RENAISSANCE 1515 - 1560: Also known as Gothic period. Pilasters and columns were accentuated. Cabinets replaced chests, chairs, were padded, and tables were highly sculptured. Characters from antiquity and mythology were the main subjects. Nymphs, satyrs, allegories of the seasons, friezes were popular.
|Louis XIII Cabinet.|
LOUIS XIII 1610-1643: Spiral and bead turning appeared. Furniture characterized by heavy carvings, and monumental in scale. Pieces like the bureau and sideboard featured molded paneling in geometric patterns. The cabinet placed on a stand was a new design for the period. Other typical design themes were the diamond point, pyramid patterns, and large-bun feet on cabinetry.
|Gilded Louis XIV desk.|
LOUIS XIV 1642-1715: The period of Versailles. Form was rounded with curved lines. Baroque furniture is associated with this period. Masks, heads of sphinxes and satyrs were all fashionable motifs. Chair backs were made higher and the seat larger for more comfort. Gilded bronze decoration was popular. Faces of gods, bearded fauns, arabesques, nymphs, goddesses, allegories, cornucopia, and foliage abounded. The sun was the royal emblem in French furniture.
|Louis XV armchair with carved shell apron.|
LOUIS XVI 1774-1793 Pompeii, was excavated and brought interest in ancient Rome to Paris. Associated with Neoclassical style. Simpler, less ornate furniture design. Straight lines and simplicity are the guiding principles of this period. The most typical feature in the constructional details of Louis XVI furniture is the fluted leg and at the end. The chair backs are usually oval, rectangular or shield form. Cabriole legs replaced with straight legs, often fluted, imitating the columns of ancient Rome. Typical motifs of this period the lyre and square blocks carved with rosettes at the top of legs, urns and columns.
|Louis XVI with fluted straight legs.|
|Empire chair with bronzed eagle arms.|
DIRECTOIRE 1789 - 1804 Designs became simplified, marquetry was abandoned in favor of more austere decorations. Geometric patterns were prevalent but less extravagant than before. Greek designs became popular ornamental designs, with the sphinx, gryphon, and urns. Egyptian motifs emerged.
EMPIRE period (1804-1815) Furniture made from heavy woods such as mahogany and ebony with dark finishes and decorative bronze mounts. Marble tops were popular as were Egyptian motifs like sphinxes, griffins, urns and eagles and the Napoleonic symbols, the eagle, the bee, the initials "I" and a large "N."
LOUIS PHILIPPE:1830 - 1848 Pieces take on a rounded shape as machine tools become widespread and allow easy and speedy execution of that shape, thus explaining why these pieces are more widely available and more affordable. The style combined the Gothic, Renaissance, Louis XIII and Louis XV periods. Mahogany and rosewoods were most common and marble tops were also used. The use of gesso (a kind of plaster) allows highly decorative frames to be produced easily then painted or gilded.
NAPOLEON III 1848-1870 . Borrowed elements from all the preceding styles. The furniture production in France moved from highly skilled craft to largely mechanized industry.