INSPIRATION: The Empires Strike Back

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During the early part of the 19th century, the French and English were riding a wave of neo-Classical-influenced styles that affected the way architecture, interiors, and furnishings looked. The New York Public Library explores these modes with its exhibition “Decoration in the Age of Napoleon: Empire Elegance Versus Regency Refinement.” You can refresh your knowledge of history and check out the pattern books and prints that depict the reliance on the aesthetics of the ancients—Greek, Roman, and even Egyptian influences abound between the two styles. The English tended more toward an elegant simplicity (think of the film Emma), while the French lavished things up a bit, often using dark woods and draperies. The exhibit runs through April 2, 2005. —Mark Mavrigian

Image courtesy of the New York Public Library. William Henry Pyne, "Rose Satin Drawing Room, Carlton House," hand-colored engraving, 1819.
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