Ca. 1770 - 1830, colors were brilliant, the patterns eye-popping.
By Patricia Poore
Muted is not the word to describe late-Georgian through Federal era colors, says color historian John Crosby Freeman. He points to the parlor at Boston’s 1796 Otis House, headquarters of Historic New England. The redecorating project during the 1970s was revolutionary in its scholarship, returning to the room strong clear yellow and Wedgwood blue—as well as a paper border with a black ground, and orange accents framing fully colored landscape scenes. The carpeting, laid wall to wall, is a graphic pattern in red, gold, and deep green. All of it is based on period evidence.
A common misconception is that the color palette consisted of white, bisque, and grey. In fact, the diverse colors of the period range from strong, greyed-ochre shades and verdigris to brilliant salmon (a Federal period favorite), orange, violet, and brown. Gilding, often used with black accents, was popular on mirrors and lighting devices. Read more.