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Georgian Style Archives - Letters from EuroLux

English Regency V. French Regency Style Furniture

People sometimes get confused about the difference between English Regency style furniture and French Regency style furniture. That’s no surprise when they sound so alike, but they are actually quite different in the way they look. Our Guide to Regency Style Furniture tells you all about the English Regency period and its influence on interior designers. Today we’ll talk about the French Regency period too, and show you how to tell the difference between the two furniture styles. One thing is sure- both of these movements resulted in the creation of countless pieces of beautiful antique furniture.

The one thing that both English Regency and French Regency style furniture has in common is that in both countries the term Regency referred to a period when a Prince Regent stood in for the monarch. Let’s start with La Belle France!

French Regency Style Furniture

The French Regency or Régence years were in the early 18th century when King Louis XV was too young to reign and so Philippe d’Orléans governed in his place as Prince Regent. The fine furniture and decorative arts in this period were in a transitional style. It shows the shifting tastes between the previous Baroque styling that was popular during the reign of Louis XIV, and the rising Rococo look that would become fashionable during the reign of King Louis XV after he took the throne as an adult.

French Regency Chest
Bombe shape French Regency Chest by David Michael, with walnut inlays, rosewood, marble top

Furniture design in this transition style Régence era started to develop the curved lines and ornate feminine details that would later flourish into full-blown Rococo styling. Rococo furniture was very graceful and full of lavish carvings and sensuous shapes. Embellishments drew on the natural world, with flowery, frilly and watery carvings including swirling shells. Furniture designs were often asymmetric, which was an exciting new development at the time.

Louis XV Rococo Bed French Regency
French Regency Louis XV Rococo Bed, hand-carved, bookmatched flame mahogany

Typical French Regency Style Furniture Features

  • Furniture boasted curved lines and corners, and sinuous lines including bombe shapes and serpentine fronts on cabinets.
  • New motifs included shells, mythological beasts, and masques.
  • You also see a lot of flamboyant scrolls including C-shaped scrolls and S-shaped scrolls, and leafy scrolls known as foliated scrolls.
  • Curvy cabriole legs, and hoof feet.
  • Woods included walnut, rosewood and oak, often featuring beautiful surface veneers and marquetry.
  • The wood was accented with marble and with regally gilt bronze or gilded metal ormolu ornaments.
  • Seating in French furniture became much more comfortable in general, including curved backs rather than rigid straight backs. Cane chairs became popular too. It was all an invitation to encourage you to draw up a chair for some elegant conversation… and gossip!
Rococo Regence Shell Carving on Antique Cabinet
Beautiful shell carving on an antique French cabinet

English Regency Style Furniture

About a century later, across the channel in England, the English Regency era occurred in the early 19th century. During those years George IV served as Prince Regent on behalf of his father George III who wasn’t well enough to govern. But the term English Regency style usually refers to a longer time span than just those 9 years, continuing through to around 1837.

This was at the end of the Georgian period, a booming time for beautiful Georgian furniture design, created to suit the classically proportioned Regency architecture.  

Jonathan Charles English Regency Sideboard Buckingham
English Regency style sideboard by Jonathan Charles for the Buckingham collection

Typical English Regency Style Furniture Features

  • Furniture design retained the Neoclassical look of the Georgian era, inspired by ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian design.
  • Straight lines and clean edges are a staple of regency period furniture.
  • Furniture makers in this period emphasized symmetrical and streamlined designs in contrast to the ornate flourishes and carvings of the earlier French Regency furniture.
  • Dark woods including mahogany and dramatic decorative veneers were the focus to create a sense of majesty and luxury, often accented by gold and metal accents.
  • Ornamentation such as classic decorative motifs included rosettes, laurel wreaths, acanthus leaves and lyres, which are U-shaped harps. Lion masks were another decorative accent.
Theodore Alexander Regency Armchair
Theodore Alexander Regency style Armchair with classic Greek key pattern and gold accents on ebonized wood

English Regency Versus French Regency Style Furniture

As you can see, there is quite a contrast between the clean and straight-lined Neoclassical look of English Regency style furniture versus the curvy shapes and decorative flourishes of the French Regency style. Both styles are wonderful, it just depends on your own personal taste and what works for your home and lifestyle.

An English Regency interior design scheme will work terrifically well in a dining room, where the classic and elegant style is sure to impress when you are entertaining friends. A French Regency look is perfect for a living room or seductive bedroom where the curvy lines create a sense of lavish comfort and decorative allure.

Browse our website for furniture in both styles, whether you are tempted by English Regency or French Regency furniture design.

AimeeAvatar

Aimee owns EuroLuxHome.com with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 9 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

Regency Chairs History and Style

If you’re curious about Regency chairs’ history and how to identify this style of chair, Greg and I are delighted to tell you everything you need to know. Our photos will also show you how these classic chairs continue to be an elegant choice for today’s homes. Our Guide to Regency Style Furniture tells you all about the Regency period in general, and how it inspired interior designers. Today we’ll talk specifically about Regency chairs’ history and style.

Mahogany Sheraton inspired Regency Chair
Mahogany Regency Chair inspired by Sheraton

The Regency era refers to the years 1811 – 1837 at the end of the Georgian period. It is named specifically for the 9 years before King George IV took the British throne. In those years he was Prince Regent, or acting monarch, on behalf of his father King George III who was too sick to do his duties.

These were exciting times for furniture design, and Regency chairs, tables and sideboards were the perfect match for the classically proportioned Regency architecture. Imagine the graceful rooms that you see in a Jane Austen movie and you’ll have a good idea of the look!

Regency Style Furniture

Regency style furniture included chairs for the dining room, living room and hallway and these chairs reflect the general tastes of the Regency period. Furniture design continued the Neoclassical feel of the Georgian era, drawing on ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian design.

  • The focus was on stately and clean-edged looks with straight lines.
  • The unfussy furniture designs were symmetrical and streamlined, without any ornate carved detail.
  • Beautiful dark woods and dramatic decorative veneers gave a sense of luxury and added to the design appeal.
  • Gold and metal accents were a high-quality accent against the gorgeous wood.
Regency style chair
Classic Regency style black painted and gilded chair by Jonathan Charles, based on an original of c.1820.

Regency Chairs

Typical features for Regency chairs include:

  • Dark woods and exotic veneers including mahogany and rosewood to create an imposing and monumental look.
  • Straight lines or classically rounded lines and arcs.
  • Gilded accents and brass or metal accents.
  • Classic decorative symbols such as rosettes, laurel wreaths, acanthus leaves and lyres, which are U-shaped harps. Lion masks are another decorative accent.
Lyre Back dining chair Regency Style
Lyre Back dining chair in the Regency Style.
  • Chair legs typically are saber legs, concave legs, turned legs, and legs with classic column looks, sometimes joined by X-shaped stretchers.
  • Claw and ball feet also give a majestic feel, and decorative paw-shaped feet are sometimes covered in metal.
  • Arms are set high on the uprights of the chair, creating a formal look.
  • The chair backs are often topped with broad and flat crest rails for a noble appearance.

Sheraton Chairs

Sheraton Arm Chair
Inspired by an 18th century original by Thomas Sheraton, this arm chair is newly crafted by Theodore Alexander.

The neoclassical furniture designs of the famous 18th century English furniture maker Thomas Sheraton became popular during the Georgian period and his timeless designs were still heavily influencing chair design during the Regency era. 

The cabinet maker and chair designer Thomas Sheraton left a legacy so powerful that people still seek out his beautifully proportioned chairs today. The original antiques are very rare and expensive but we are very happy to offer many high-quality reproduction Sheraton chairs on our website.


Regency chairs are a great choice for the dining room, but they also look wonderful in any room of the house, whether as occasional seating in a bedroom or hallway or as a side chair in a living room. Interior designers love these chairs because they work well in our 21st century homes despite their historic origins. They have a classic look that gives a sense of history and upscale traditional elegance, but also a streamlined silhouette that suits our contemporary lives.

We hope you enjoyed this post on Regency chairs’ history and styles! If you are shopping for Regency chairs then please browse our large selection at the link, with competitive prices that include free shipping!

AimeeAvatar

Aimee owns EuroLuxHome.com with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 9 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

Guide to Regency Style Furniture

Regency style furniture is an elegant choice for today’s homes. Here’s how to recognize this popular and unique style of furniture design and see why it is so timelessly appealing.

Whether you are looking for antique furniture or newly crafted antique-inspired heirloom pieces, Greg and I hope you enjoy our guide to Regency style furniture.

The English Regency Period

The Regency period is named for the time in British history when George IV served as Prince Regent, from 1811-1820. As Prince Regent, he was the acting monarch on behalf of his mentally unwell father George III. But the term Regency style has stuck to describe a longer period than the 9 years when he was Prince Regent. It continues through the decade of George IV’s own reign from 1820 to his death in 1830, and sometimes even through to 1837 during the reign of his younger brother William.

This was at the tail end of the Georgian era, which was already a flourishing time in Britain for Georgian furniture design. During the Georgian era, furniture designers such as Thomas Chippendale,  Thomas Sheraton and George Hepplewhite rose to fame. The Regency period continued England’s reputation as an inspiring player in European art, architecture and aesthetics, including furniture design.

The Inspiration for Regency Furniture Design

George IV’s impact on architecture, fashion, and furniture design was huge. Dubbed as “the Prince of Pleasure” he had fine taste, championed the arts, and enjoyed living the good life. He influenced interior design through his own personal tastes and choices, as well as through his royal commissions such as the building of the Royal Pavilion and the remodel of Buckingham Palace.

Theodore Alexander Regency Armchair
Theodore Alexander Regency style Armchair with classic Greek key pattern and gold accents on ebonized wood

The furniture crafted during the English Regency period developed the existing Neoclassical feel of the Georgian era. The Neoclassical look drew from ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian architecture and design. In some ways it was a British interpretation of the French Empire style, with its monumental look, ornate gold ormolu mounts, and classical and military motifs. But, as the Encyclopeadia Britannica points out, Regency style showed more “purity of detail and structure” than the earlier Neoclassical style or the French Empire style.

The Look of Regency Style Furniture

Imagine a period drama adaptation of a Jane Austen novel, and you have the perfect picture of a Regency style dining room, living room or other interior.  The Jane Austen Society of North America tells us that Jane Austen’s famous Regency novel Pride and Prejudice was published in 1813. The air of elegance and refinement that we see in all her books and the movie adaptations of her novels are a great example of the arts and design that flourished during the era.   

Jonathan Charles Regency nightstands
Jonathan Charles Regency style nightstands or side tables, newly crafted for the Buckingham collection, with mahogany veneers, crossbanding, floral marquetry and a pierced brass rail.

Regency style furniture is stately and monumental, with a streamlined and symmetrical look that is not frilly or fussy. It is not covered with heavily-carved detail. The ornamentation instead comes from beautiful and exotic woods, dramatic and decorative veneers, and gilded hardware or metal accents.

Typical Regency Style Furniture Features

  • Shapes and motifs inspired by ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian architecture and design. You might see Egyptian heads, images of ancient Greek and Roman gods, and mythological beasts including the Egyptian sphinx and griffins.
  • Clean and symmetrical profiles whether masculine straight lines or classical arches and geometric shapes.
Lyre Back dining chair Regency Style
Lyre Back dining chair in the Regency Style.
  • Decorative motifs draw on classical symbols like laurel wreaths and acanthus leaves as well as lyres, which are small U-shaped harps. You will also see rosettes and masks.
  • Lion heads are a repeat motif, especially in brass or metal accents to give a touch of royal pomp to the furniture. Lion heads with rings also serve as handles on drawers.
Regency style Lion head handles
Lion head handles on a Regency Style Scarborough House sideboard
  • Dark woods create a majestic and imposing feel. Mahogany wood was especially popular with furniture makers at that time, and this strong tropical hardwood was in fashion throughout the Georgian era. The woods were left with a natural and deliciously polished finish to draw attention to the beautiful grain.
  • Exotic wood veneers add a decorative surface effect and include rosewood and zebrawood, perhaps in classic inlay and banding designs.
  • Regal gold ormolu mounts and classical and military motifs.
  • Brass was a popular choice of metal, providing that noble and monumental look and serving as accents and inlays to contrast beautifully with the dark woods.
  • The styles of chair legs include turned legs, x-shaped stretchers, saber legs and legs with classic column looks. 
  • Claw and ball feet look majestic while brass or other metal paw feet on chairs and tables also add a decorative touch.  

Antique-Inspired New Regency Style Furniture

While antique English Regency style furniture is expensive to buy, many of today’s furniture makers create exquisite pieces that pay tribute to the originals. Often these pieces are scaled down in size to suit the smaller scale of today’s homes compared to the huge rooms in the stately mansions and palaces that King George IV spent time in!

Regency-dining-table
Regency style dining table in mahogany wood with brass paw feet, extending from round to oval to seat 6.

These high-quality antique-inspired pieces by exceptional furniture makers such as Jonathon Charles, Scarborough House, and Theodore Alexander might be smaller in size, but they often use the same traditional hand-craftsmanship techniques as the ones used by the Regency furniture masters 200 years ago.

Regency Style Furniture for Today’s Homes

You can see how some of our customers have added Regency style furniture to their homes in our “customer spotlight” blog posts:

If you are shopping for Regency style furniture check out our large selection at the link. If you want the traditional appeal of Old World furniture but without excessive fussiness or heavily ornate decoration, this is a terrific choice for you. The elegant style is sure to impress with its emphasis on clean-cut lines, high-quality materials, and eternally classic silhouettes and motifs.

AimeeAvatar

Aimee owns EuroLuxHome.com with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 9 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

Georgian Desk in Historic Charleston House

House in Downtown historic CharlestonOur Georgian-style desk looked perfectly at home in our customer’s historic Charleston house.  I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I enjoyed the trip!

Every once in a while, Greg and I love to skip out of town and head for Charleston as it is only a two-hour drive. I greatly enjoy taking a stroll around the Battery, smelling the salt air and admiring the gorgeous historic homes. So when Susan purchased a handsome antique-inspired desk from us on Houzz, we knew we’d make this delivery!

Susan and her family moved to Charleston several years ago, but just purchased this fantastic home in the Downtown historic district a few months ago.

Flame Mahogany Partners Desk Georgian Style Oval

This is the very grand new oval partners desk that Susan ordered from us from our selection of new and antique desks. The antique-inspired Georgian-style desk is six feet long and what an impressive six feet it is! The oval desk is crafted in rich flame mahogany with banded inlay for extra decorative effect. Three hand-tooled leather panels on the oval top, fluted detail on the pillars and classic old-fashioned handles give this elegant desk tons of traditional appeal. If we have to be practical 🙂 there’s lots of drawer space too!

Antique inspired desk in historic homeSusan’s home dates to 1852 but the prior owners had already done most of the renovations. The hardwood floors were still being finished in the front entry hall as we came in, but when we set the Georgian-style oval partner’s desk (Item BG-230) in place in her husband’s office, that room was finally complete!

I just loved seeing how the whole room tied together – from the original molding around the doors and the incredible 10 foot tall pocket door, to the classic brass chandelier light fixture and patterned Oriental rug. The leather-topped desk with flame-mahogany veneer looked quite at home in this stately Charlestonian mansion. If only the walls could tell stories!

We headed back to Newberry after a delicious lunch of shrimp and grits, a Charlestonian specialty!

AimeeAvatarAimee owns EuroLuxHome.com with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or connect with EuroLux on Google+. Or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.