Rococo style flourished among the wealthy between about 1730 and 1770, and is mostly associated with the French Bourbon court at Versailles, although it spread throughout Europe.
It is representative of its time because the mid-eighteenth century was a period in which absolute monarchy, expressed most fully by Louis XVI ("I am the state") was as yet unchallenged, and it also represents a time in which colonial wealth continued to flood into Europe, and much of this wealth was captured by the upper classes. In this period of European history, despite the rise of the middle class, the preponderance of wealth was firmly held in the hands of a small group of extremely rich aristocrats and royals
Rococo is most noted for what some have called its "wretched excess," and its adoption reflected the desire of kings (such as the Bourbons) to flaunt their wealth and power to impress others. Rococo is based in the Baroque, which moved away from squares and perpendiculars to embrace the curving, sinuous, and sometimes riotous forms found in nature. Furniture, ceilings, and walls were covered in ways meant to imitate the flow of nature—such as in the coiling, leafy vines made of gilt that often decorated furniture.
Ornamentation became prominent, and, as growth will quickly cover every surface in the natural world, so too were costly embellishments added to rooms and furnishings at every turn. The effect, to a modern aesthetic eye, can be perceived as excessively decadent, but this excess worked perfectly to display the wealth of a confident ruling class.