The French Restoration style was predominantly Neo-classic, yet was also the beginning of Romanticism.
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.
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.
Image source: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/205749
Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gondola_chair
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.
Image source: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/206989
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.
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.
Image source: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/199071