Whether you’re interested in antiques or pieces inspired by the past, it helps to know what you’re looking for. That’s why we’re bringing to you Design Lessons, easy primers on different styles informed by our expert curators.
Today, we’re focusing on the Baroque period—a very exciting time in design history. The Baroque period spanned many, many years, which means the style evolved in many interesting ways. As a result, experts categorize furniture from this timespan into different eras. These eras are defined by differences in style. There’s the Early Baroque, which was defined by relatively simple construction and decoration and was consistent in Europe and America during the early-to-mid-17th century. The Late Baroque followed, bringing us the features that we often associate with the word “baroque.” Produced for ecclesiastical, royal and aristocratic clients, furniture from this period was much more extravagant. You’ll see motifs like shells, masks, Greek key, c-scrolls and s-curves.
Further, Baroque styles differed by geographic origin. In Italy, furniture making became much more sophisticated, so you’ll see pieces with more elaborate decoration than in the earlier period. In France, the Louis XIV style (which developed after Louis’ reign) offered a more elegant interpretation of the style. Features from this period include the lavish use of ormolu mounts and marquetry inlay. In England, furniture in the Baroque style utilizes many of the same decorative motifs seen elsewhere in a uniquely “English” way. The style is best exemplified by the work of William Kent, an architect, painter and landscape gardener who studied (perhaps unsurprisingly) in Italy.
Interested in finding the perfect Baroque or Baroque-inspired piece for your home? Here are just a few of our favorites: