The Gustavian Period

by Liza Laserow

Gustavian sofa with typical Gustavian carvings such as the braided lining and corner flowers. The legs are tapered and decorated with channels.

Gustavian Console table

Desk from the late Gustavian period

The Gustavian period started in Sweden 1775 and lasted until 1810. It came from France where it was established in 1750, with inspirations from the excavations in the Italian cities Pompeij and Herculaneum.  Gustav III, king in Sweden between 1771 to 1791, traveled to Versailles in France where he fell in love with the style. He introduced the new sophisticated culture and architecture  with great passion and turned Sweden into “Paris of the North”. Cabinet makers were invited from France to Sweden to manifest the style but when the king couldnt pay them they returned and left the unfinished work to the local craftsmen. To limit the costs pine was used instead of walnut and mahogany. In France the furniture made for the royal castles were gilt wood but Sweden had to settle with gray painted furniture to make them look like marble. During the late gustavian period, 1790-1810, Sweden could afford to import wood like mahogany from England.