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Rococo mainly applies to European furniture, interior decoration, ceramics, and metalwork of the 1730-1770 period. This style is fairly easy to spot, as it has one major characteristic. It is decorated with a high number of intricate curves. Here’s what it looks like on a side table:

Side table (c.1730), The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Here are the more specific characteristics of the Rococo style:

– Highly complex decoration

– Continuous flow of curves in the decoration, usually in S and C shapes

– Motifs inspired by nature, such as leaves, shells, branches, and rocks

– Frequent absence of symmetry in the design

This clock has them all:

Wall clock (1735-1740), The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

The term “Rococo” has also been applied to architecture, painting and other arts, but that is the result of loose association rather than an actual spread of the movement. Rococo was a movement mainly driven by craftsmen, such as carvers, cabinet makers, and ceramic artists.

A full Rococo interior can be seen in the British Galleries of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, with the panelling of the Norfolk House Music Room, from the 1750s:

The ceiling features great examples of asymmetrical Rococo design:

The Musée des Arts Décoratifs, next to the Louvre in Paris, also has a room dedicated to the Rococo:

The room includes pieces such as this:

Juste-Aurèle Meissonnier, silver candelabrum (1734-35)

Aix-la-Chapelle chair (c.1740)

Duplessis sauce dish (1756)

Spain also has major Rococo rooms. Here is one of the most extreme examples of the style — the Gasparini Room of the Palacio Real in Madrid:

So, if it’s from the 1730-1770 period and is decorated with a high number of detailed curves that are not symmetrical, chances are it’s Rococo.