Empire Initials mark the end of informed neoclassical and revivalist ornamentation, and the beginnings of ostentation and the over-adornment so representative of Victorian eclecticism. ‘White-out’ decorated fat types were produced within a very short Late Regency period, from the 1820s-40s, of fevered expression within the decorative arts. It was a time that celebrated the campaign victories of military heroes, and delighted in the art treasure of antique civilisations. Wealth, collections from the ‘grand tour’, and more importantly good taste were fervently and extravagantly displayed. England adopted the spirit of French Empire style and although no strictly Napoleonic devices appeared, the same classical symbolism that reflected the french republics self-acclaimed association with the Roman Empire - adorned England's grandiose interiors also.
The classical motif of the laurel wreath was a symbol of the conquering Caesar and emperor, and the circular rosette ornament was much utilised on the funeral stele of classical Greece, so it would seem an highly appropriate device to here mark - the passing of informed restraint within ornamentation.

 


Empire Initials