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Some Knowledge About the Regency Period Furniture (Part 1/2)

Like all transitional styles, the Regency style is also mixed. As the link between the styles of Louis XIV and Louis XV, it not only draws on the past, but also shows the future, but it lacks its own unique personality. It can be said that the regency style lacks the intermediate stage from maturity to stagnation, and it is this lack that formed the clear characteristics of furniture production in that period.


In fact, the style of works during the Regency has never changed. With the gradual transition to the Louis XV style, chests of drawers and chairs during the Regency gained more and more structural and decorative elements, which fully reflected the development of the style and the desire to go beyond its limitations. Therefore, it further confirms the basic characteristics of the transition period, these transition styles very vividly foretell the upcoming fashion. Therefore, we may have questions as to why it arouses people's great interest as a transitional style. The answer is obvious.


In the early days, the development of furniture experienced a great era. As they continue to develop, the unique elements formed after their development will gradually disappear with the passage of time. These missing elements are often reflected in the indispensable furniture made by humans. Therefore, it is certain that the styles of all periods will eventually disappear due to time.


When we transition from Gothic architecture to the Renaissance, and then from the Renaissance to the Baroque period, we sometimes feel that this transition does not seem to be clear, mainly because there are few surviving objects. On the other hand, because of the differences from previous eras, the regency style has left us with a lot of valuable legacy, so it is possible for future generations to conduct more precise and in-depth analysis.


One of the most typical and unfortunate works of the Regency period is the civil chest of drawers. The curve of the cabinet itself expands horizontally and vertically, which is one of the shape rules based on the Louis XV style, but its appearance lacks the elegance and lightness of the latter. This also means that although the Regency style is already one of the principles for determining the future style, it has not been determined how to use it to achieve the best harmonious effect.

Regency Commode

Louis XV Commode

The chest of drawers itself has a relatively bulky appearance, and such an appearance can undoubtedly be classified as a Regency style. This style seems to have chosen a tomb-like form to express itself, in order to imply that it stands out in two completely different worlds, the past and the upcoming.


Of course, it is impossible for us to use the most beautiful language in the world to describe such a piece of furniture that is huge, placed on such a short table leg, and at the same time inlaid with gilded copper accessories. We should admit that the civil chest of drawers has two advantages: the first is that it shows the practicality of this kind of furniture. The second is that this kind of furniture is very rare in the Louis XIV version, and it successfully liberated the symmetry and balance of the chest of drawers under the partial failure of the Italian Baroque influence. Like the long ugly but very cute actors that people like, this elegant piece of furniture was mass-produced, and it lasted for a long time during its own decline.


In contrast, this kind of chest of drawers with two rows of drawers and curved outlines, because we cannot identify some new styles with universal significance, or regard them as masterpieces of new art looking forward to the future. In comparison, these works are far from the past traditions, but still lack the elements that make them the style of Louis XV.


The wardrobe and bookcase also give us the same feeling. This is because any work in the transitional period is of no use other than reminding us of the style we created before or the trend in the future. An obvious example is the two different types of desks. The first is blackened pear wood with five drawers. It is a Louis XIV Mazarin desk with eight legs. The Regency desk has four legs removed from it, leaving four others. Only a leg, and a row of side drawers under the table top has been removed. It is very similar to the future Louis XV style in shape and interpretation.

Louis XIV Desk

Regency Desk

In the next article, I will start from the chair series and continue to discuss French Regency furniture in the transitional period of the 18th century.

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