An Essential Guide to Identifying Louis Chair Styles
French furniture from the 18th Century is in many ways the style people think of when imagining an antique, particularly pieces from the Louis period. However, to a non-expert, this collection of unique furniture can be overwhelmingly complex and daunting to tell apart. Here are a few pointers to help you.
Louis XIV: Royal Elegance
Louis XIV was candidly known as the Sun King for good reason. This long-reigning mastermind behind the glory of Versailles had a keen eye for style. He particularly felt that his surroundings should reflect the power and prestige of the monarchy. Many craftsmen and artists embraced this idea resulting in highly ornate and dramatic furnishings.
Key Features to Help you Spot a Louis XIV Chair:
- Dramatic – The silhouettes are grand and resemble a throne, featuring high backs that are often fully upholstered.
- Heavy – The legs feature stretchers in H or X shapes, helping make the chair appear more substantial.
- Rigid – The seatbacks are upright and straight while the armrests extend to the front edge of the seat.
Louis XV: Comfort and Curves
Louis XV’s reign coincided with the period of European art and design known as Rococo. This period saw a strong affection towards intricate ornamentation and organic motifs, which consequently led to the loosening up of chair styles. More chairs now featured curved shapes and focused more on comfort.
Key Features to Help you Spot a Louis XV Chair:
- Comfortable – The armrests are short in length, typically ending before the edge of the seat to accommodate the full-skirted fashions typical in the era. The seatbacks are also angled to achieve maximum comfort.
- Romantic – The wooden frames were often gilded.
- Sensual – The seatbacks feature curved wood and are typically rounded, often having carved decorations. The legs of these chairs are typically S-shaped or cabriole and often set at an angle.
Louis XVI: Crisp and Classic
The Louis XVI era coincided with the start of the French revolution. As a contrast to the Louis XV era in which furniture was dramatically ornamented, the XVI era gravitated towards a clean and crisp design aesthetic inspired by antiquity. This neoclassical style was dubbed the ‘Greek taste’ or ‘goût grec’ and was characterized by decorative restraint with a focus on clear architectural forms.
Key Features to Help you Spot a Louis XVI Chair:
- Classical – Common carvings reflect classical motifs, including fluting, ribbon twist details and scrolls.
- Restrained – This style features geometric shapes, clean lines and straight column-like legs. The chairs may also feature rectangular, shield-shaped or round upholstered backs.
- Simple – Armrests meet the front edge of the seat, ending in a gracefully carved scroll.
Purchase Beautiful Louis Style Chairs and Furniture at Carrocel
The Louis XVI, Louis XV and Louis XIV chair styles continue to inspire designers who are looking to incorporate Louis style pieces into modern rooms, often resulting in clean, classic and exquisite spaces. If you are looking to learn more, this guide should help you recognize and differentiate the features of Louis style furniture. Contact Carrocel today for custom and vintage furniture.
Louis XV Style Leather Bench Stool
- Beautiful Hand Polished black lacquer finish
- Comfortable top with head to head antique brass nails
- Louis XV Style Leather Bench Stool
Louis XVI Style Black Lacquered Commode Chest
- Beautifully restored in a hand-polished black lacquer finish
- Classic original brass hardware and marble top
- Louis XVI Style Black Lacquered Commode Chest
Louis XVI Style Cane Back Dining chairs set of 6
- Restored set of six chic and sophisticated dining chairs
- Includes two armchairs and four regular chairs crafted out of solid black walnut
- Louis XVI Style Cane Back Dining chairs set of 6