size and were supported on sets of splayed legs often set on casters for easy movement and storage when not in use.
Anyone wanting advice on period and revival neo-classical antique marquetry furniture in Lancashire, Cumbria or other counties should visit reputable local antiques dealers.
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