" Louis-Seize" table, Fig. 2, Plate I., and the "Sheraton" under-framing, Fig. 9, Plate VI., and the "Louis-Seize" "claw" supports of the screen, Plate V., and those of the small table, Plate VI., with many in " Sheraton."
Enough has been said then, I think, to indicate how the " Louis-Seize " came into existence; to convey a knowledge of some of the most powerful influences that were instrumental in causing it to differ so vastly from the preceding mode; and to illustrate in some degree the extent of our indebtedness to it for much of that spirit which went to make our own late eighteenth-century furniture as refined and tasteful as it was.
In dismissing this most interesting section of our study for the time being we cannot do better than try to fix in our minds the picture of as perfect a complete scheme of actual " Louis-Seize " furnishing and decoration as it is possible for us to conjure up ; and a better could not be found than the bedroom of Marie-Antoinette at the Chateau de Compiegne, which is illustrated on Plate VI. In this delightful chamber of sleep every turn of the carver's chisel, every mark of the ciseleuSs graver, every thread from the loom, every touch of the brush, speaks of culture and refinement; yet does not the whole bring back to our memory the words of the dauphiness : " Alas! sire, for such kings as we shall be ?"
The political history of France during the closing years of the eighteenth century; the events which led up to the execution of Louis the Sixteenth and his queen ; the state of chaos that followed the downfall of the monarchy, and the work of Napoleon to reduce that chaos to order, must all be so fresh in the memory of the reader that it is not at all necessary to re-tell the story here. All that we need do is to bear it well in mind, keep the facts before us, and see, so far as we can, to what extent the applied arts of France were influenced by them, and, above all, by the dominating spirit of that Little Corporal who discovered something far more precious in his knapsack than the traditional baton du marechaL
That the art of France was revolutionised for a time, together with everything else associated with the country, through the dictatorship of that colossal mind, no one can possibly deny; and it is more than a little interesting to see by what instrumentality the radical changes which took place were really brought about, and to study that which has been handed down to posterity as the outward and visible sign of it all. We have no foundation for the assumption that Napoleon himself was an artist in any sense of the word, but it is clear that he appreciated the fact that, for his sway to be completely effectual, he must surround himself by material pomp and grandeur, that the eyes of his subjects should be dazzled by his splendour, and their minds overpowered by his magnificence. It is not too much to assert, indeed, that the theatrical element was strongly apparent, and intentionally so, throughout almost everything he did ; and
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