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Archive for May 2012

Interiors

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Designers carefully calculate proportions of rooms, chimneypieces, door and window surrounds, and other details with complex formulas given by pattern book writers or the masters, such as Palladio, or derived from antique models.  Rooms are decorated according to their significance; the more important the room, the larger the scale and the more extravagant its decoration. The most lavish spaces are state apartments, reception rooms, and saloons, which reflect a formal way of life. With more emphasis on culture and learning, collectors display their assemblages in galleries or the traditional closet (a small, private room), and libraries become more common.

By mid-century, Rococo, Chinese, and Gothic forms and motifs appear more frequently on walls, ceilings, chimneypieces, textiles, wallpapers, and furniture. Rococo ornamentation mixes freely with Chinese and Gothic ornamentation, and some houses feature each public room in a different style.

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Colors: various intensities and values become available, including pea green, olive green, gray green, gray, sky blue, straw yellow, and a variety of gray or brown stone colors .

Floors. Floor materials are wood or masonry. Oak, pine, or fir board floors have random dimensions. Wood floors are not varnished, but they are scrubbed with sand or limewash that produces a silvery sheen. Parquet distinguishes the grandest rooms. Paint, in solids or patterns, disguises cheaper woods. Stone and marble floors are limited to entrances and ground-floor rooms because of their weight. They follow a variety of geometric patterns and colors, but black and white or grays are especially favored.

 

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Lighting. Artificial lighting, generally minimal, comes primarily from fireplaces, rushlights, or candles; oil lamps are rare before the 1780s. Light fixtures  include candlesticks, candelabra, and/or wall sconces. To increase light, candlesticks and candelabra are placed in front of mirrors, and sconces have mirrored or shiny metal backs. Shiny textures and glossy finishes also reflect and increase light. Although chandeliers of glass, wood, or metal are available, they remain rare in most homes.

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Furniture: The 18th century is a golden age in English furniture. People have more money to spend on furniture and demand higher standards in craftsmanship and comfort, as well as new types for special purposes. In response, several styles of furniture rapidly succeed each other during the Georgian period, and cabinetmaking becomes a profitable business.

Furniture selection and arrangements support room function with an emphasis on formality, harmony, and stylistic integration. Symmetry usually defines the placement of major pieces of furniture. The finest furniture occupies the best drawing room and is arranged around the perimeter of the room when not in use. Common furniture pieces include chairs, sofas, tables, secretaries, high chests of drawers, dressing tables, tall case clocks, fire screens, and beds. Card tables are introduced during Queen Anne’s reign, and their numbers increase with the popularity of card playing throughout the 18th century. 

Queen Anne (1702–1714):  Queen Anne style relies on silhouette and wood grain for beauty rather than applied decoration.  Curves dominate forms, and proportions are slender and elongated. Chairs, which are definitive of the style, have a curving hoop back with plain crest. The back may be spoon-shaped to fit the body. 

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Seating includes side chairs and armchairs , many forms of armchairs and armless chairs with upholstered seats and backs, easie chairs, settees and sofas. Side chairs and armchairs are more numerous and more common than settees and wing chairs. Sets of matching upholstered furniture fill important rooms in grand houses. The large, upholstered sofa, now an icon of the Chippendale style, is rare before mid-century.

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May 30, 2012 at 1:14 am

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Motifs and Architecure

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Classical architectural details, such as columns, pilasters, balusters, dentil moldings, and quoins, appear in architecture, interiors, and furniture throughout the period. In Queen Anne furniture, motifs include shells and acanthus leaves. Early Georgian furniture may display swags, urns, eagles, cabochons, lion masks, satyr masks, and/or foliage. Motifs in furniture and interiors after mid-century influenced by Rococo and Gothic  are ribbons, leaves, shells, foliage, birds, pointed arches, quatrefoils, and tracery. Chinoiserie and Chinese motifs include faux bamboo, Oriental figures, and pagodas.

Neo-Palladian is England’s national style in the first half of the 18th century.  the style defines numerous country houses, smaller dwellings, and town-houses. Forms and elements draw from, but do not copy, Vitruvius, Palladio, or Inigo Jones. Symmetrical, geometric, and relatively plain, forms are simple; outlines are uncomplicated. Rules, which come from nature, antiquity, or the Renaissance, are closely observed, particularly for proportions. Distinctive are the undecorated walls or spaces around windows and the decorative architectural features that emphasize them. Beginning in the 1730s, a few structures are built or remodeled in a style that becomes known as Gothick or Gothic Revival. The most influential is Strawberry Hill, home of Sir Horace Walpole.

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Floor Plans. Large and small houses have either double-pile plans with halls running lengthwise or adapted Palladian plans. Symmetry, the sequences of spaces, and the alignment of doors and windows are important planning considerations. 

The most important rooms are on the ground and first floors and are emphasized by their size and treatment on the exterior. As before, plans are organized around the grand salon, entrance hall, and suites of apartments. The stair hall and drawing room or saloon are usually on the main axis, flanked by other public rooms including a lavishly decorated dining room. 

Materials. Structures are of brick, local stone, or stucco. Early in the century, brick usually is red, but later its color varies from brown to gray, white, or cream. In the 1720s, façades begin to be stuccoed. Wood and metal portions of façades, including sashes, sash frames, shutters, doors, and door cases, are painted in bold colors whose variety and hue depend on the owner’s wealth. Less affluent homeowners primarily use greens, while the wealthy can choose off-whites, browns, grays, yellows, blues, and greens. Doors are a dark color, such as green, black, or red-brown, with a light-colored door case of wood or stone. Shutters, and sometimes sashes, are painted a dark color.

Façades. Façades are distinctive, having a temple front or pedimented portico at the center, Venetian or Palladian windows, and plain walls. Designers generally group windows, elements within porticoes, and other details in threes.  
 
Floors vary in size; first floors are the largest because they house the most important and public rooms. Stringcourses separate stories, and quoins delineate corners.
 
Windows and Doors: Most windows have uncomplicated surrounds, but some have pediments, quoins, or arched tops. Venetian or Palladian windows may be used singly or in sequences with some set within relieving arches as at Chiswick House.
 
Roofs. Neo-Palladian roofs are low-pitched hipped or flat with balustrades. Centers or ends of compositions sometimes are domed. Gothic-style roofs pitch steeply and may have battlemented parapets and towers with conical roofs.
 
 

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May 30, 2012 at 12:55 am

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English Neo-Palladian and Georgian: 1702–1770

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When George I takes the English throne in 1714, members of the Whig party appoint themselves as the arbiters of taste for the nation. Believing that rational, correct, and polite should define English architecture, they promote Neo-Palladian as the only proper style. Subsequently, the style in country and town-houses becomes a visual metaphor for the owner’s culture and education. Inside, classical architectural elements adorn rooms, display the owner’s refinement, and highlight the collections acquired on grand tours. By mid-century, classicism coexists with Rococo, Chinese, and Gothic influences in interiors and furniture.

 

During the 18th century, Britain acquires most of its vast empire. Her navy rules the seas, and she establishes industrial supremacy as the period remains relatively stable and prosperous. Queen Anne, the last of the Stuarts, rules from 1702 to 1714. She has little interest in government, art, literature, or the theater, and governs through advisors. She leaves no heirs when she dies. 

The Georgian period encompasses the reigns of George I (1714–1727), George II (1727–1760), and the first years of George III (1760–1820). During the period, England’s colonies increase in number and wealth, and she gains power, prestige, and territory in a series of wars. The treaty ending the War of the Spanish Succession gives England the French holdings around Hudson Bay, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland. It also expands trade with Spain’s American colonies.

 

 They reject the Baroque classicism of Sir Christopher Wren, Nicholas Hawksmoor, and John Vanbrugh in favor of the Renaissance classicism of Andrea Palladio and, more importantly, the Englishman Inigo Jones. Neo-Palladianism appeals because it is rational yet flexible, is based on antiquity, and has nationalistic associations. 

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May 30, 2012 at 12:40 am

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Continued…

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 Colors: During Le Régence, most paneling is painted white with gilded details. By the 1730s, a yellow, blue, or green palette joins white and gold.

Floors. The most common flooring is wood blocks or parquet. Entries, halls, landings, and grand salons may have marble or stone in blocks or squares. Rugs include Orientals, Savonneries, and Aubussons. 

WallsBoiserie with alternating wide and narrow panels is the most common wall treatment. Panels, moldings, and other architectural elements do not greatly project, giving little interruption in the flatness and smooth articulation of the walls. In contrast to its ornament and moldings, paneling remains symmetrical even to the point of a false door to balance a real one, and it retains the tripartite divisions of earlier, which implies an order, although no columns are evident. Asymmetrical curves, foliage, and shells soften the corners, bottoms, and tops of panels. Decoration, which at times obscures form, extends beyond moldings and borders. Curves may be free form or resemble a woman’s upper lip; complex compositions feature multiple C, reverse C, and S scrolls.

 

Tapestries, usually limited to grand rooms, depict Rococo themes in numerous colors and the subtle shadings of paintings. Wallpapers gain favor but are not used in rooms of state. Types include hand-painted Chinese papers, flocked English papers, and patterns imitating textiles. English papers dominate the French market until the late 1750s when war between the two countries halts their importation. Larger and more numerous mirrors with complex curvilinear frames are located on walls, over fireplaces, on ceilings, inside fireplaces in summer, and on window shutters.

 Coved ceilings, curving corners, and rocaille decoration extending onto the ceiling proper are the most common treatments. Some ceilings are plain with a central plaster rosette.

Textiles. Heavy brocades and damasks are no longer in vogue. Silks (especially painted), linens, chintzes, and other printed cottons are used in summer, while plain or patterned velvets or damasks replace them in winter. Sets of furniture often have matching tapestry covers. Textile colors are strong and brilliant. Crimson is most favored, followed by blue, yellow, green, gold, and silver. Patterns, which are frequently asymmetrical, depict Rococo themes and motifs.

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 Tables: The many types of tables include game, card, work, and toilet tables.

 StorageCommodes, first appear during Le Régence. During the Louis XV period, they are the most fashionable and lavishly decorated piece of furniture in the room, requiring the greatest skills of cabinetmaker and metalworker. 

 

 Beds. The most fashionable beds are the lit à la duchesse and the lit d’ange. Both have a low headboard and footboard but no posts. The lit à la polonaisehas four iron rods that curve up to support a dome-shaped canopy. 

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May 30, 2012 at 12:30 am

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INTERIORS

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Interiors and furnishings are the primary expressions of the Le Régence and Louis XV (Rococo) styles. Although associated with the reign of Louis XV, the Rococo style does not confine itself to those years. Attributes of Rococo begin to manifest in the late 17th century in the published designs and ornament of Jean Bérain and others and in the early-18th-century rooms at Versailles.

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Le Régence characteristics include a general lightening in the size of rooms and scale of finishes and decoration; asymmetry; and the appearance of naturalistic, curvilinear ornamentation. During the 1670s and 1680s, rooms become less formal. Wood paneling replaces heavy marble-paneled walls, columns and pilasters disappear, and cornices diminish in size. Corners and tops of paneling, doors, and windows begin to curve. Naturalistic, exotic, or fanciful ornamentation, which is usually asymmetrical, replaces classical.

Rocaille decoration with its asymmetrical profusion of curving tendrils, foliage, flowers combined with shells, and minute details defines the Louis XV interior. Also characteristic are themes and motifs of gaiety, pleasure, romance, youth, and the exotic. In all but the grandest and most formal rooms, classical elements are rare. Most rooms maintain a rectangular form, but curving lines, continuity of parts, and asymmetrical arrangements of naturalistic decorations characterize wall panels and finishes, ceilings, textiles, furniture, and decorative arts. Paneling may be designed to incorporate sofas, consoles, tables, beds, and/or mirrors.

Ornate Rococo interiors contrast with refined, plainer exteriors. Important and ceremonial spaces retain their monumental scale, whereas private rooms become smaller and more intimate. Some spaces are designed for special purposes, such as music rooms, but dining rooms remain uncommon. The planning and decoration of private spaces reflects a desire for comfort and convenience, whereas state apartments continue to proclaim wealth and rank

 

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Written by callawayinteriordesign

May 30, 2012 at 12:14 am

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Architecture

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Le Régence and Louis XV architecture continue the classicism of the Baroque era, but with an increased elegance and lightness in scale and appearance. Plain walls with surface decoration concentrated around doors and windows are characteristic. Larger windows reduce wall space and help to integrate outside and inside. Classical elements, such as the orders, are less common but still adorn noble houses to demonstrate rank and wealth.

Floor Plans. Plans are generally symmetrical with rectangular rooms. A few plans have oval spaces. designers carefully plan the distribution of rooms to give the appropriate dignity and grandeur required for the nobility while still providing comfort and privacy. 

Materials. Most hôtels are of local stone and trabeated construction.

Roofs. Mansard, hipped, or low-pitched or flat roofs with balustrades are typical.

 

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May 30, 2012 at 12:04 am

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Le Régence and Louis XV (Rococo): 1700–1760

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Rococo is the style and symbol of the French aristocracy in the first half of the 18th century. The name comes from rocaille (small rockeries) and coquille (cockle shell); the latter is a common motif. the style is asymmetrical, light in scale, and defined by curvilinear, naturalistic ornament. Themes and motifs include romance, country life, the exotic, fantasy, and gaiety. The style’s finest and most complete expression is in interiors, which display complete unity between decoration and furniture.

When Louis XIV dies in 1715, his grandson, who is next in line, is only five years old. Louis XIV had left France heavily in debt from various wars and the royal building campaigns. High taxes, wars, loss of the New World colonies, corruption, and mismanagement cripple France and increase dissatisfaction and unrest among the middle and lower classes. 

 

Motifs:  Motifs. Engaged columns, pilasters, pediments, quoins, stringcourses, brackets, and corbels appear sparingly and discretely on exteriors. Interior and furniture motifs include flowers, bouquets tied with ribbon, baskets of flowers, garlands, shells, Chinoiserie and singerie designs, romantic landscapes, Italian comedy figures, musical instruments, hunting and fishing symbols, cupids, bows and arrows, torches, shepherds and shepherdesses, Turkish arabesques and figures, pastoral emblems such as shepherd crooks, and an allover trellis pattern with flowers in the center of intersecting lines.

 

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May 29, 2012 at 11:58 pm

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