Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

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Period Furnishings

Introduction

During the 1972-1975 restoration of the Governorís Mansion, Edward Vason Jones, architect and interior designer and consultant to the White House, was hired to select and acquire appropriate furniture and furnishings for the Mansion. Edward Vason Jones decided upon the Empire period as the predominant style suitable for the 1842 Greek Revival style Mansion. The majority of furniture and furnishings, especially on the first floor of the Governorís Mansion, are Empire style pieces chosen and purchased for the Governorís Mansion by Jones. Selected pieces in the French Restauration, Rococo Revival, and Renaissance Revival styles were also acquired for the Mansion. From 1980 to 1983, William Seale, noted historical consultant, provided guidance on the acquisition of furniture and furnishings particularly for the second floor of the Governorís Mansion.

For further information on period furnishings, see An Illustrated Guide to the Mississippi Governorís Mansion by Helen Cain and Anne D. Czarniecki (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1984).

Empire Style, 1810 - 1830

The Empire style was derived from classical motifs brought back into style at the turn of the nineteenth century. Its name is taken from the French empire of Napoleon I, whose court adopted classical designs discovered in the archaeological excavations of Pompeii and Herculaneum early in the nineteenth century. The ancient furniture forms of the classical Greeks and Romans, discovered in these ruins, gained new popularity during the Empire period.

Typical Empire Motifs include the acanthus leaf (leaf of a Mediterranean shrub), anthemion (stylized honeysuckle), animal-paw feet, cornucopia (horn of plenty), dolphin, eagle, lyre and rosette. For ornamentation, gilt stenciling was popular as was the use of ormolu (a type of brass made to imitate gold).

Online Gallery: Empire Style**

French Restauration Style, 1830 - 1850

During this period, furniture featuring gilding and carved ornamentation tended to be replaced by pieces with very plain surfaces. The unadorned pillar and scroll form was typical of the French Restauration style. The French "gondole" chair (named for its gondola shaped back) was copied by American cabinetmakers. The New York City workshop of Duncan Phyfe, Scottish-born cabinetmaker, which had earlier produced Empire-style furniture, began producing French Restauration-style furniture.

Online Gallery: French Restauration Style**

Rococo Revival Style, 1850 - 1870

The ornate Rococo Revival style succeeded the simpler pillar and scroll style of the French Restauration. The Rococo Revival style is characterized by s-shaped curves and carved shell, floral, and scroll designs.

Online Gallery: Rococo Revival Style**

Renaissance Revival Style, 1860 - 1880

The latest style of furniture in the Mansion collection is that of Renaissance Revival. The Renaissance Revival style is characterized by a massive and solid form ornamented with large carving. Typical designs include the contoured panel, the cartouche (a framing motif), and the cabochon (a convex oval or round motif).

Online Gallery: Renaissance Revival Style **


**NOTE: The following objects in the Mansionís collection are identified by a "#" number, which is the objectís number as listed in the catalog entries of the Cain/Czarniecki book. The "#" number of an object in bold typeface indicates that an individual color photograph of that object was published in the Cain/Czarniecki book. All "#" numbers are followed by the objectís accession number. Any objects listed without "#" numbers are items acquired after the publication of the book.


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Mississippi Department of Archives and History.