Fireplaces in the Regency period
The Regency style is more of an evolution than a revolution, incorporating many elements that will be familiar from Georgian designs.
However, many of the extravagances of the ‘early’ Georgian style epitomised by the work of Inigo Jones have been ironed out by this stage. The heavy shelves and jambs, added to with neo-Classical swirls and flourishes, fell out of fashion rather quickly in favour of the more restrained work of Robert Adam and others.
This means that Regency fireplaces are often easier to fit in the modern home, as their simplicity and elegance can easily fit a minimalist style or, with minor tweaks, a more homely approach.
Ultimately, the varied nature of design in the period means that opting for a Regency-style fireplace will offer you plenty of options when making your final choice of hearth or fire surround.
Regency design and architecture
The Regency period – roughly the time between 1795 and 1837 – was a time when excess, Chinoiserie and neo-classical design became extremely popular with the British aristocracy.
Although much of what was produced is similar to that seen in Georgian design, many art historians feel that the Regency period saw an elegance and lightness enter into fittings such as fireplaces and furniture.
Thomas Hope, the designer and collector, was an influential figure in this period. As was traditional for wealthy young men in this period, he undertook an extensive ‘Grand Tour’ of Europe, Greece, Turkey and Egypt, influencing his taste in objets d’art.
Hope was something of a polymath and is best known for his novel Anastasius, but he certainly made a mark on the interior decoration field during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
He juxtaposed a number of different styles in his London properties, helping influence a host of other designers and sculptors in Regency England.
Examples of Regency style
Many Regency-style interiors have been maintained and are open to visitors, which could be helpful for anyone seeking inspiration on which fireplace to choose for their own home.
Belsay Hall in Northumberland was built by Sir Charles Monck Middleton in the early 19th century. The baronet honeymooned in Greece and his vision for the property was influenced by the impressive Classical architecture he had seen while in the Mediterranean.
The interior has a simple plan based on Graeco-Roman buildings, featuring both Doric and Ionic columns, and showcases how Classical design played a role in Regency interior decoration.
Goodwood House in Sussex, on the other hand, utilises elements of Egyptian art to shape its overall design scheme.
These Orientalist elements are not so overt in many modern Regency-style designs, but elements can still be seen in certain pieces.
J Rotherham and Regency fireplaces
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