This section is from the book "Your Home And Its Decoration", by The Sherwin-Williams Company. See also: Nell Hill's Feather Your Nest: It's All in the Details.
During the time of Napoleon, with the establishment of the first Empire, France made for herself a new school of ornament. This consisted largely in the return to classic forms, but these were intermingled with the imperial insignia and such emblem as the time made appropriate. The Bonaparte "B" is represented by a bee, which occurs frequently in ornamentation of robes, draperies, wall coverings, and in carvings and moldings.
This ornamentation is sometimes made of ormulu, which is fastened to the wood or stone or the marble of the furniture to be ornamented. Very distinctive designs of this period are the olive branch garland and wreath and flaming torch. The fleur de lis appears frequently, and in the background and fabric the diaper pattern is most often found. See Plate XCVII.
Colonial architecture is the exemplification of inherited traditions from our French and English ancestors. Thus America has developed a school of architecture and ornament which she can claim as her own. Beginning in 1643, and existing up to 1815, and for a period following, many beautiful examples were produced. Jefferson, Bullfinch, and Latroube were among the best-known designers.
Two distinctive types of Colonial houses stand to-day as representing the English and French styles, the southern Colonial being largely of the French school, the best examples of which were produced in 1730.
The Georgian or most correct period of the English Colonial began early in the reign of George III.