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Directoire FurnitureDirectoire Furniture

When France was ripped apart by the French Revolution Directoire furniture reflected the effect of the revolution on French Furniture design, being a simplified and more restrained version of the earlier neoclassical employing limited decoration and cheaper materials. Marquetry was abandoned in favour of more austere decorative works but stylised foliage remained a design influence.

For the first time, Egyptian motifs appeared with furniture sometimes including carvings of sphinxes displayed in bronze and although geometric patterns remained they were somewhat less extravagant than before, often integrating classically carved urns into the designs.

The Directoire era is often thought to be a period of transition between the neoclassical and the rise of Empire furniture and therefore has characteristics of both styles. Directoire marks the end of neoclassicism and the birth of French Empire furniture, brought about as a direct result of historical circumstances namely the revolution and its condemnation of the opulent and overly luxurious ruling classes resulting in a return to a simpler way of life.

Directoire interiors were charicterised by beautifully painted wallpapers rather than the elaborate taperstries that adorned the walls of earlier French periods, fabrics became simpler as opposed to the brocades and damasks of previous eras and furniture was simply painted or left as plain mahogany. Directoire furniture though restrained still has a place in our homes today with slender curved legs and graceful chair backs.



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