The Influence of Architecture on Antique Furniture in the Style of Louis XV in the 18th Century in France

From this article, I will start to introduce the characteristics of antique furniture in the style of Louis XV in the 18th century in France.

The Louis XV style is famous for one of the king’s most famous mistresses, Madame Pompadour. The name Rocaille is also named for the imitation rock, one of its most commonly used decorative elements. In Italy, it is called Barochetto or Rococo. This style appeared in Paris around 1730, the undisputed fashion capital of the 18th century. Its appearance developed and perfected the shortcomings of the furniture in the Regency period and allowed for innovation. The Louis XV style is characterized by asymmetrical structure and decoration. The use of curves is more common, and curves tend to invade the overall shape of the work, thus breaking the traditions of the past.

Madame de Pompadour 1721-1764

Throughout the historical development of furniture manufacturing, we can say that from the Middle Ages to the 18th century, under the precepts of the Louis XV style, furniture got rid of all the influence from the architectural structure. So that it reached the pinnacle of technical and artistic achievement.

Throughout the slow development of furniture, the shape of furniture always depends on the architecture, such as the design of pillars, columns, railings, bollards, etc. The wooden structure of the furniture always shows their dependence on the form and decoration of the buildings at that time. But the furniture of Louis XV (1720-1770) created its own style. We can find that the furniture design of chest of drawers, desks, bookshelves, sofa chairs and armchairs at that time gradually changed in the vertical and horizontal directions and gradually formed convex or serpentine shapes. This is because the craftsmen could not find references in the buildings of that period. Indeed, given the limitations of building materials, buildings can only be given a serpentine shape on the horizontal plane. If it adopts a curved and convex shape in the vertical direction, the building will collapse.

The connection between Louis XV furniture and architecture can only be seen in some of the decorative elements they share, such as various types of shells, floral decorations, and head decorations of women and children. In addition, from a technical point of view, those craftsmen or artists at that time had the highest degree of mastery of art. Their experience and care allowed them to change a hundred different woods at will, free their imagination, and create geometric designs, flowers and other patterns, not to mention the kind of lacquer decoration they invented.

During the Louis XV period, the whole social taste at that time also strengthened this perfection and diversity of furniture design. The reason for having such a taste was formed by the stimulation of the renovation of the home environment at the time when people spared no expense.

The short regency period seems to have experienced some kind of architectural crisis, and only a few buildings with its own characteristics are left, and the Louis XV style seems to have been violently attacked by the "stone disease", and the whole of France has been against high-end buildings. A strong interest was generated. Many castles, taverns, squares and private residences have been built all over the country, which led to a substantial increase in furniture production and also reflected the importance of people on the family at that time. During the Louis XV period, people also invented many new furniture styles, such as cbiffonier (a tall and narrow cabinet with 5 to 6 drawers for storing accessories or fabrics), dressing tables and bedside tables. Some of them appeared briefly during the regency period.

Louis XV Cbiffonier(1710-1774)

Louis XV Dressing Table(1710-1774)

Louis XV Bedside Table(1710-1774)

In addition, there are various seat series. The Louis XV style witnessed the emergence of various sofa chairs, armrest chairs and many other types of chairs, and at the same time reflected their corresponding uses.

Louis XV Armchair(1710-1774)

Louis XV Wingback Chair(1710-1774)

In the next article, I will elaborate on the influence of the rich and powerful in the Louis XV period on furniture production at that time.

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