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date: 12 November 2019

Gustavian stylelocked


Expression of 18th-century Swedish Neo-classicism during the reign of Gustav III (reg 1771–92; see Holstein-Gottorp, House of family, §2). As a cultured man and an advocate of the European Enlightenment, the King’s patronage of the visual arts was linked with patriotic ambition and an admiration for the French courtly life at Versailles. He spent part of 1770–71 in France, where he acquired a passion for the Neo-classical style. During his reign numerous palaces and country houses were built or refurbished in the Neo-classical style, either for himself or for members of his family and court. Early Gustavian interiors (c. 1770–85) were light and elegant interpretations of the Louis XVI style, with echoes of English, German and Dutch influences. Rooms were decorated with pilasters and columns; walls were applied with rich silk damasks or rectangular panels with painted designs framed in carved, gilded linear ornament and laurel festoons. Damask, usually crimson, blue or green, was used to upholster benches, sofas and chairs. Other rooms were panelled in wood, painted light-grey, blue or pale-green; the dominant feature was a columnar faience-tiled stove, decorated with sprigged floral patterns. Klismos-style chairs upholstered in silk were very popular, as were oval-backed chairs with straight, fluted legs, and bateau-shaped sofas were common. Rooms were embellished with long, giltwood-framed mirrors, crystal chandeliers, gilt ...

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