Neoclassical architecture ..... Styles of FURNITURE ............... Illustrated FURNITURE Glossary

Neoclassical furniture
Second half of the 18th century

The discoveries at Herculaneum and Pompeii gave impetus to a return to the art and architecture of classic Greece and Rome. (See Neoclassical architecture)


Furniture designed in the Neoclassic style embraced the bold, straight (rectilinear) lines of the movement as pure, geometric shape and form replaced the sinuous (serpentine) curves of the Rococo period.

In both France and England, furniture designed during the second half of the eighteenth century reflected strong Greek and Roman influences. However, toward the turn of the nineteenth century, designs began to include Egyptian characteristics as well, resulting from Napoleonic campaigns into Egypt in 1798 and marked the division between the Early and Late Neoclassic periods.

Classicism based on historical fact was made possible because numerous pattern books published at this time illustrated with exactness the ornamentation used by the ancient Romans: Vitruvian scrolls, guilloche patterns, urns, festoons, garlands and diaper patterns were incorporated into marquetry work and ormolu mounts.

New emphasis was placed on medallions, lyre forms, rosettes, and the cornucopia.

In adherence to Neoclassic straight lines, legs were fashioned into the following:


Photos and their arrangement 2006 Chuck LaChiusa
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