One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1mass noun An 18th-century artistic or architectural style of decoration characterized by elaborate ornamentation with pebbles and shells, typical of grottos and fountains.‘a room with walls in rocaille like those of fountains in a park’as modifier ‘heavy frames of gilt rocaille stucco-work’
- ‘The most distinctive decorative style evident during the second period at the factory is rocaille, which was used in three-dimensional forms and in painted surrounds for individual scenes.’
- ‘The word was apparently coined in the 1790s by David's students, wittily combining rocaille and barocco, to refer disparagingly to the taste fashionable under Louis XV.’
2A tiny ornamental bead.‘rocailles are available in a range of opaque colours’
- ‘It was of colossal figures that would have been of white marble, surfaced in part in rocailles, which would have made them appear to be of a single piece.’
- ‘The bright sunlight poured down on the myriad of rocailles, garlands, leaves, amphorae, birds and cupids.’
French, from roc ‘rock’.
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