Post 5 – Louis XV Furniture

Louis XV

15 February 1710 – 10 May 1774

 The great grandson of Louis the XIV, Louis XV ( Louis the Beloved) ruled France from 1 September 1715 until his death.  His reign marked a time of relative peace and prosperity for France and one of the greatest periods of french design. Louis lived the majority of his life at the palace of Versailles.

 Cultural & Political Influences :

  •  strongly influenced by the royal mistresses: Madame de Pompadour, Madame du Barry amongst others, women at court became powerful
  • the emergence of the “Intellectual Salon” saw  a more intimate rooms to encourage conversation  popular during  the “enlightenment”
  • mystery and intrigue at court was rife as courtiers vied for for favor with the king and the power it brought

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Furniture Style –  Rococo

  •  moved away from the  heavier baroque, symmetrical,  masculine style of Louis the XIV,  to a  highly ornate but lighter style, characterised by elaborate but graceful feminine curves and flowing lines with a taste for asymmetry
  • Smaller more intimate rooms replaced the grand suites
  • Furnishings were always elegant and refined with more emphasis on comfort
  • Furniture was designed to encourage conversation,   lighter frames and curved forms encouraged chairs to be moved rather than placed flat against a wall.
  • Padded seats and backs promoted comfort
  • The popularity of armchairs, sofa’s and day beds explode,   Cabriolet and Bergere armchairs display curved legs became popular
  • Commodes, side tables,  console tables and boudoir furniture is influenced by this popular style
  • New furniture becomes popular:

    • Chiffoniers
    • Writing desks and feminine  roll-top desks
    • Card tables
    • Ladies’  furniture: dressing tables, armoires
  • The mystery, intrigue and scheming  at court saw the inclusion of spring loaded secret draws and compartments in furniture
  • Round or oval dining tables were  popular shapes

Decorative Techniques:

Decorative style remained ornate, highly polished or painted with decorative scenes

  • Rich ornate carving
  • Marquetry inlaid work in woods
  • Gold leaf
  • Highly glossed lacquer techniques
  • Ornamentation in a variety of metals including bronze
  • Inlays of mother-of-pearl and ivory
  • Painting

Decorative Motifs

  • Chinoiserie (Asian /Chinese motifs) – became popular
  • Nature inspired painted decoration flora and fauna, delicate bunches of flowers
  • Painted exotic landscapes
  • Fantasy  animals were often depicted
  • Musical instrumentation
  • Symbols of love such as bows and couples
  • Arabesque pattern and sea shells commonly used

Materials Used

  •  oak, walnut, cherry, ash, plum, chestnut and olive
  • rare woods such as tulip, violet, king woods
  • marbles were richly veined and tinted marbles
  • mother of pearl shell inlay and ivory
  • ornate silks and upholstery fabrics
  • pale blues and gold were popular




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