The period covered by these governments of France is a portion of the Neo-Classic epoch, but the manifestations of the Empire style were so different from those of the reign of Louis XVI that for the avoidance of confusion they have been separated here. The Directory and the Consulate of Napoleon produced styles that were uncertain and transitional.

Anarchy in France really began in 1789. In January, 1793, King Louis XVI was beheaded and the Terror followed. In October of the same year Marie Antoinette was sentenced to death. The Directory was established in 1795 and fell in 1799, Napoleon being made First Consul In May, 1804, he made himself Emperor of France.

When such matters as decoration and furnishing were again thought of, tradition had been broken and authority lost. A style perfectly adapted to the real or imagined needs of the hour cannot be created overnight, and the designs of the period naturally followed the pseudo-Classic vein that had been the heritage of France since the days of the Grand Monarch. Furthermore, a return to antiquity in aspiration, surroundings, dress and conversation was the mode of the hour, and the style of Louis XVI had been based upon antiquity. It was to be expected, therefore, that that manner should form at least the base for the style commonly known as Directoire; but because of republican prin-ciples and hatred of the royalty it had represented it was as natural that it should be simplified and stripped of its ornament.

As we have seen, the copying of antiquity had been a characteristic of the reign of Louis Seize, particularly during his last years, but nevertheless it had always remained an intelligent use of Classic material, a proper adaptation to the widely changed conditions of modern times: now the prevailing belief was that the Republic of France was a duplication of the Republic of ancient Rome, and antiquity was therefore slavishly followed.

The Directory existed for but four years and its style was a merging of that of Louis Seize into that of the Consulate and Empire. It is in general a charming style, being the result of the simplification of a mode of the greatest beauty with an added swing in chairs and settees, probably because of the remembrance of the curule chair of the ancients. The legs, at least the fore ones, often remained straight, either fluted or turned, but were frequently curved outward toward their lower ends. The backs of chairs were now rolled at their tops and the arms of settees flared gracefully at the sides. This furniture was generally painted, and it is to be regretted that more of it is not upon the market today; for no style is better adapted to our modern uses. Illustrations are given of three original pieces and a modern reproduction (Plates 171 and 172).

If the Directorate had been a republic, with its "citizens" every man a king, the advent of Napoleon to power quickly changed all this. Though nominally "Consul," his rule was practically supreme, France became once more imperialistic, and the step to the proclamation of the Empire with that military genius upon the throne was but a logical one. No longer, in the conception of France, was it Republican but Imperial Rome now reincarnate upon earth, and Caesar again was to rule the world. Napoleon the First became King of Italy in 1805 and deposed the Bourbons in Spain in 1808.

In the ever sensitive arts of decoration and furnishing we naturally expect this spirit to find quick expression. They soon embodied the triumph of imperial antiquity, of militarism and - of vulgarity. With all stops out the organ blared and taste became ostentation. As Napoleon conscripted his soldiers so the ancient world of Egypt, Greece and Rome was commandeered for its symbols and attributes to ornament walls and furniture: the Bourbon L gave place to the N and the fleur-de-lys of France vanished in favour of the bee. The grace of the Rococo and the refinement of Louis Seize were supplanted in decoration by what we see upon the walls of the salon at Hotel de Mailly, in furniture by massive pieces with broad surfaces in which, notwithstanding ornament, we feel not. simplicity but blankness. With its magnificent mahogany and metal mounts this furniture was often undeniably handsome in its brutal way and we may yield it the sort of admiration we give a likewise handsome, bold and florid woman - with scant liking in our regard. Of some of it we may say it is "rather attractive" or "not so bad," but this reaches the height of our commendation.

Without further description the illustrations show its characteristics (Plates 51A and 173).

Despite Britain's natural fear and inveterate enmity to Napoleonic rule, French fashion strangely retained its power, influencing mobiliary styles across the channel and corrupting the beautiful metier of Sheraton.

America, with its adoration of France, consequent upon French aid in our troubles with our Mother Country, followed its lead with irregular results. This furniture is that commonly but, of course, quite erroneously referred to as "Colonial," Napoleon not even having become First Consul till twenty-three years after the Declaration of Independence.

Some American Empire pieces are heavier, clumsier and more debased in line than the French. On the other hand, the furniture of Duncan Phyfe deserves great praise for its appropriate lightness and grace of line. It is really more akin to the Directoire style. The acanthus-carved four-post bedsteads and the pedestal tables were American developments of heavy but unmistakably handsome character. All these are well known.

To France is due the honour of producing the most beautiful furniture ever devised for the use of man, but red republicanism and autocratic ambition had "done" for France. We should be appreciative of beauty wherever it may be found and inclined to be patient when it is not quite reached, but in contrast to the loveliness of but a few years before the brutal bombast of Napoleon's bed-chamber and the clumsy inelegance of chairs such as those from Versailles is enough to make angels weep. With the Empire all mobiliary art died, and now, in all the world for a hundred years there has been no great designer of furniture.