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ROCOCOKEY DATES: 1700sThroughout the 18th century in France, a new wealthy and influential middle-class was beginning to rise, even though the royalty and nobility continued to be patrons of the arts. Upon the death of Louis XIV and the abandonment of Versailles, the Paris high society became the purveyors of style. This style, primarily used in interior decoration, came to be called Rococo. The term Rococo was derived from the French word "rocaille", which means pebbles and refers to the stones and shells use to decorate the interiors of caves. Therefore, shell forms became the principal motif in Rococo. The society women competed for the best and most elaborate decorations for their houses. Hence the Rococo style was highly dominated by the feminine taste and influence.