Louis XIV vs. Louis XV vs. Louis XVI...
Do you know your Louis chairs? Here's my short and sweet guide to spotting the difference.
The style of furniture popular during the reign of Louis XIV (fourteenth) is referred to as Baroque. It looks much more masculine and heavy than Louis XV and Louis XVI furniture. Most chairs from this period have stretchers. Popular motifs include: acanthus leaves, arabesques, musical instruments, human and animal grotesques, sphinxes, griffins and lion’s head and paws.
Special note: If you see caning, chairs from this period and before can usually be ruled out. Caning wasn't popular until the transitional period before Rococo, called Regence (I'll have to do another post on this later).
Louis XV (fifteenth) furniture is also referred to as Rococo. These chairs are distinguishable by their curved forms, absence of stretchers, cabriole legs, and delicate, feminine appearance. Popular motifs include: shells, baskets/sprays of flowers, ribbons, symbols of love, and pastoral/romantic scenes.
I hope my little guide helped to illustrate the difference between the three styles.
Note that the chairs shown are just one or two examples of many different variations of chairs during each period.
If you want to explore styles of furniture in depth, check these out:
Furniture: World Styles from Classical to Contemporary by Judith Miller
The Encyclopedia of Furniture: Third Edition by Joseph Aronson
The Complete Guide to Furniture Styles by Louise Ade Boger