Rococo

Britain, Room 53a & 53b

Plan a visit

Rococo emerged in France in the 1720s and remained the predominant design style until it fell out of fashion in the 1770s. Excessively flamboyant and characterised by a curved asymmetric ornamentation and a use of natural motifs, Rococo was a style without rules. Compared to the order, refinement and seriousness of the Classical style, Rococo was seen as superficial, degenerate and illogical.

Exploring Rococo

Photo of Mantua, 1740 – 45, unknown maker, England. Museum no. T.260&A-1969. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Mantua, 1740 – 45, unknown maker, England. Museum no. T.260&A-1969. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Cosway Sitter's chair, Matthias Lock, about 1755, London. Museum no. W.1-1973. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Cosway Sitter's chair, Matthias Lock, about 1755, London. Museum no. W.1-1973. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Norfolk House Music Room (from St. James's Square, London), 1748 – 56. Museum no. W.70:1-1938. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Norfolk House Music Room (from St. James's Square, London), 1748 – 56. Museum no. W.70:1-1938. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Mirror, Thomas Chippendale, 1762 – 65, London. Museum no. 2388-1855. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Mirror, Thomas Chippendale, 1762 – 65, London. Museum no. 2388-1855. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Girandole (wall light), Thomas Johnson, 1760 – 65, London. Museum no. W.48-1952. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Girandole (wall light), Thomas Johnson, 1760 – 65, London. Museum no. W.48-1952. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Design for a chimney piece, plate no. 179 in The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director, Thomas Chippendale, about 1753 – 62, London. Museum no. D.703-1906. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Design for a chimney piece, plate no. 179 in The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director, Thomas Chippendale, about 1753 – 62, London. Museum no. D.703-1906. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Plate, Bow Porcelain Factory, about 1756, London. Museum no. C.217-1940. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Plate, Bow Porcelain Factory, about 1756, London. Museum no. C.217-1940. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Design for a woven silk made by Anna Maria Garthwaite, 1749, Spitalfields, London. Museum no. 5987:1. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Design for a woven silk made by Anna Maria Garthwaite, 1749, Spitalfields, London. Museum no. 5987:1. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Kettle, Paul de Lamerie, 1730 – 31, London. Museum no. LOAN:GILBERT.672:1 to 3-2008. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Kettle, Paul de Lamerie, 1730 – 31, London. Museum no. LOAN:GILBERT.672:1 to 3-2008. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Coffee pot, Bow Porcelain Factory, about 1760, London. Museum no. C.231:1, 2-1993. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Coffee pot, Bow Porcelain Factory, about 1760, London. Museum no. C.231:1, 2-1993. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Candlestand, Thomas Johnson, 1756 – 60, London. Museum no. W.9-1950. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Candlestand, Thomas Johnson, 1756 – 60, London. Museum no. W.9-1950. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Vase, Derby Porcelain factory, 1758 – 60. Museum no. C.76-1967. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Vase, Derby Porcelain factory, 1758 – 60. Museum no. C.76-1967. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Clock, John Ellicott, 1740 – 50, London. Museum no. M.22-1970. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Clock, John Ellicott, 1740 – 50, London. Museum no. M.22-1970. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Learn more about Rococo

Background image: Mirror, Thomas Chippendale, 1762 – 65, London. Museum no. 2388-1855. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London