Just as the economic and military situations influence and to a large extent dictate the way of life in most countries today, so they did in past centuries. The French Napoleonic era, (best known as the French Empire), and the English Regency period both spanned the first quarter of the 19th century. The approaches to the English channel, have always been strategically important to France, England and Spain, as they that control the channel, control the ports. The blockade during this time, resulted in a complete in the style and fashions of the furniture.
During the 18th century, fine quality timbers were imported into Europe from South America and the British, Spanish and French West Indies for the use in high quality, elaborate furniture, typical of the Louis XV and XVI periods. Access to these materials was forced to a grinding halt during the Napoleonic period, specifically the first 20-25 years of the 19th century, as the English channel was blockaded and the once profligate luxury timbers were now in short supply.
The cabinet makers sought and found a readily accessible alternative for inlays in brass, available in England and Europe and is a typical feature of Empire furniture. At the same time, income tax was rising and as a result, much of the embellishment and carving disappeared from furniture and was replaced by the straighter lines and austerity, typical of Empire and Regency furniture.