A French historical period (1803-1821) and style following on from the Directoire, influenced by Napoleon I and the building of the Napoleonic empire, seeking deliberate visual associations with the Greek and Roman empires and drawing upon Egyptian expeditions and excavations; it is considered part of the Neoclassical movement and was contemporaneous with the English Regency and central European Biedermeir styles.

Empire interiors were characterised by stately, austere, architectural forms, bronze detailing, hieratic motifs (laurel wreaths, stars, bees, sphinxes, swans, lions…), elegant dark wood mahogany and oak furniture, ormulu, furnishings in satin, taffeta, moire, velvet, cashmere, toile de jouy and rich colours: gold, crimson, purple and green.

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