The French revolution in 1796 rocked upper class foundations in both Europe and England. A directory ruled France and the dashing Corsican General Napoleon Bonaparte became Commander in Chief. His victories on the battlefield were to shape chair styles no less than the themes of Grand Opera. Chairs lost their foppish curves and became monumental, strong for straight backed soldiers to sit on. The fashionable gathered at Frascati’s where styles echoed a desire to be an integral part of a classical scene as they enjoyed their ices. Napoleon and his wife Marie-Joseph-Rose, who he renamed Josephine, became Emperor and Empress of France. An irresistible combination they were a potent inspiration to every type of artist and opportunists of their day. The Empire style they cultivated put society before the individual. Across all the arts, architecture, interior decoration, the opera, drama and literature there is a discernible mood of honour, patriotism, courage, self-denial, friendship and family.
Carolyn McDowall FRSA has gained considerable experience and business acumen in her professional career. An independent cultural and social historian, Carolyn is an interior designer by trade. She has been involved in the creative sector for over thirty years in Australia; completing interior design projects, creating and producing innovative corporate and not-for profit (social profit) community events. She has over that time continuously conducted independent research , while designing, developing, and producing educational art and design history programs in conjunction with renowned specialist colleagues.