Chapter five
The Exuberance of the Rococo, 1750-1785

BY THE LATE 1730'S, SOCIETY'S EVER-PRESENT DESIRE FOR NOVELTY ushered into London a new mode which spread like wildfire to furniture, china, dress and all forms of the decorative arts. In silver the plain shapes associated with the Queen Anne style were gradually discarded for those based upon the rococo mode, then popular in northwestern Europe, and noticeably in France, seat of its origin. The style was based upon the use of asymmetrical forms, sinuous S- and C- shaped curves, and restless rocaille ornament composed of fantastic rockwork, shell, scrolls, leaf and floral patterns expressed in engraved, chased, pierced or cast forms. Its chief shortcoming lay in its tendency to extravagant design and the sacrifice of shape to ornament with the resultant effect of instability.

The style made its appearance in the colonies following the successful ending of King George's War (1748) and the country's return to conditions favorable to trade. At the time it was adopted, the style was but a modification of the London mode and was chiefly expressed in the use of pear- and inverted pear-shaped forms, double scrolled handles, cast shell and C-scroll ornament, and, in its most artistic form, the rendering of beautifully engraved and skillfully pierced rocaille designs.

Closer political relations with England brought about by a common objective during the French and Indian Wars ( 1756-1763) helped to

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