Directoire style

The Directoire style, which takes place from 1789 to 1804, is concurrent with the French Revolution, the Directory and the beginning of the Consulate. The period thus inherits a certain classicism, particularly through references to Antiquity both concerning the motifs and the rectilinear and geometric forms. The curule seats become for example a popular model.

The Revolution and the Le Chapelier Law cancel in 1791 the system of corporations releasing the artists of the restrictions on their area of performance. Jacob Frères, famous cabinetmakers of the time, are an example of this new freedom as in their Salon of Madame Recamier, surely the most known furniture of the Directoire style.

However, the period will not be at the origin of a real new creation. The Directoire style corresponds to the transition from the Louis XVI style to the Empire style: if it retains the rigor of the first, it announces some decorative themes of the second, especially after the coup of 18 Brumaire which brings the military and imperial motives.


Linked to the current political events with the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the colonization, Orientalism grows during the 19th century and is characterized by an important occidental interest for foreign lands.

First very present in literature and painting, Orientalism, thanks to the World's fairs, soon inspires architecture and decorative arts, and gives a certain forms and patterns renewal to ceramists and glassmakers in particular, such as Theodore Deck and Philippe-Joseph Brocard. The Barbedienne and Christofle houses will be the Parisian paragons of this dreamed East.

With the rediscovery of quarries in Algeria, onyx also becomes a privileged material, which Charles Cordier, especially, will exploit. Although decors are sometimes fantasized and create with multiple inspirations, the artists make a point of honor reproduce, even compete, with traditional techniques.