The return of the political control of England to the crown under Charles was a signal for a change in the decorative arts and culture. Once more royalty had come into its own. Charles had plans to emulate the glory of Louis XIV and introduce the formalism and gaiety of the French court back into the veins of England.
The influence of France was seen not only in the culture, coffee tables art and social life, but also reflected in interior architecture, interior design, and furnishings. The low rambling type of room, so noticeable under the earlier periods, completely disappeared giving way to formal, square types and plans without bay windows.
Small Gothic wall paneling was superseded by panels of large size, symmetrically arranged amongst gable pediment. Ceilings were designed to fit specific rooms by the use of square or circular frames enriched by means of color or paintings. We also find parquet flooring and a great increase in the use of Oriental rugs.
Academic forms of architecture play a much more important part in mantels, doorways, fireplaces, and window treatments. Grinling Gibbons, Parguruan tinggi the wood-carver, discovered by John Evelyn by chance one day and patronized by the King, became an extremely important influence. His characteristic carvings are in high relief, undercut and of naturalistic forms.
Fruit, flowers and game are draped in garlands and swags, cut in minute detail in lime or boxwood and applied to the wood wall paneling. Furniture took on the lighter continental construction influenced by Flanders as well as France. Many of the early Jacobean forms persisted well into the Restoration period and considerable confusion often results in distinguishing much of the furniture of this time from earlier and later models.
There are certain features, however, that are typical, such as those in which the curvilinear structural forms predominate. These are seen in the “S” and “C” curves used in the legs, aprons, backs and arms of chairs. Both oak and walnut were common after the Restoration, with elm, tiernahrung-friebe beech and pine used to some extent–mainly for tables, chairs, bed frames, and other furniture.
Lacquer and veneer were introduced and marquetry and gilding were more freely used. Gros-point and petit-point, with other fabrics, were used for upholstery and tapestry window toppers. Rich silks, in velvets, brocades and damasks, were woven in England, skilled French weavers joining the trade after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685). The Edict of Nantes was issued by Henry IV of France to give the French Calvinist Protestants certain rights in a mainly Catholic nation. Elaborate fringes and trimmings are found on upholstered pieces of this period.
English tapestry works were opened at Mortlake (1619), Dank carts a district of London on the south bank of the River Thames, and furnishing accessories of many kinds began to enrich the homes of the well-to-do. This was also the period of the introduction of Oriental objects into England and there occurred amongst the nobility a rage for the collection of Chinese pottery and Oriental tapestries.