THE FRENCH STYLES

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    French Furniture Styles

     LOUIS XIII - XVII century

       Louis XIII : 1601 - 1610 - 1643

Louis XIII style actually began under Henry IV who patronised craftsmen. The economic situation called for rigour which was reflected in the sobriety of the materials and the style : elaborate carving disappeared, spiral and bead turning appeared, the cabinet-maker worked mainly with ebony and perfected veneering.

Furniture : tall cupboards, full dressers, tables with a varying number of legs were all extremely structured. Chairs were given arms and stools were upholstered. Cabinets were common.

: tall cupboards, full dressers, tables with a varying number of legs were all extremely structured. Chairs were given arms and stools were upholstered. Cabinets were common.

 

Materials : natural woods : oak and walnut in the beginning, then ebony appeared. Craftsmern began to use metals : pewter and copper as in Italy - a foretaste of Boulle's style. Leather was finely worked.

 

LOUIS XIV - XVII century

Louis XIV 1638 - 1643 - 1715

The Sun King imposed magnificence.

 

Furniture : the commode appeared at the end of the XVII century and became very fashionable. The word "console" was used. The bureau plat (flat desk) replaced the Mazarin bureau with its eight legs. Chairs were varied, ranging from the high-backed padded armchair to the stool. Legs were figural, baluster, or claw. Mirrors, chandelier, candelabra became more common and the cabinet arrived from Italy.

 

Materials : sculptured, veneered, inlaid : ebony and precious woods were imported to Paris, pear and natural woods were used in the provinces.

 

Types of decoration : the sun was the royal emblem. The fleur-de-lis remained. Faces of gods, bearded fauns, nymphs, goddesses, allegories, arabesques, cornucopia, foliage abounded. Gilded bronze decoration was popular.

 

REGENCE XVIII century

Philippe d'Orléans : 1715 - 1723

This style began to appear at the beginning of the 18th century and is a typical example of a transition style influenced by the preceding movement and at the same time presenting new forms of decoration indicating change. Lines had a new fluidity while retaining their symmetry. Charles Cressent, the master cabinetmaker, was to the Régence period what Boulle had been under Louis XIV. Other cabinetmakers : Mondon, Dubois, Godreaux, Joubert, Doirat ....Furniture : the commode, veneer of precious wood with geometric design together with much gilt bronze decoration. Bookcases with meshed doors, cane chairs with curved "sabot de biche" (hooved) legs. The earlier naturalism became stylized. Tables, Duchesse chaises longues, "châssis" chairs, bureaux plats(flat/table desks), consoles, smaller sized tables, cupboards, regulators, centre lights and walls lamps were numerous.

Materials : precious wood and ebony, Brazilian rosewood. Tulipwood appeared at the end of this period.

Furniture : the commode, veneer of precious wood with geometric design together with much gilt bronze decoration. Bookcases with meshed doors, cane chairs with curved "sabot de biche" (hooved) legs. The earlier naturalism became stylized. Tables, Duchesse chaises longues, "châssis" chairs, bureaux plats(flat/table desks), consoles, smaller sized tables, cupboards, regulators, centre lights and walls lamps were numerous.

Materials : precious wood and ebony, Brazilian rosewood. Tulipwood appeared at the end of this period.

Materials : precious wood and ebony, Brazilian rosewood. Tulipwood appeared at the end of this period.

 

LOUIS XVI (1754-1774-1793)

 

 

After the discovery of the excavations of Herculanum and Pompéi, classic art became the fashion. Greek, Roman,and Etruscan influences are strong.

 

After the discovery of the excavations of Herculanum and Pompéi, classic art became the fashion. Greek, Roman,and Etruscan influences are strong.

 

Cabinetmakers: Georges Jacob is the most important cabinetmaker of the time; he is one of the creators of this style. Riesener, Oeben, Dubois, Saunier, Roentgen Topino, R.V.L.C (Roger Van der Cruz La Croix), Benneman, Pluvinet, Montigny, Pug, Weisweiller, Leleu ) are also active creators.

 

Furniture: Bookcases with mesh doors and corner pieces in half-moon design are present. Certain models present angles in "sides" or in columns and half-fluted columns.The furniture of the previous styles are found again, the sideboards, the flat desks and in cylinder form. The feet of the (arm)chairs are in fluted columns sometimes " rudentées ", "tops", "reels" or "girdles". A symmetry of classicism dominates as well as flora, flowery baskets, loving or marriages attributes (2 birds, 2 hearts), and wrinkled ribbons forming a knot. Sèvres porcelain decorates certain important mahogany pieces.

                                                                                

                                 

                                                   FRENCH PROVINCIAL - XVIII century

When local craftsmen, living in the provinces of France during the 18th century, imitated the finer examples of furniture seen in Paris, a quaint yet formal style of furniture evolved known as French Provincial. The style is based on high fashion Louis XV designs of the Rococo period, yet simplified for country estate living.

Woods are sometimes left in a natural walnut or beech finish yet most are white washed or painted in pastel colors with fruit and floral stencil designs and hand painted accents. Rather than heavy upholstery, it is more common to see caning used on chairs and settees for the seats and backs.

 

                                          

                                 

                                          

                                 

 

E M P I R E (Napoléon 1er, 1769-1821)

Architects of the Emperor, Percier and Fountain, exercise a dominating influence on the new conception of furniture. The Emperor's military campaigns in Egypt inspire certain decorations which lead to a more massive style. The most important cabinetmakers are Georges Jacob and his second son whose stamp "Jacob D. rue Meslee " will dominate the Empire style . Several new pieces furniture of furniture appear such as sleigh beds, office(desk) " Ministre ", the wardrobe with a mirror, the tripod pedestal table, and massive chairs whose front straight legs end with a lion's claw and whose back legs are in the shape of sabers. Bronze dominates clocks, chandeliers, and wall sconces . The most important person to use broze is Thomire. Numerous sculptured bronze or wooden ornamental attributes decorate furniture: warlike, Roman attributes, sphinx, the "Renommées" (strong creatures with angels' wings), lions, dolphins, swans, and bees. Fabrics are satin, taffeta, moire, velvet, cashmere, and toile de Jouy. Colours are golden yellow, green, burgundy,and purple. The wood Mahogany is used until 1806. The Emperor decrees the blockade closing the continent to the English transport companies. He recommends the use of native wood: oak, walnut, ash tree, maple. The inside of furniture is more sophisticated than in the 18th century. Dovetailing is apparent in the construction of furniture.

 

 

LOUIS PHILIPPE - XIX century

Louis Philippe : 1773 - 1830 - 1848 - 1850

In reaction to the light tones of Charles X style, that of Louis-Philippe uses darker colours. Lines were strong and simple, chairs were comfortable. Industrialisation was beginning. Lines from the previous century were still in evidence as the "Cathedral style" developed. Natural wood was used in solid or veneered form.

 

 

NAPOLEON III - XIX century

NAPOLEON III : 1808 - 1852 - 1870 - 1873

This style is distinguished by a vast mixture of styles from the XVII centuries:

Boulle style furniture, Louis XVI and Louis XVII living room furniture. Renaissance and Henri II dining room furniture. Also significant of the period were black lacquered pieces painted with bouquets of flowers. Panels with vernis Martin reproduced scenes of the XVIII century.