French furniture consists of the kind made in Paris for the king and his court, the royals and the affluent upper class, and the French provincial furniture crafted in the provincial cities and towns including Lyon and Liege, which maintained characteristics different from the metropolitan area. Apart from this, there was a conventionalist rural artisans’ school, that held its sway till the railroads came about in the middle of the nineteenth century.
During the course of the eighteenth century, the Parisian monarchy got done a large number of opulent and ostentatious items and brought into force the Rococo style, also called Louis XV, and later, the Neoclassical style, that is also called the Louis XVI style.
Let’s have a look at the different styles associated with French furniture, and let’s try to answer some questions linked to French furniture. A note of caution: This is not an exhaustive list and you may be inspired to do a makeover after this.
Baroque furniture history
The Baroque period in the history of art came about after Renaissance. It was marked by copious embellishment. Some of the pieces put together for King Louis XIV became torch-bearers of Baroque furniture. The style concerned has come to be called Louis XIV style, items associated with which are prized possessions.
Baroque furniture characteristics
Despite abundant ornamentation, Baroque creations had a soft harmony and a seamless integration of different parts. The furniture items often stood out for their symmetry, and all the details were reproduced on either sides, with minor, differences, if any.
Rococo style furniture
As for Rococo furniture history, Rococo style furniture took roots as an appendage of architectural styles that held sway in the later part of the seventeenth century. It was quickly dominated by Modern Neoclassical furniture, among others.
The Rococo lifestyle was associated with ease, and furniture manufacturers crammed chairs with added cushioning and devised novel variations of springs. The fabrics that were used for the purpose of draping the chairs and sofas therein were delicate and luxurious, depending on silks, dyed with pastel hues, and having asymmetrical and organic layouts.
Baroque vs Rococo furniture
Rococo emerged out of Baroque. Both these styles are marked by abundant opulence and adornment, and both were in fact in use in big structures with a social or cultural status. While the Baroque style is serious, dramatic, and heavy, Rococo is light, airy and ornate.
While both of these styles are in vogue, as one has a look at these, it becomes clear that while both the styles have their distinct features, at times, it’s difficult to differentiate between the two.
What is French provincial furniture style?
French provincial furniture is the term that is usually used to refer to furniture manufactured in the smaller French cities and the countryside during the 18th century. It also alludes applies to items from Provence, Normandy and Bordeaux, among other areas in France.
French provincial furniture characteristics
While French provincial furniture style is often classed as “romantic”, the characteristics usually linked with this style are cabriole legs, uncomplicated scalloped lace and rustic ruffles. Dining chairs often have a wheat formation engraving, that are a subtle hint at the country environs of the artist. French provincial furniture is associated with white color and floral accents.
Louis XVI furniture and Modern Neoclassical furniture
Louis XVI furniture is marked by sophistication and neoclassicism, a revival of the ancient Greek and Roman styles. when Louis XVI ascended the throne in 1774, Marie Antoinette, his fashion-loving Queen, brought the Louis XVI furniture style in force. Much of the art pieces thus created were actually made for the Queen’s new apartments in the Palace of Versailles, Palace of Fontainebleau, the Tuileries Palace, among other royal buildings. The shift from the Baroque and the Rococo style to the Modern Neoclassical furniture style had already started near the year 1760, a period that happened to be close to the end of the rule of King Louis XV.
Modern Neoclassical furniture characteristics
The furniture in the Modern Neoclassical furniture style is uncomplicated, yet symmetrical. Dark wood furniture is one of the hallmarks of this style, while the rooms therein are adorned by aesthetic ornamentation, stone and marble flooring and Persian carpets.
Furniture influenced by Napoleon interior design
The Empire style is an early nineteenth-century style that came to typify the second phase of Neoclassicism. The style took roots in and derives its nomenclature from the reign of Emperor Napoleon I in the First French Empire.
Empire style furniture characteristics
The items had, by and large, a fixed layout and were marked by elemental geometric formations, at times with flat exteriors and pointed corners. The configurations were symmetrical and different elements were usually reproduced on either side.