The Louisseize

if this be constantly borne in mind, the task of distinguishing one style from the other will be very greatly simplified.

It is for us to discover, then, so far as we can, the special character of which the "Louis-Seize" enrichment partook, and to decide in what category it is to be classed. And with regard to this, I may again refer, for a moment, to the fact that there are two distinct classes of decoration—and I am now alluding to decorative art generally—viz. : that which is designed solely and purely to give pleasure to the eye, to appeal to our love of grace of form, and appreciation of the skilful disposition of detail; and that which, while pleasing the eye by the possession of the qualities indicated, conveys to the mind also some lesson, or suggestion of something further. These two classes we may describe as the purely decorative and the decorative-symbolical. In the "Louis-Quatorze" the ornamentation was intended to overpower as well as please; in the u Louis-Quinze" it was intended to lull the senses into voluptuous abandonment; and in the " Louis-Seize " we come to yet a third type—to a fresh vein of symbolism. Let us see what it symbolises.

Though Louis the Sixteenth differed vastly in character from his predecessor, he resembled him insomuch that he was far from being disposed to exert himself for the good of his country; and in no respect did he share the energy or determination of " Le Grand Monarque." The martial spirit was absent from his rule—that spirit which had predominated for so long until Philip of Orleans gave it the quietus, and which had so successfully been ignored by Louis the Fifteenth in his later years. It cannot be said by any means that the new sovereign was a libertine; but he was a lover of ease, addicted to peaceful pursuits, and devoted to the cultivation of the graces and refinements of life. He was neither vain of conquests abroad nor jealous of being regarded as a man of iron will by his subjects at home ; and provided that political disturbances did not interfere with his own personal

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