Rococo and Rocaille
If you are going to walk the walk, you should talk the talk.
What is the difference between rococo and rocaille? Rococo is a design period. A rocaille is an ornamental motif used in rococo design.
Rococo: an elaborate decorative arts style originating in France in the early 18th century. It is characterized by a profusion of asymmetrical scrollwork, called “s-scrolls” and “c-scrolls,” and curvilinear forms. Because of those shapely curves, Rococo is described as a “feminine” style. It was revived during the Victorian period.
Rocaille (rhymes with “exile”) : ornamentation often seen on Rococo furniture that looks like a shell or the irregular shapes of small pebbles. It frequently appears in the center of Rococo’s characteristic s-scrolls and c-scrolls. In the early 18th century, it was part of a common phrase “rocaille et coquille,” or “rock and shell.” In French, the “Style Rocaille” is synonymous with “Rococo.”
Interested in learning more? Check out the other entries in my Design Dictionary: Acanthus, Caning, Anthemion and Palmette , Caryatid and Gadrooning. Design Dictionary is a regular weekly column on Decor Arts Now, usually appearing on Tuesdays.