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Neoclassical Period Collection

Neoclassical Furniture (FRANCE AND UNITED KINGDOM, CA. 1750)
Neoclassical Furniture (FRANCE AND UNITED KINGDOM, CA. 1750)

Neoclassical design emerged in Europe in the 1750s, as the Age of Enlightenment reached full flower. Furniture took its cues from the styles of ancient Rome and Athens: symmetrical, ordered, dignified forms with such details as tapered and fluted chair and table legs, backrest finials and scrolled arms. Over a period of some 20 years, first in France and later in Britain, Neoclassical design — also known as Louis XVI, or Louis Seize — would supersede the lithe and curvaceous Rococo or Louis XV style.

The first half of the 18th century had seen a rebirth of interest in classical antiquity. The "Grand Tour" of Europe, codified as a part of the proper education of a patrician gentleman, included an extended visit to Rome. Some ventured further, to sketch the ruins of ancient Greece. These drawings and others — particularly those derived from the surprising and rich archaeological discoveries in the 1730s and ’40s at the sites of the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum — caused great excitement among intellectuals and aesthetes alike.

Neoclassical furniture is meant to reflect both grace and power. The overall appearance of Neoclassical chairs, tables and cabinetry is strong and rectilinear. These pieces are, in effect, classical architecture in miniature: chair and table legs are shaped like columns; cabinets are constructed with elements that mirror friezes and pediments.

Yet neoclassicism is enlivened by gilt and silver leaf, marquetry, and carved and applied ornamental motifs based on Greek and Roman sculpture: acanthus leaves, garlands, laurel wreaths, sheaves of arrow, medallions and chair splats are carved in the shapes of lyres and urns. As you can see from the furniture shown on these pages, there is a bit of whimsy in such stately pieces — a touch of lightness that will always keep Neoclassicism fresh.

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Set of Four Carved Classical Side Chairs, New York
Located in Providence, RI
These chairs are of the type known as "side chairs," which fit nicely for example alongside either a chest or a card table in a hallway. Also, these may be considered "boudoir chairs...
Category

19th Century American American Classical Antique Neoclassical Period Collection

Materials

Mahogany

Rare Set of Four Italian Neoclassic Silver Gilt Armchairs
Located in Hollywood, FL
The oval back with stop fluting above a similarly decorated frieze on round tapering fluted legs, can be sold in pairs.
Category

Late 18th Century Italian Antique Neoclassical Period Collection

Materials

Vermeil, Silver

Set of 16 Klismos-Form Dining Chairs
Located in New York, NY
Boston, Massachusetts, circa 1820. Mahogany (secondary woods: Birch and maple; slip seats: Birch and pine) Measures: 33 1/4 in. high, 18 5/8 in. wide, 19 ¼ in. deep (overall). E...
Category

19th Century American Neoclassical Antique Neoclassical Period Collection

Materials

Mahogany

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