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Interior Design Style - Georgian

Looking at different styles during the Georgian period

The Georgian and Regency periods in England span the reign of four consecutive King Georges, from the accession of George I in 1714 until the death of George IV in 1830.

The Georgian style didn't consist of only one interior style; the interior fashions changed throughout the century and included four main artistic styles: Palladianism, Rococo, Neoclassicism and Regency.

Early Georgian (1714 - 1745)

The Baroque style was still very much "in" at the beginning of the Georgian era but was quickly replaced by Palladianism, which was inspired by the architecture of the early Roman Empire and was a statement against the theatricality of the Baroque.

Returning from his Grand Tour, the famous aristocratic amateur architect Lord Burlington was very keen to promote the Palladian revival, and he became the leading authority on all things architectural. He was determined that English architecture should be reformed based on the models of Palladio and Inigo Jones and wanted to replace the excesses of the Baroque architects. One of the grandest houses he was involved in was the Palladian style Holkham Hall in Norfolk.

Mid Georgian (1745 - 1760)

By the middle of the century, the trendy Georgians wanted to move away from the restrictions of Palladianism and many of them fell in love with the French Rococo style which was light, playful and naturalistic. Rococo was all about sensuous curves and asymmetrical flourishes, there were no straight lines or symmetry.

The elaborately carved mirror frame in the drawing room at Peckover House in Wisbech is a wonderful expression of the Rococo style, and the beautiful Chinese cabinet next to the fireplace is an example of Chinoiserie, an aspect of the English Rococo style that became popular during this time.

The Chinese taste was at its height during the early 18th century and expeditions to the Orient led to a heightened interest in exotica, especially from East Asia and India. Genuine Chinese pieces imported from China were far too expensive for the middle classes and European artists started producing cheaper imitations to satisfy the growing demand for Eastern imports. It is this new style that emerged, entirely invented by Europeans, that became known as Chinoiserie.

With its characteristics of asymmetry and depictions of Chinese figures, dragons, pagodas and fantasy elements, chinoiserie is still very popular in interior design schemes today.

The Alysson McDermott studio offers a beautiful selection of chinoiserie inspired wallpapers and panels.

The Gothick style, an English version of the French Rococo, appeared around the 1740's. We can see this in the follies and garden temples that were built during this time.

Strawberry Hill, built by Horace Walpole, is the perfect example of English Gothick.