Furniture Styles

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Louis XIV Chairs

Louis XIV chairs of the French Baroque period were large and comfortable, being usually upholstered, back and seat, with tapestry, brocade of large pattern, or with ruby velvet enriched with gold galloon.

During the first half of the reign of Louis XIV the legs of chairs were straight, and turned or carved in a squarish effect, like pedestals. They were furnished with decorative underframing, and were sometimes ornamented with acanthus carving.

Louis XIV Chair
Louis XIV Chair, 1675.
Carved and gilded walnut.
Fixed upholstery was a rapidly growing fashion in the second half of the 17th century in France. Before that, upholstery had taken the form of loose cushions. The upholstery on this chair is new and was based on an engraving of Louis XIV of about 1675, which shows him sitting in a very similar chair, with plain velvet covers and long gold thread fringes of two different lengths.

In general, these chairs were similar to those introduced into England by Daniel Marot, and known as William & Mary chairs.

Later the chair legs became curved, similar to the cabriole, still somewhat massive but more graceful. Chair backs departed from the rectilinear and swept upward in a curve. After 1700 the legs became more slender, approaching those of the Louis XV period in style.

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