A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:
For nearly two and a half centuries, the stunning achievement of the Amber Room stood as one of the world’s most exquisite works of art. Conceived and originally constructed in Prussia, it was soon thereafter presented to one of the most enlightened and forward-thinking of the Russian Tsars. There it was expanded and enhanced by his successors until it ranked as one of the wonders of the world and a powerful symbol of the glory of Mother Russia. It reached the apotheosis of its design and ornamentation scant decades before the Regency, and was famous across the Continent, indeed, the world, as a treasure beyond price. It survived Bonaparte and his invasion of Russia, yet like the Royal Hanoverian Creams, what Napoleon could not destroy, the Nazis ultimately did. But during the Regency, visitors to Russia with entrée into royal circles would have had the opportunity to behold this magnificent masterpiece.
The Amber Room, from its conception to the Regency …
A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:
In the opinion of many art historians, myself included, it was during the decade of the Regency that the sideboard reached the pinnacle of its design and craftsmanship. Regency sideboards were elegant, graceful, but highly functional furniture forms, not equaled before or since.
But this board at the side of the table had been in use for centuries before the decade of Regency and would continue in use right up to the present day. What was so special about the sideboard in the Regency?
Regency Furniture can be a real puzzle. What did they do with it?
Can you answer The Beau Monde’s questions about furniture? eg What is a Canterbury? What does it do?
Have you ever begun to research one thing and curiosity leads you to other places, people, or objects? How good is your Regency era knowledge?
Bonhams Auction is selling a Mahogany Canterbury, plus lots of other intriguing items sure to stir the imagination of all Regency romance authors. Some items could certainly be used to provide comic relief.
Following on from our last exploration of the what every historian ‘Must See’ when in New York City for the Romance Writers of America conference, we take another peek at the Frick Collection. Turkish Taste at the Court of Marie-Antoinette will be exhibited from June 8, 2011, through September 11, 2011.
It was during the late eighteenth century at the court of Marie-Antoinette that the Turkish style reached new heights, inspiring some of the period’s most original creations, namely boudoirs or cabinets decorated entirely in the Turkish manner.
Or for those interested in earlier periods of history, In a New Light: Bellini’s St. Francis in the Desert is displayed through August 28, 2011.
- The Frick Collection New York City (thebeaumondeworld.wordpress.com)
We hope you enjoy Part 2 of Victoria and Albert Museum all Regency era fans will love.
Thomas Hope’s startling juxtaposition of styles included Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Indian elements, as well as his own version of the French Empire style. Classical sculpture and vases were displayed alongside modern paintings and sculpture. Most striking of all was the inventive and exotic furniture that Hope designed specifically for the house.
The Egyptian Room
The Egyptian Room was one of the most inventive interiors of its date in Europe. Here Hope displayed his belief in the importance of the ancient Egyptians to the origins of western culture.Mingling genuine pieces of Egyptian sculpture with exotic furniture designed by himself in an Egyptian manner, he also exploited his novel colour theories. The walls and furniture, he explained, were in the ‘pale yellow and bluish green of the Egyptian pigments, relieved by masses of black and of gold.’
The Statue Gallery
In the Statue Gallery, Hope placed his finest pieces of antique sculpture. The design was austere, with top-lighting, a coffered ceiling and yellow-painted walls. To avoid ‘interfering’ with the contour and purity of the white marble statues, Hope left the walls ‘perfectly plain’. Although Hope believed that many of the sculptures were Greek, they are now recognised as later Roman versions. In the past, critics decried these works as copies, but today Roman sculpture is seen as having value in its own right, as do the interventions of 18th century restorers. These restorations, seen in many of Hope’s antique statues, were the work of dealers catering for the Grand Tour market.
The Vase Room
There were four Vase Rooms at Duchess Street, in which Hope displayed his vast collection of Greek figured vases. The vases, he wrote, ‘relate chiefly to the Bacchanalian rites connected with the representations of mystic death and regeneration’. He therefore designed shelves and cabinets decorated with carved heads of the bearded Bacchus. Also, since many vases had been discovered in tombs near Naples, one room had ‘recesses, imitating the ancient Columbaria, or receptacles of Cinerary urns’. The exhibition features an interior that evokes the Vase Rooms at Duchess Street. The bronze lamp and mahogany display cupboard in this recreated interior came from the Third Vase Room, where furnishings ‘of a quiet hue and of a sepulchral cast’ matched the vases.
The Aurora Room
This theatrical interior was one of Hope’s most inventive and colourful creations at Duchess Street. Mirrors reflected the central feature – the statue of Aurora, goddess of dawn. The walls were hung with ‘satin curtains … of the fiery hue which fringes the clouds just before sunrise’, below ‘a ceiling of cooler sky blue.’ The colours used in the display are an attempt to reproduce faithfully the original decorative scheme. They are also based on surviving contemporary rooms, including those created by Sir John Soane, who visited Duchess Street in 1802.
Here is a thing of beauty! This Regency gaming table went on sale as part of the contents of Ashdown House, auctioned off at Sothebys last year. As you can see from the chequerboard top, it was designed for games such as chess or draughts but could also be used for cards games like faro, piquet and whist. If you click on the picture on the left you will see that the squares contain pictures of country scenes and that the surround also shows leaves and rosettes and flowers. It’s exquisite!
Many gaming tables I have seen are made of wood, mahogany being the most popular choice, with brass decoration and rosewood veneers. They could double up to serve as a tea table, a writing desk or even a needlework table. Some of them open up so that the cards – or needlework – can be stored in the space beneath. I’ve seldom seen any as pretty as this one, though, and would gladly give it house room. I hope you like it too!