Monday, February 20, 2012

Guide to Louis-style Chairs

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.

 Louis XVI (sixteenth) aka Neo-Classical. This period saw a revival of classical Greek forms, influenced by the excavation of ruins at Pompeii. Louis XVI chairs are easy to spot because they always have the fluted leg. Where the Louis XV chairs were curvy, these are very angular with straight lines. Popular motifs include: columns, pilasters, wreaths, garlands, drapery, floral festoons, rosettes, lyres, urns and ancient mythology.

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

27 comments:

  1. brilliant and concise round up. love it!

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  2. I love it when I learn something. This is great info! Thanks so much!

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  3. Lovely illustrations always help me to learn more effectively! This was great!

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  4. Ok, you rock! I recently worked up a guest post focused on Louis style chairs- but yours puts mine to shame. Bookmarking this for later use! XO!

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  5. great post! i love the cross bow top!

    drop by allister bee soon!

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  6. I love all these types of chairs and thanks for education!!
    xo
    Sharon

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  7. You put my post on La Dolce Vita to shame! Love the illustrations, such a great addition. ;o)

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    1. Just went and found it. Another great, simple reference for everyone. Brings up a few important details I didn't...
      http://www.paloma81.blogspot.com/2011/10/design-under-influence-louis-ghost.html

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  8. This is so much easier than my interiors coursework! And prettier too.

    Loving the Aestate. I am so glad you found me on twitter and I found your incredible blog - my new fav with a glass of wine in the evening...

    /cx

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    1. Thank you, Carly! Glad you enjoy reading The Aestate with a glass of vino, cuz that's usually how I write it :)

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  9. Did you draw those?! You're so talented! Very helpful and well illustrated!

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  10. Oooo girl! Pretty post! I love the fonts and collages. Did you do that yourself! I wanna learn!!!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jessie! I used adobe illustrator to arrange the text and scans of my watercolors.

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    2. Can I ask where I can find that font? Or what it's called?

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  11. Gorgeous post darling. P.S. I'm also having a glass of wine while reading this. Perfect end to my day!

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  12. Great ornamentation detail! Nice post.

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  13. Excellent post, Jessica! Love the illustrations! ...and so informative. I will know exactly what I'm looking at now, when I go vintage treasure hunting. Thanks for this great post! xo

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  14. OMG! I love this post!!! You are so talented!!!

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  15. Gorgeous chairs.....I really want to redo my home this year....its time to be rid of the builder beige and change things up a bit:)

    A Lifestyle Blog where Fashion, Décor & Cooking “connect”

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  16. great post jessica!! you ve put so much time and effort in it! thx for the advise

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  17. Just visiting your blog for the first time... hard to believe! I love this post and found via Pinterest!

    xo,
    cristin

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  18. Amazing post! Such a great reference, and I love your sketches!

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  19. Your drawings are so lovely, total 21st Century charm.

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  20. This post has been very helpful thank you! I am new to your blog, just wondering if you have any suggestions on how to shop for louis chairs whether at estate sales, auctions or antique shops.

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  21. Question...I see many listing for antique chairs "in the style of louis XVI." What is an "actual" Louis XVI antique chair and how can you tell?

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  22. Excellent quick guide! Thanks for sharing!

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