The 17th century, in both Southern and Northern Europe, was characterized by opulent, often gilded Baroque designs that frequently incorporated a profusion of vegetal and scrolling ornament. Starting in the eighteenth century, furniture designs began to develop more rapidly. Although there were some styles that belonged primarily to one nation, such as Palladianism in Great Britain or Louis Quinze in French furniture, others, such as the Rococo and Neoclassicism were perpetuated throughout Western Europe.
During the 18th century, the fashion was set in England by the French art. In the beginning of the century Boulle cabinets were at the peak of their popularity and Louis XIV was reigning in France. In this era, most of the furniture had metal and enamelled decorations in it and some of the furniture was covered in inlays of marbles lapis lazuli, and porphyry and other stones. By mid-century this Baroque style was displaced by the graceful curves, shining ormolu, and intricate marquetry of the Rococo style, which in turn gave way around 1770 to the more severe lines of Neoclassicism, modeled after the architecture of ancient Greece and Rome. Creating a mass market for furniture, the distinguished London cabinet maker Thomas Chippendale's The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker's Director (1754) is regarded as the "first comprehensive trade catalogue of its kind".
There is something so distinct in the development of taste in French furniture, marked out by the three styles to which the three monarchs have given the name of "Louis Quatorze", "Louis Quinze", and "Louis Seize". This will be evident to anyone who will visit, first the Palace of Versailles, then the Grand Trianon, and afterwards the Petit Trianon.
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