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The Napoleon III style is that of pastiches. Inspired by Empress Eugénie’s taste for eighteenth-century styles, artists during Napoleon III’s reign copied the key works of the preceding century: Renaissance era dining room furniture, the Boulle furniture from the era of Louis XIV, the rocaille gilt wood living room furniture from the era of Louis XV, and the bedchambers of the Louis XVI era.
The ancient techniques of fabrication and ornamentation (Boulle marquetry and vernis Martin) were set aside and the Napoleon III style gradually forged its own distinctive characteristics. The gilt bronze was complemented by mother-of-pearl and porcelain plaque inlay. As key pieces, new seats were created in carton bouilli (a sort of papier mâché) with black lacquer, upholstery with springs, and finished with padding, satin, velvet, or tapestry on the back and the seat.