Regency style represents works that were born in the period of the reign of George, Prince of Wales, and lasted throughout his reign as King George IV. He reigned from 1820 to 1830. It originated from neoclassicism, which was dominant in Europe at the end of the 18th century.
To fully understand why works of art developed in that way during this period, it is necessary to keep in mind the two dominant and conflicting historical sides. As a consequence of the conflict between England and France, two artistic movements will emerge Empire style and Regency style. At that time, Napoleon I ruled in France and brought an art program that lasted until the end of his reign. In England, the future King George IV wanted to do a similar thing to celebrate the grandeur of England and foster its beauty through artistic creation.
This historical period, also known as the Napoleonic era, was marked by significant discoveries in Greece, Rome, and Egypt. The presence of Egyptian motifs within the regency style is a consequence of Napoleon’s expeditions to Egypt in 1798.
Having in mind the situation of two conflicting forces, the question arises as to how they influenced the works of art in the form of design and what are its dominant elements?
Since the Napoleonic era was marked by constant war conflicts, it will also affect the interior design in the form of camp – furniture or bedsore tented beds. On the other hand, the greatest source of inspiration for the Regency style was Greek and Roman antiquity, from where the designers took over not only the structure but also certain motifs.
Sometimes, not just bad things happen as a result of the conflict. The period of conflict between England and France contributed to the exchange of certain artistic symbols and details. In this way, some Egyptian symbols became part of the Regency style. Variations of the Regency style led to the return of the Chinese design, which was resurrected in the form of imitation ( bamboo wood ) and lacquered Japanese stuff ordered by George IV.
When we talk about the Regency style, it should be pointed out that the ornaments present on the surfaces of the furniture are primarily a consequence of the use of metal and painting and not permanent carvings. In that sense, and unlike other styles that we mentioned, it seems easier to incorporate elements here so that, on the one hand, we have modern elements but well combined with styles from the time of Napoleon I or George IV. Regency style is also described as a style ”a strong feeling for utility combined with visually pleasing elements”.
Furthermore, what we can mention as some of the other characteristics of the Regency style are certainly the use of wood, expensive wallpaper, but also the typical black and white color of the façade ( when we talk about the exterior). If we don’t forget that the Regency style is inspired, above all, by ancient Greece and Rome, we will not be surprised if, as some of its elements, we find a lion’s head in the interior, as well as elegantly sculpted and symmetrical lines. Popular types of wood used for furniture are mahogany, walnut, and rosewood.
After the victory at Waterloo in 1815, the Regency style will continue to flourish. One of the most famous architects associated with the Regency style is John Nash.
Author: Miloš Lazarević