This section is from the book "The Practical Book Of Interior Decoration", by Harold Donaldson Eberlein, Abbot Mcclure, Edward Stratton Holloway. See also: The Victorian House Book: A Practical Guide to Home Repair and Decoration.
In this style of decoration Baroque influences, and especially flemish Baroque influences, began to make themselves more and more conspicuous. The crisp delicacy and restraint of the Style Henri II were supplanted by a more bulbous, obtuse and ponderous conception of line and design.
Windows under Henri IV grew larger and longer but, generally speaking, kept their stone mullions and transomes, making the divisions previously noted. The openings were commonly square-headed but were occasionally varied by round-arched heads. The two-light width remained unchanged. Later in the period, under Louis XIII, many windows were further increased in size, so that they extended nearly all the way from floor to ceiling. About the same time, also, stone mullions and transomes began to fall into disuse, being replaced by wooden substitutes or by wooden casement frames with broad stiles and rails. Door heads, as usual, followed the fashion of window openings.
Save in the most sumptuous rooms, the bare plaster of the walls was exposed, thus leaving a broad expanse to be decorated with frescoes or treated with "domino" paper as indicated in the previous style. While, of course, tapestries were plentifully used, they no longer formed an inseparable adjunct to the general scheme as indicated by the earlier plaster or stucco mouldings, especially contrived to frame them. A low-panelled dado or wainscot, with small divisions (Plate 31B), was often used and embellished with painted decorations of landscapes, flowers, foliage and the like.
The prevailing motifs for mural decoration - in which may also be reckoned the carved wood, stone or modelled plaster adornments for chimney-pieces (Plates 29 and 30 B) and overdoor enrichments (Plate 30 A), where they were especially prominent, included the "cartouche" form (Plate 30 A), one of the most ubiquitous and important - with its surrounding "scrol-liage" pierced and slashed, and pulpy strapwork, heaving convex cabochons, masques, pudgy cherubs, which one wit has humourously dubbed "pukids," volutes, conucopiae, ovoid bulging shields, massive draperies, scrolls, rectilinear pediments, arc-shaped pediments (Plate 30 A), and both kinds of pediments interrupted, scrolled pediments, and several kinds of pediments combined in a redundant medley, swags and drops of foliage and flowers, palm branches, laurel leaves, human figures, caryatides, quadrangular term-shaped pedestals or pilasters tapered toward the base, along with the various other characteristic Baroque "properties" which found an analogue to their thick, pulpy gobbiness in the contemporary big-scale, fat women painted by Rubens. The same conception of the properties of line was back of both. Mouldings, as contrasted with their sharp crispness and incisive delicacy in the Henri II style, now appeared obtuse and blunted (Plates 29 and 30 A) as well as rotund and massive. And yet, notwithstanding the tumid pomposity and exaggerated emphasis of the Baroque style, its often grotesque conception and lack of refinement, we must concede that it could be both imposing and distinguished and, when discreetly managed, was not without a certain agreeable quality of charm. It should be added that in France the tendency to extravagance of expression was generally kept within bounds, thanks to the national trait of moderation.
Although the fireplace openings began to be appreciably reduced in size (Plates 29, 30 B and 31 A), the chimney-piece superstructure extending to the ceiling lost none of its pristine importance and was duly embellished with all the decorative assets of the time. The scheme usually included some central feature - a decor-ative panel or picture - surrounded by a composition of some of the motifs just enumerated. The whole composition might be in stone, wood or stucco.
Ceiling beams (Plate 30 B) were often decorated with painted and gilt patterns as were also the enclosed panels (Plate 31B). Sometimes the panels were of stucco wrought and coloured. Again, the whole ceiling was an elaborate production of the plasterer's art (Plates 29 and 31 A) with heavy stucco details and gorgeous colouring.
The formerly mentioned flooring materials continued in use in varying degrees of popularity, but marble tiling and parquetted wooden floors (Plates 29 and 30 A and B) were regarded with most favour.