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Louis XVI French Furniture

Column Furniture and works of art , Appraisal and valuation

Succeeding to the transition style, which marks the transition between the styles of Louis XV and Louis XVI, Louis XVI style developed in France and especially in Paris between 1770 and 1790. Also known as neoclassicism of the rest of Europe and particularly in Italy and Germany, the Louis XVI style is marked by a return to antiquity and straight lines as opposed to the canons of style Louis XV all in curves. Remerber that the ruins of Herculaneum and Pompeii were excavated in 1738 and 1749.
Let's look at the features of this style and the evolution of the major furniture during this period.
Louis XVI style, as often in French decorative arts, does not correspond to the reign of King Name. It actually began in 1770. Thus, during the inauguration of the Pavillon de Louveciennes, owned by Madame du Barry, we see King Louis XV sitting on a Louis XVI style chair. We consider that it ends with the Revolution, giving way to the style directoire which was announced in 1785 in the repertoire of some sculptors and designers. These dates remain arbitrary, because no one ordered by the change in style and many craftsmen are still making Louis XV furniture at the beguining of the Louis XVI reign. Louis XVI style will again be especially popular during the mid-nineteenth century, in fact, the Empress Eugenie devoted a true cult to Queen Marie-Antoinette and many Louis XI furnirue were done at that time.This is where the famous grey Trianon is from.
The wood
Louis XVI furniture is often covered in parquetry of flowers, landscapes or attributes. The frame is entirely covered with rich exotic wood veneers such as rosewood, satin, amaranth, kingwood and purplewood. It can also be paneled with Chinese or Japanese lacquer, for the most beautiful, varnished or coated with European vernis martin. The richest furniture are decorated with Sevres porcelain. The simpler piece can be only covered with veneer of exotic wood veneers.
Louis XVI style is also marked by the use of mahogany. This is the wood of the period Louis XVI 
The seats and consoles are gilded or lacquered. The seats are usually beech or walnut and marble tables in oak.
Main features

sieges louis xvi expertise estimation salon louis xvi sene jacob

Collection privée.

Louis XVI furniture are characterized by straight lines without them becoming too strict as will be the case with the Empire
furniture, Louis XVI furniture are feminine.
We can distinguish three periods:
-1770-1780: the Louis XVI goes up and then three styles coexist: the Louis XV, Louis XVI and the transition that combines elements of both. Gradually become straight lines and symmetry becomes the rule.
-1780-1785: Louis XVI style reached its full maturity. The antiquity fully inspired the
artisans and grooving, molding and ray of heart are the rule. The simplicity of the lines is often offset by the richness of
-1785-1790: this last period announce the directoire style especially with Egyptian heads on armrests or sculptures of palmettos and fasces.
Louis XVI seats

Carpenters in Louis XVI chairs were particularly inventive in the form of the backrest. If the distinction between cabriolet and "a la reine" or flat remains, the backrest can be carved in cocked hat, basket-handle or crest. At the end of the Louis XVI, the new seats appear, their back is no longer stocked but carved, it may be in balloon or lyra.
The seat for his part also known variants, as it can be circular for the Comte d'Artois, horseshoe or square.
Consoles armrests are in the extension of the feet and take a form of "S" to allow women with large dress to seat.
The feet are generally directed sheaths decorated with grooves and sometimes rudentures.
The frame is molded and carved with lines of heart, string of pearls, cane wrapped or node.
The wooden seats are as under Louis XV gilded or painted. Note that under Louis XVI, a corporation almost disappeared under Louis XV returned to the honor, the turners.

Louis XVI furniture

Louis XVI tables

table de salle a manger louis xvi expertise acajou
Courtesy of SVV de Maigret

During the Louis XVI period type of tables continues to grow and appear the pedestal table of English inspiration, the table bouillotte, and the tea-table and of course the dining table which is a table with two flap and extensions usually in mahogany.
Console desserte

It was under Louis XVI reign that appear dining room in Parisian home and therefore require some new pieces of furniture such as console desserte. It may be rectangular or half moon and has a drawer belt rank. The top is covered with a marble and feet are joined by a stretcher.
Bonheur du jour

bonheur du jour expertise epoque louis xvi estimation cedric henon vente aux encheres meubles anciens
Courtesy of SVV Art Valorem


This piece of furniture appears during the transition period but it was under Louis XVI that it develops fully. This is a table topped by a step and with a frieze drawer that form a writing table. The step may open by doors or drawers and generally has a niche in the center. The feet are frequently joined by a stretcher.

Louis XVI furniture mark the end of the 18th century and of Paris as European capital for decorative arts. Louis XVI furniture are full of finess and feminity and remain a reference in decorative art.

Cedric Henon

Fine furniture Specialist

Main illustration: Courtesy of SVV de Maigret.