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Many styles of decor are named after the ruling monarch of the time. And Regency furniture is no exception. Strictly speaking, the Regency period only covered from 1811 to 1820 which is when the then Prince of Wales (latterly George IV) took on the responsibilities of his father, George III, while he was incapacitated. However, in reality Regency furniture is often opened up to a period of around 40 years – 1795-1837 – which includes when the Prince of Wales formally ascended to the throne after the king’s death. Regency chairs are similar in style to the rest of the furniture in this genre, offering sophisticated design and exquisite craftsmanship. Beautiful and striking, Regency furniture is extremely distinctive. At Vinterior we have a collection of Regency chairs and other furniture from this era, all available here on our online marketplace. Take a look today and discover for yourself the beauty of the Regency design.
What is the Regency style?George IV, the Prince of Wales formerly, was the acting monarch during the Regency period and presided over a time when furniture was ornate, decorative and a real statement. Inspiration for the Regency look came from Greek and Roman antiques, combined with some influence from Egypt too. Some parts of Regency decor also dipped into the Oriental style with black and gold lacquered pieces. Thomas Hope and George Smith were key designers during this time, creating furniture for the Royal Pavilion.
Another influence on Regency style was much closer to home: Admiral Nelson. His naval victories had won him many admirers and following his death, there were many nods to him in the design of furniture. This included ebony being chosen as the wood and carved draping which bore a striking similarity to his sarcophagus. The Trafalgar Chair was one of the best-known Regency chairs, with many sea-faring themes carved into it, including dolphins, anchors and rope.
What do Regency chairs look like?There’s no question that the Regency era is one of the most admired for furniture design with many truly beautiful pieces created.
Chairs were heavily carved and ornate, made from expensive timber such as rosewood, mahogany and zebrawood, all of which were heavy, dark woods in keeping with the style. You won’t find many, if any, authentic pale wooden designs from the Regency period.
Dining-style chairs were particularly popular during these years and gained almost iconic status, very different from today. These can be identified by the high-set arms against the back, shaped legs, flat top or broad rails on the back and decorations which often included the feet or heads of animals. The chair legs typically ended in “paws”.
If you are looking for a comfier style of chair, many vintage designs have their roots in Regency styling. Padded office chairs and even armchairs have the same elegance of design, with ornate features, high arms and intricate features. Not necessarily made in the Regency era, these are vintage designs which are heavily influenced by the era, such as Bernhadt’s leather club chairs.