American Rococo Period

Rococo was an international style that originated in France and emphasized designs based on nature, such as plants and shells. The style was most often applied to the visual arts, such as prints and paintings, furniture and interior design. English cabinetmaker Thomas Chippendale (ca. 1718–1779) was an advocate for the Rococo and had the revolutionary idea to advertise his business using catalogs showing his furniture designs. The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker’s Director (1754) quickly spread fashionable furniture designs across the British empire. At the same time, the lure of potential profits in fast-growing Colonial cities attracted European immigrants trained in the Rococo styles of painting, metalsmithing and woodworking. During the latter part of the 1700s, many Delaware craftspeople created and signed artworks that reflect strong Rococo influences. Many of these objects are similar in form to examples by makers in the major Rococo production center of Philadelphia.