Neoclassicism

Throughout the museum

Plan a visit

Neoclassicism was a design style that emerged in Britain and France in the 1750s. It drew inspiration from the 'classical' art and culture of Ancient Greece and Rome – in particular, the archaeological discoveries at Herculaneum and Pompeii in Italy. It's popularity quickly spread as young European aristocrats returned home from the Grand Tour – a traditional and educational rite of passage – to their home countries with newly rediscovered Greco-Roman ideals.

Collection Highlights

perfume burner
Perfume burner, designed by James 'Athenian' Stuart, made by Anderson Diederich Nicolaus, about 1760, London, England
ceiling
Adelphi ceiling, designed by Robert Adam, made by David Adamson, about 1771, England
relief and tablet
Relief and tablet, sculpted by Thomas Banks, 1777 – 78, Britain
vase
Copy of the Portland Vase, by William Hackwood and Henry Webber, manufactured by Josiah Wedgwood's factory, about 1790, Staffordshire, England
armchair
Armchair, designed by Robert Adam, made by Thomas Chippendale Sr, 1764 – 65, London, England
hot water jug
Hot water jug, 1785 – 90, Sheffield, England
vase and cover
Vase and cover, by Thomas Soare, manufactured by Derby Porcelain factory, about 1783 – 84, Derby, England
teapot
Teapot, made by Andrew Fogelberg, engraved by James Tassie, 1778 – 79, London, England
design
Design for a monument, designed by James 'Athenian' Stuart, by Thomas Scheemakers, 18th century, England
cup and cover
Cup and cover, made by Josiah Wedgwood and Sons, about 1785, Staffordshire, England
door handle
Door handle, designed by Sir William Chambers, 1776 – 80, London
table
Table, designed by Sir William Chambers, made by Georg Haupt, 1769, London, England
Design for a drawing room
Design for a drawing room, by James Wyatt, about 1770 – 75, England
armchair
Armchair, made by Seddon & Sons, about 1790, London, England

Features

Background image: Adelphi ceiling, designed by Robert Adam, about 1771, London. Museum no. W.43:1 to 5-1936. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London