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English Regency vs. French Regency Furniture Styles

English Regency vs. French Regency Furniture Styles

The adoration and beauty found within antique and antique furniture are impossible to deny. Traditions and undeniable styles that have transcended the years prevail, allowing homeowners to choose décor that will outperform anything mass-produced today. Antique furniture, as well as their careful reproductions, easily become heirlooms that can be passed down through generations. This unique ability allows each antique piece to carry the deeply personal histories and stories of their owners and families, which cannot be easily duplicated with anything else.

You do not need to be an expert to love the way antique reproduction furniture melds into nearly any style of dwelling, apartment, or home. However, antique styling can be a touch confusing to those brand new to their appreciation. The difference between English Regency vs. French Regency-style furniture certainly sounds similar, but rest assured, they are quite different in how they appear.

French Regency Style

Beginning in the 18th century when King Louis XV was still too young to take the throne, Philippe d’Orléans governed in his place, and these are considered to be the French Regency or Régence years. Phillip governed as Prince Regent and the furniture, as well as decorative arts during his regency, were transitioning styles reflective of the times. The furniture made at this time showed both the previous Baroque influences that were popular during the reign of Louis XIV and the rising Rococo looks that would become fashionable in the future when King Louis XV became an adult.

Slowly we can begin to see in this Régence era style the development of curving lines, gently sloping shapes, and hints of feminine influences that would blossom full-blown toward Rococo in a few years. The transition from hints and gentle curves would soon become lavish carvings, sensuous and eye-pleasing shapes of Rococo furniture.

French Regency furniture shared a few very signature looks:

  • Seating becomes more comfortable and a bit more lavish in general. Curved backs rather than straight and rigid feature in many chairs. Cane chairs begin to be popular at this time as well. The Régence era encouraged decadent, elegant conversations around the table for fun as well as gossip.
  • New motifs appeared: shells, mythological beasts, and masques could be seen intricately carved in wood.
  • Curvy, beautiful cabriole legs and hoofed feet are featured often at the end of the legs.
  • Wood could be accented with rich hints of marble or regally gilt in golden bronze and metals with ormolu ornaments.

English Regency Style

One hundred years after the Régence style in France, across the channel in England began the English Regency period. Early in the 19th century, George IV served as Prince Regent on behalf of his father, George III, who was too ill to govern. While that was when the English Regency can trace its estimated beginning, it is an epoch that lasted many years. The English Regency continued until roughly 1837.

At the end of the Georgian period, many beautiful pieces of furniture, as well as architecture, was created. These objects featured the classically, nearly perfectly proportioned designs that English Regency furniture became famous for.

Common English Regency features:

  • Straight lines, crisp and clean edges are a staple.
  • Egyptian, Greek, and Roman inspiration carried over by the Neoclassical Georgian era are retained.
  • Dark woods were favored most especially, mahogany for dramatic effect. Veneers were also popular to simulate the look of luxury, accented with gold and metals.
  • Ornamentation that was prevalent during the English Regency Style included rosettes, laurel wreaths, acanthus leaves, and lyres. Lions or lion masks could be featured as well.
  • Furniture and cabinetry makers at the time focused on symmetrical and streamlined designs, moving away from the more ornate flourishes one can find in the French Regency.

English Regency vs. French Regency Style Furniture

Given the contrast in design, you may now be able to see the large divide between the straight lines of the Neoclassical English Regency influence compared to the flourished, gentle curvature of the French Regency. Each of these styles is as enchanting and stunning as the other, with their unique reflections of the era in which they were born. It makes no difference should you prefer the gorgeous curves of the French Regency or the clean lines of the English Regency, either style is timeless and simply stunning to add to any home.

Choose stunning English Regency furniture for your exquisite dining room or pick French Regency to create a warm, inviting living room or bedroom. The graceful curvature in French Regency will surely create a sense of inviting and cozy lavishness with eye-catching allure.

Whether you choose English Regency, French Regency or both, it would be our pleasure to help make your dream antique reproduction décor come to life. Customization of your furniture is also very easy. Contact our expert custom design department to recreate a beloved antique from memory or create a true one-of-a-kind piece of heirloom furniture just for you.

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