Charles X Style

The French Restoration Style was predominantly Neo-classic, yet was also the beginning of Romanticism.

The Coronation of Charles X painting: Men stand in a large room dressed in traditional attire. The painting uses harsh reds, blacks and yellows.
Consecration of Charles X as King of France in the Cathedral of Reims by Gerard Francois (1827)

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The Beginning of Charles X Style

During Charles X’s reign, an artistic style of the same name was adapted to fit the tastes of the new Bourgeois society. Further, this style spread from 1818 to 1834, during the Bourbon Restoration, and the novels of Balzac are useful to describe the comfortable apartments of the time. Yet, the style did not completely replace the furnishing style from the French Empire, but is distinctly different from the formal Napoleonic era.

The Count of Artois: Charles X of France, portrait. A middle-aged man with traditional royal attire and white hair.
The Count of Artois: Charles X of France, portrait (1826)

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Features of Charles X Style

Charles X style s differed from the formal character of the Napoleonic era, during which rigor and simplicity were fused with Greco-Roman art. In terms of furniture, this renewal was distinguished by softer lines. Additionally, even though the minimal aspect from the French Empire are evident, forms became curvier with volutes and arabesques. Another distinction is desire for smaller dimensions.

A golden candelabra with ornate flourishes.
Pair of three-light candelabra (1750)

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Gondola Chairs
A medium-wood gondola chair with a red cushion adorned with white flourish details.
A gondola chair made about 1820.

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Chair design reflected the ongoing change that made rooms more intimate and personal with conversational seating places. Thus, the predominant chair shape during this time was the Gondola, which was comfortable yet easy to move. During the reign of Charles X the employment of blond woods, became popular. However, dark wood marquetry were used for decorative effect.

Commode à vantaux, created by Roentgen. The commode is made of light wood with inlays made out of dark woods to resemble foliage.
Commode à vantaux (1775–79) created by David Roentgen

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One of the most emblematic features of this style is the creation of “bois clair.” At the beginning of the 19th century, dark woods were difficult to find. Therefore, furniture had precious inlays made out of dark woods used to resemble foliage and to create a contrast with the veneering. Even though these decorations may look like bronze patterns from the Empire era, they were lighter.

Restoration Interiors

One of the best examples of Restoration-style interiors is the Charles X museum inside the Louvre, created for the annual Salon of artists. The ceilings were often decorated with paintings and rich ornamentation, featuring cornucopias, columns, and pilasters. Moreover, the Restoration period saw the rise of the neo-Gothic style, which gained relevance in interior design during the 1820s. Thus, elements seen in gothic cathedrals, such as arches and rose windows, became popular in France.

Light wall with a dark wood panel that comes up half the wall. Above which there are stained-glass window.
Chapel from Le Château de la Bastie d’Urfé (1547–48)

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