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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 tables 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 wreathes, 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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American Breakfront Bookcase "Library Bookcase with Wings"
Located in New York, NY
Breakfront bookcase [library book case with wings], circa 1815–1820 New York Mahogany (secondary woods: mahogany, pine, and poplar), with wood and composition capitals and bases, v...
Category

19th Century American Neoclassical Antique Neoclassical Period Collection

Materials

Glass, Mahogany, Wood

A Fantastic Quality Mid 19th Century Gilt Bronze Mounted Commode By Pretot
By Hippolyte-Edme Pretot
Located in New York, NY
A Fantastic Quality Mid 19th Century Gilt Bronze Mounted Louis XVI Style Mahogany Commode By Pretot A marble top above a frieze applied with scrolling-vine mounts and fronted by tw...
Category

Mid-19th Century French Belle Époque Antique Neoclassical Period Collection

Materials

Marble, Bronze

English George III Period Bookcase in Mahogany, circa 1800
Located in Atlanta, GA
A George III bookcase cabinet, constructed in mahogany throughout with glazed upper bookcase section. The piece dating from the turn of the 19th century, and English in origin. The...
Category

Early 19th Century English George III Antique Neoclassical Period Collection

Materials

Mahogany

Dutch Neoclassic Sycamore, Ebonized Marquetry Credenza
Located in Miami, FL
The whole inlaid with armorial trophies and foliate, as well geometric motif, with bronze mounts.
Category

19th Century Dutch Antique Neoclassical Period Collection

Materials

Bronze

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