Furniture Styles

Furniture > European > French > Reproduction

French Reproduction Furniture

Napoleon III, 1848 - 1870

The era of Louis Napoleon, Emperor of the French, is known as the Second Empire and constitutes the peak of the popularity of reproduction furniture much as occurred in late Victorian England.

French Cabinet
French Cabinet, 1865.
Ebony, partly veneered on oak, with inlay and carved decoration in box, lime, holly, pear, walnut, mahogany and hardstones.
Displayed at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1867.

Battle of the Styles

A great number of revival styles competed with one another including Renaissance revival and Henri II furniture, reproduction Boulle furniture of the baroque period, and revivals in rococo and neoclassic Louis XVI furniture.

Gueridon, 1870.
Solid mahogany and mahogany veneered on oak, with inset plaque of porcelain or bone china and gilt-bronze mounts.
This stand was made to support a reading light or as an occasional table. Such pieces are sometimes known by the French name gueridon, a term originally used in the 17th century for a circular tray on a pillar, made of carved and gilded wood, used to support a candelabrum.
The top is inset with a soft-paste porcelain plaque, perhaps made originally as a plate at the French national porcelain factory at Sevres, near Paris. It was probably later ground down to form this table top. The decoration was almost certainly applied in the 19th century, probably by expert flower painters in Britain who sought to imitate the fine work of the painters at Sèvres.

Rococo Revival

From around 1840 the era of Rococo furniture in France was revived from its 100 year old slumber. The main features of this reproduction style included use of cabriole legs, fanciful carvings such as the shell, curved surfaces, and great use of C and S scrolls.

Rococo Revival Chairs
Rococo Revival Chairs.

Renaissance Revival

The Renaissance revival came about largely due to the influence of Napoleon III, the Emperor wishing to have his name associated with the classical grandeur of Rome and cement his place in French history.

The main attributes of the revival in the Renaissance style were carved and ornamented decoration particularly used in the bedroom and dining room furniture of the period.

Renaissance Revival Easy Chairs
Renaissance Revival Easy Chairs.

The craze for reproduction furniture at this time is evidence of a lack of innovation which continued through the 19th century in France until the rise of the art nouveau furniture movement.

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