Restoration Style (1660–1685)

Restoration Style was named Carolean style: during the restoration of Charles II monarchy it was used in England.

Portrait of Charles II, old picture.

 Image source: https://www.biography.com/royalty/charles-ii-of-england

History of Carolean Style

The Carolean style or Restoration Style is about English decorative arts, became popular after Charles II came back to the throne in 1660. The return from exile on the Continent led brought to the elimination of the the Puritan severity in the country. A completely new taste for magnificence and opulence and the introduction of Dutch and French artistic influences created a whole new sensibility.


Charles II portrait bust, Honor Pelle, 1684

Image source: https://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O8859/charles-ii-portrait-bust-pelle-honore/

Restoration period Masterpieces

Squerryes Court in Westerham was a beautiful estate of red bricks. This mansion was built for Sir Nicholas Crisp, who purchased Squerryes in A.D. 1680. It is a manor house which was conceived in the Restoration period.

Squerryes Court, Westerham, Kent.
Squerryes Court, Westerham, Kent.

Image source: https://mapio.net/pic/p-84113417/

Ham House in Richmond was restored in the 1670s by the Duke of Lauderdale. The architect was William Samwell. The interiors are richly adorned with baroque muralson the ceilings by Antonio Verrio.

Ham House, Richmond.

Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ham_House,_Richmond.jpg

Charles II wanted the architect Hugh May to supervise the modernisation of the Royal Apartments in Windsor Castle, the largest baroque State Apartments in England. The extravagant appearance of his new interiors was heightened by very expensive textiles and wonderful tapestries, which, to be preserved, were exposed when the King and Queen lived in residence.

St George’s Hall, Windsor Castle, 1819

Image source: https://wikioo.org/paintings.php?refarticle=9DHRL3&titlepainting=castello+di+windsor+%2C+Cattedrale+di+st+George%27s+Sala&artistname=Charles+Wild

Characteristics of Restoration Style

These are the main features of this style:

  • CURVING FORMS

Flowing forms were a feature of Restoration style. Particular carvings and high-relief decorations created a sense of dynamism that was gracefully contained by the symmetry of the overall design;

  • RICH FINISHES

Ornate, rich finishes were very popular. Gold and silver were used to embellish wood and leather;

  • SPIRAL COLUMNS

Spirally twisted forms were used to create supports;

  • NATURAL MOTIFS

Fruit, flowers and acanthus leaves had long been used to decorate furnitures;

A Charles II style table.
A Charles II style table.

Image source: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/s/style-guide-restoration/

Info source: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Charles-II-king-of-Great-Britain-and-Ireland

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