In the 17th century, French intellectuals developed a fondness for salons—gatherings to discuss to art, literature, and politics—so naturally French furniture designers were asked to devise new, more comfortable ways to sit. By the 1800s, a typical French salon suite held a sofa, a chaise longue, a lady's armchair, a gentleman's armchair, and a stool. Today, most collectible antique French chairs come from such Victorian Era conversation rooms.
In response to the political and social unrest of industrialization, mass-produced 19th-century French furniture expressed nostalgia for the Golden Age of the French monarchy, relishing in the opulence of Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassical styles. Inspired by the reigns of kings Louis XIV, Louis XV, and Louis XVI, antique French chairs usually feature carved wooden frames that were gilded or painted, as well as fine silk upholstery embroidered with delicate flowers. These chairs often incorporate serpentine lines; molding carved in the shapes of scrolls, faces, and arched crests; legs that curve or taper; and feet that scroll or end in claws or hooves.
One of the most common styles is the "fauteil," an upholstered armchair with open sides that came into popularity under the reign of Louis XIV, the 17th-century "Sun King." The chair is still a mainstay of French furnishing. Eventually, upholstered pads were added to the top of the fauteil armrests for even greater comfort. When upholstery became more readily available in the 18th century under Louis XV's extravagant Rococo reign, armchairs called "bergéres" included fabric-covered panels between the arms and seats. Stretcher supports disappeared from French chairs after the invention of curved "cabriole" legs, shaped like an animal's hind legs.
Most Rococo chairs were designed to sit against a wall. In fact, the heavy "siège meuble" was not designed to be moved at all. The pastel, intricately embroidered silk of the seats and backs, was an integral part of the design of a room, meant to complement the patterns and colors of the adjacent wall paneling. To accommodate the opulent fashions of the day, chair arms were shortened to account for hoop skirts, while chair backs were lowered to spare huge coiffures.
Revivalist Louis XV-style fauteils and bergéres can be distinguished from Louis XVI-style models. Louis XV-style chairs are curvier and rounder with cabriole legs and fanciful embellishments. By the time of Louis XVI's reign, Neoclassicism was all the rage, and so the more florid Rococo tendencies were toned down with Classical symmetry. Louis XVI-style chairs have more rectangular frames, with tapered legs. Oftentimes, these Victorian reproductions have casters attached to their feet.
In the 19th century, French armchairs grew even more luxurious when coiled springs were mass-produced. These "tapissier" chairs were also upholstered in elaborately detailed tapestries. The Victorians, very concerned about what happens when young lovers sat on a sofa, invented a whole host of seats including "canapé borne," "dos-à-dos," and "boudeuse," that let sitters have conversations, modestly, without the risk of physical contact.
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Tennis official gets life ban for gamblingninemsn, November 25th
A French chair umpire on the futures and challenger tours has received a life ban and become the first official to be suspended for corruption by the Tennis Integrity Unit. The charges against 22-year-old Morgan Lamri breached four articles of the TIU...Read more
French tennis federation official banned for lifeTennis Magazine, November 25th
PARIS (AP) -- A French chair umpire on the futures and challenger tours became the first official to be suspended for corruption by the Tennis Integrity Unit when he received a life ban on Tuesday. The charges against 22-year-old Morgan Lamri breached...Read more
Federer to meet Djokovic in London finalWAPT Jackson, November 15th
Whereas Djokovic wasn't happy with the crowd Saturday in his 6-1 3-6 6-0 win over Kei Nishikori, Federer was annoyed with French chair umpire Cedric Mourier. Having the momentum after breaking Wawrinka at love to end the second set, Federer thought ...Read more
Sean Clarke Brings Expertise on Academia-Practice to CSONBoston College Chronicle, October 30th
Prior to coming to Boston College, Clarke was the Susan E. French Chair in Nursing Research and Innovative Practice at McGill University's Ingram School of Nursing. He also directed the McGill Nursing Collaborative, a series of projects between McGill...Read more
Beale airman guilty in sex assaultAppeal-Democrat, October 23rd
A senior airman was found guilty of multiple counts of sexual assault in a court-martial on Beale Air Force Base, according to information released Wednesday. Marcus Andrew Mancini, 32, was found guilty of five Uniform Code of Military Justice...Read more
Bunny Mellon's Breathtaking Private Collection on Sale at Sotheby'sArchitectural Digest (blog), October 17th
The curves of the desk and the fine French chair, also part of the auction, are relaxed. Living Room. 1 of 24. Above a small desk in a corner of the living room, a modest 20th-century gilt wall clock presides over two American masterworks: one a...Read more
Marlborough kicks off student logo contest for drug and alcohol awarenessCommunity Advocate, October 12th
Marlborough – Mayor Arthur G. Vigeant and Kelley French, chair of the Marlborough Youth Commission, announced that Marlborough has initiated a logo design contest for resident students to become involved in the city's new campaign for drug and alcohol ...Read more
'100 sièges français' celebrates the midcentury evolution of French chair designVogue Australia, September 30th
'100 sièges français' celebrates the midcentury evolution of French chair design. Design. Created 1st October 2014. more from Vogue Living. more from Vogue Living. Get the look: botanical interiors · InterContinental Sydney Double Bay is now open...Read more