Excerpt from The Decorative Arts in England: 1660-1780
With the downfall of the Constable of Bourbon in the reign of Francois I, there disappeared the semi-independent great French noble; and from that time till the latter part of the 18th Century the peers of France became more and more dependent upon and subservient to the King, and the fashions of the Court were slavishly followedby them. The patronage of the French Kings and their courts has dominated the decorative arts of that country since Francois Ier introduced the Italian Renaissance into France to the time when Napoleon desired that the art of the Caesars should be modernised to reflect his Imperial ambitions.
In England the position was entirely different; except for the art-loving Kings, Charles I and William III, the inﬂuence of royalty upon the decorative arts of this country has been negligible. The unstinted patronage, however, of the English nobles has produced a more varied and individual result than in France. This is apparent in many of the objects in this collection where the names of the original possessors are recorded. In France, nobles and wealthy patrons imitated the stateliness of the royal palaces, hence French interiors often display a formal and even theatrical effect never quite absent from royal associations.
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