Filled with distinctive style and pizzaz, the Empire style is one of my favorite periods of furniture to use in my designs. Antiques are like visual history books, and the empire style is no exception! This style tells the story of Napoleon Bonaparte’s rule in France, painting an picture through furniture of an idealized time of leadership and victory. These pieces were both dignified and monumental, utilizing symbols and evidence of Napoleon’s conquests to celebrate his rule.
Taking you on a journey through the Napoleonic Empire, these ornate pieces originate in the early 19th century and embody the grandeur of architecture from ancient Egypt and Rome. Napoleon wanted his rule to be associated with regimes he wanted to emulate, and as a result pieces were infused with these Greek and Roman styles. This bow front commode we have in our warehouse showcases architectural details that embody this principle, featuring ebonized corinthian columns and lion-pawed feet, both influences taken from Ancient Greece!
“Ebonizing” was a popular practice during this period, as darker woods and finishes were preferred in the making of this regal furniture. Though mahogany was the wood of choice, walnut and other woods were used to create a similar effect.
Geometry was important in Empire furniture design, featuring flat planes and sharp corners accented with gorgeous symmetrical details. Egyptian motifs were common in the empire style, emblematic of Napoleon’s Egyptian conquests. These types of embellishments can be found in our Italian Noir Empire Banquette, featuring Egyptian style busts and gilded acanthus leaves, symbolizing the “enduring life” Napoleon wanted for his empire!
To experience these pieces is to experience a little bit of history. One of the things I love most about antiques is how they allow you to reach out and touch these stories of the past. Each piece in our warehouse is an exciting window into a unique tale of history. That being said, I am thrilled to be bringing back a container full of new stories with our latest shipment of European antiques! Don’t forget to join me on August 25th and 26th at 1526 Religious Street to gain access wholesale pricing on all current and incoming antiques.
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