Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Decorating With The Laurel Wreath Motif

As you know from reading past posts, I love using classical motifs in my home and always look for furniture, picture frames etc. that have either a crest, Fleur de lis, or Greek Key hidden somewhere on them. This post is about another of my obsessions, the laurel or laurel wreath which is predominate in Neoclassical Decorative Arts.The laurel wreath is a common motif in architecture, furniture, and textiles. The laurel wreath is seen carved in the stone and decorative plaster works of Robert Adam and in Federal, Regency,  Directoire and Beaux-Arts periods of architecture.

The period of Napoleonic rule lends its name to the late Neoclassical style. 

Napoleon I encouraged French textile, porcelain and furniture workshops to increase their production for the greater glory of France and to promote his regime of revolutionary conquests by incorporating motifs that represented fame and victory.   Napoleon liked to surround himself with all things military, and this resulted in “le style héroique”, featuring spear heads, campaign tents,  coloured silks, serge, merino wool, and damasks featuring laurel wreaths and swan motifs. Louis XVI style of antique forms and ornament now included Napoleon's imperial symbols, which included the bee, the letter N surrounded by a laurel wreath, stars, the eagle, and hieroglyphic motifs gathered from his Egyptian campaign.

Architecturally, it was characterized by similarities to classical structures as well as the Renaissance, classical world, often containing political themes including bravery and war.

"Victory, A Knight Being Crowned With A Laurel Wreath" by Frank Dicksee.

 Below are some images of ways you might consider if you are interested in bringing this classical element into your interiors.

Enjoy the music!!

Look for laurels on stands in home decor stores. Amy Howard offers these beautiful hand made replicas, in her new accessory line.

You can always choose a wallpaper that has laurel wreaths. I once had a robin's egg blue Dining Room papered in laurel wreaths and I loved it because it looked so regal.

These antique laurels are fabulous. This is something I would love to collect if one could find them.

The laurel wreath forms the back of this beautiful French chair.

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These pictures are from  pieces in my office.  The picture has a small ormolu wreath mounted on top and the cabinet has a brass mount. In decorative arts, especially during the Empire Period, the laurel wreath is seen woven in textiles, inlaid in marquetry, and applied to furniture in the form of gilded brass mounts.

A wonderful door knocker with hand, laurel, and lion.

The Abdication Room of the Fontainebleau features sovereign motifs, such as laurel and oak wreaths.

Maison de Stencils Paris Laurel Wreath by maisondestencils.com

This design is easy to stencil so it can be used in a number of ways. If you have never stenciled before, the laurel wreath is a good project for beginners.

Many of today's decorative accessories incorporate the laurel motif.

Even a small laurel wreath can up the sophistication of a  room.

Metal laurel wreaths are popular and easy to find.


Laurel wreath textiles make beautiful upholstered pieces.

Old Paris Porcelain Coffee Service with Napoleonic Emblems, France, Circa 1870

A beautiful hand finished distressed white artisan finish set off by laurel wreaths.


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 An antique mirror is always a good statement piece, especially decorated with laurel wreaths.

Laurel wreath detailing above the doors.

via pinterest

Royal or simply made, the laurel is a lovely motif to add to you decor.


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This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

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