The Influence of Politics on Antique Furniture Design: The influence of politics on art is widely spoken about and understood, less so the impact on 19th century furniture design and the trickle-on effect of politics on furniture manufacture. Here we take a look at Regency and French Empire and the influences on such designs. Enjoy.
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Much is made of the influence of geopolitical influences on the fine art world through the Middle Ages to today, however less is spoken about the trickle on effect this has on antique furniture design. The reality is that impact was significant and never mores than during the French Empire and Regency periods.
Napoleon was a master propagandist, and was highly successful in using art as a propaganda tool to prop up his regime and convince the population of his various campaigns. Never is this more evident than with his escapade to the far reaches of North Africa, when he used Egyptian discoveries and motifs to preempt his return to England and convince e the population his failed military campaign had been a success.
The Regency and Empire periods in terms of design ran roughly in tandem with one another – hardly surprising given that both countries were closely located to one another geographically but experiencing on opposing sides similar political circumstances in Europe.
It is perhaps fair to say that England borrowed more from France in terms of design aesthetic, hardly surprising given France was still considered to be the European epicentre of design at this point.
In this video we explore two pieces of Regency furniture, and how very short periods of time produced significant changes in design, largely a result of the political climate that existed.