Regency Style (1811-1830)

Regency style was developed during the regency of George, prince of Wales, and during his entire reign as King George IV of England, ending in 1830.

Model of an interior in Regency style with (foreground) a rotunda, presumably based on a design by Sir John Soane, and (background) a library, adapted from designs made in 1767 by Robert Adam for Kenwood House, London.
Model of an interior in Regency style with (foreground) a rotunda, presumably based on a design by Sir John Soane, and (background) a library, adapted from designs made in 1767 by Robert Adam for Kenwood House, London. Image source: https://www.britannica.com/art/Regency-style

 

Where does the term “regency” comes from? 

The Regency in Great Britain was a period when King George III was deemed unfit to rule and his son ruled as his proxy as Prince Regent.

George IV was born in 1762. He acted as Prince Regent from 1811 to 1820. On the death of George III in 1820, the Prince Regent became George IV up to 1830.

The term Regency (or Regency era) can refer to various stretches of time: some are longer period than the decade of the formal Regency which lasted from 1811–1820. The period 1795 to 1837, which includes the latter part of the reign of George III and the reigns of his sons George IV and William IV, is often attributed as the Regency era characterised by distinctive trends in British architecture, literature, fashions, politics, and culture.

Info source: http://www.museumfurniture.com/regency; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regency_era

 as the Prince Regent,1814.
George IV of the United Kingdom as the Prince Regent,1814. Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regency_era#/media/File:George_IV_bust1.jpg

 

WHICH ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT REGENCY STYLE ARTISTS?

Forerunner of this style was John Nash, who designed in this style Regent’s Park and Regent Street in London.

Also important was Thomas Hope who had a major influence on taste in the Regency period. He was a designer and patron. His importance stems from his belief that an interior should be stylistically harmonious, an idea he put into practice in the innovative designs for his own London home. He recorded this work in a book “Household Furniture and Decoration”, which became a major source for designers. It was the first book to use the phrase ‘interior decoration’.

Another principal arbiters of Regency taste is Thomas Sheraton and George Smith, who pubblished designs for Regency forniture.

Info source: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/style-guide-regency-classicism

Cumberland Terrace, Regent’s Park, London, by John Nash, 1826–27.
Cumberland Terrace, Regent’s Park, London, by John Nash, 1826–27. Image source: https://www.britannica.com/art/Western-architecture/Classicism-1750-1830
The Egyptian Room', Plate 8, 'Household Furniture & Interior Decoration', by Thomas Hope, London, UK, 1817.
The Egyptian Room’, Plate 8, ‘Household Furniture & Interior Decoration’, by Thomas Hope, London, UK, 1817. Image source: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/t/thomas-hope/

Regency style Characteristics: 

The style perfectly follows the neoclassical architecture of the Georgian style, adding a touch of elegance and brightness to the structures. Infact, the major source of inspiration for Regency taste was found in Greek and Roman antiquity, from which designers borrowed both structural and ornamental elements.

  • vertically striped wallpaper
  • resurgence of the Chinese theme (seen in imitation bamboo and in painted and “japanned” black and gold lacquer pieces, most notably at Brighton Pavilion, where the prince ordered its use).
  • new interest of Egyptian motifs such as winged sun-discs, hawks and crocodiles. (resulted from the Napoleonic expeditions to Egypt in 1798).

 

  • Regency furniture style elements are:

rosettes

masks

metal paw feet on legs of chairs and tables

loose-ring handles, some with lion masks

Brass was used for decoration

rosewood and zebrawood veneers were used for a striking look.

 

  • Regency architecture:

main facade (where you will find the door), usually black in color, and flanked by two columns that sometimes support a balcony.

-The balconies are often wrought iron

-the arched windows.

Info source: https://www.britannica.com/art/Regency-style; http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/s/style-guide-regency-classicism/; http://www.museumfurniture.com/regency.

Library drum table in regency style
Library drum table in regency style
Chair in Regency style.
Chair in Regency style.
“side cabinet” Regency style
“side cabinet” Regency style

images source: http://www.museumfurniture.com/regency/#8chair and library

Chair
 in Beechwood, japanned black and gilt, with gilt-brass motifs.
Chair
 in Beechwood, japanned black and gilt, with gilt-brass motifs.
A classical house in Regency style.
A classical house in Regency style.

Images source: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/s/style-guide-regency-classicism/