Everything About Louis XVI Furniture: Era, Style, Materials, Ornament and Characteristics
Louis XVI style is a style of architecture, furniture, art, and decorative. It saw the final phase of the baroque style and also the birth of French neoclassicism. Against the elaborate ornament of the preceding baroque period, the style was a reaction.
In the Palace of Versailles and other royal residences, cabinetmakers created superbly crafted desks and cabinets using inlays of fine woods, particularly mahogany, decorated with gilded bronze and mother of pearl.
The Louis XVI furniture era
The Louis XVI furniture era was a quite dramatic change, which was bringing on a more delicate and dainty appearance to the style of furniture.
Townhouses of large cities and ceremonial rooms were unfavored of small, rustic retreats. Spontaneous grace becomes more favored than fussy elegance. Furniture was shorn of rococo tendencies, superfluous ornament, and baroque excess. The floral bouquets were replaced them to seem artificial. A new heaviness was developed with restrained lines.
The basic configuration of commodes, desks, and small tables remained a lot the same as Louis XV style. Chairs had rigid backs with severe arms and straight fluted legs. Dining room tables were now extendable and most often round or oval and entered widespread use.
For solid-wood pieces, for carving wooden ornament, for the carcasses of marquetry pieces, and for certain chairs, oak was used. For seating and movable piece walnut, ash and burled walnut was used. Mahogany became more fashionable. Although in a darker cast, Marquetry of colored woods continued. Various fruitwoods were still used and Ebony came back into fashion. Lacquer and Martin, steel, Porcelain plaques, copper, and bronze fittings were used.
Straight lines, flat surfaces, and right angles were returned, and then moldings were thinner and more elegant. Like egg-and-dart, acanthus, laurel, and cornucopias, classical motifs were typical. As fluting and columns, architectural motifs were prevalent and also as ancient objects like vases and urns, human faces. Short garlands of flowers and foliage, pinecones and pomegranates were vegetal motifs.
A more linear and rectangular style was evolved in the structure of Louis XVI furniture by giving up the ostentatious curves and bows of the previous Louis styles. The legs were mostly straight, turned and fluted or turned and spiral. Although it was more naïve than that of the Brothers Adam, classicism returned to appear dainty and somewhat playful.
Following the Louis XIV and Louis XV eras, all the elements were generally fine and dainty. Ornament changed from the two previous periods in a dramatic manner. By straight borders or parallel borders, flat surfaces of the cabinets were often framed rather than ornament.
There was returned bisymmetric balance. With a departure from the previous eras, the colors tended toward the pastels with lots of neutrals. Actually, during this era, more furniture was painted than any other period. Definitely, the overall style is being dainty, feminine, and the pieces were smaller in many cases.
As in the two previous eras, the upholstery fabrics were mostly brocades, but with smaller and quieter designs.