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Napoleon III Period (1852-1870): French period also known as the Second Empire. Emperor Louis Napoleon Bonaparte lends his name to Napoleon III style, but the style was actually established at the French Industrial Exposition of 1844 in Paris. A return to grand interiors and expressions of wealth. A period of literal copies, for the materials, forms and ornamental motifs seen in the furniture produced during this period were all borrowed from preceding styles – the Renaissance, Louis XV and Louis XVI. Paris was being redesigned by Baron Haussmann and in its transformation; the furniture-makers of the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine were producing abundantly in order to furnish all of the new townhouses and apartments. Ebony, pitch pine, blackened pear wood and walnut were used and the use of machine tools became widespread in all areas of furniture craft during the Napoleon III period.
necessaire: Travel became a key pastime for the affluent beginning in the 18th century. Young ladies and gentlemen of high social standing often traveled throughout the Continent in an extended, educational tour known as their Grand Tour. These lengthy journeys required a convenient means of transporting personal belongings or necessities of daily life. Often constructed of luxurious materials such as silver, gold, mother of pearl, crystal, fine woods, and leathers, these necessaries de voyage became highly personalized symbols of wealth and taste, carrying everything from toiletries and jewelry to sewing and writing instruments.
nef: A table ornament in the form of a medieval ship, often complete with rigging. Dating back to 12th century France, nefs were originally used as drinking vessels at the dining table. By the15th century, they were used as receptacles for salt, goblets, napkins, eating utensils, and meat. Usually made from silver, silver-gilt, or gold with a nautilus shell forming the hull, many had wheels to allow them to be rolled from one end of the table to the other, but most had legs or pedestals. The nef was placed in front of the most important person at table as a mark of their status. Literally, "carack."
Neoclassical: Refers to the second revival of classic design for interior decoration in the 18th century. Inspired by the excavations of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Characterized by classic Greek and Roman architecture and decorative motifs. The style was most acclaimed during the Louis XVI period in France.
nephrite: Also known as greenstone, a creamy greenish colored mineral often used by Fabergé.
nesting tables: Group of tables, usually three, constructed so that one fits under the other.
niche: A recessed or hollow space in a wall, intended to hold a statue or ornament.
noix: The French term for walnut wood.
Louis XVI Style Neoclassical Fauteuil