Since the early 19th Century, France had been politically unsettled and divided. When one faction was in power, the other was plotting reform. By 1848, the monarchy had been reinstated for 23 years and another revolution was gathering momentum.
The Revolution of 1848 overthrew Louis-Philippe and the monarchy for the final time. This had major consequences for France and, of course, its decorative arts and furniture.
After four years which are known as the Second Republic, the nephew of Emperor Napoleon I, Napoleon III, was crowned as Emperor of France in 1852, and France entered its Second Empire between 1852 and 1870.
The Louis-Philippe style quickly fell out of fashion as Napoleon III set about establishing his new presidential power. Rather than reverting to the Empire Style and the promotion of the ancient empires favoured by his uncle, Napoleon I, Napoleon III set about establishing his legitimacy through wealth, lavish ceremony and grandeur.
In fact, Napoleon III made for an unusual Emperor in his aesthetic taste – rather than celebrating the new or the republican, he instead harked back to characteristics that were associated with the absolutist French monarchy of the 18th Century.
Considering that he was meant to represent a forward-looking, fresh start for France, it was quite ironic that in many ways Napoleon III presided over an age of revival in fine, heavily ornate furniture and the decorative arts.
However, given that France had been embroiled in social and political turmoil for the past 60 years, perhaps this age of revival was a nostalgia for the continuity that had united France for several hundred years up until the Revolution of 1792.
The Napoleon III style dominated painting, architecture, furniture and the decorative arts between 1852 and 1880 during the Second Empire under its namesake, Napoleon III.
Sometimes referred to as the Second Empire style, the Napoleon III style asserted its authority and presence through unadulterated wealth. Fine craftsmanship and excessive details were paramount features of this style, and one of the primary rules in Napoleon III style decoration was to never leave any space unadorned.
Napoleon 3 style are very common in Beirut, Lebanon. Antique1900 has focused on this era and has many collectibles master peices from Napoleon iii period.
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