Louis XV – 1730 to 1770
|French Louis XV style side tables.|
Louis XV reigned over the “Golden Age” of French decorative style. His rule was characterized by peace and prosperity during which the “Age of Enlightenment” brought about intellectualism and increasing influence by women of the court. Because of this, Louis XV style furniture (also known as rococo) was exquisite with graceful, feminine lines.
|Louis XV style dining chairs|
While the Baroque style of Louis XIV was focused on symmetry, rococo favored the asymmetry that came from the Régence era. Fruit woods and rosewood took the place of darker woods. Wood would often be painted or lacquered. Extravagant marquetry and veneers were used as well as ornamental, gilded bronze. Many themes were used in the rococo style and decorative motifs included foliage, flowers, shells, fish, birds, vines, hearts, and ribbons. Parisian homes of this period had large crystal chandeliers and mantels with mirrored painted panels (trumeaux).
|Hand-carved Louis XV period buffet.|
Louis XV favored furniture suited to conversation. His chair maker (Jean-Baptiste Tilliard) created the bergère, a curved armchair with a low seat and an exposed wooded frame which was highly carved and often gilded. This elaborate decoration showed that the chair was meant to be free standing and movable rather than placed against a wall.
Other new pieces to appear in this period included the secrétaire (fall-front writing desk), table-à-écrire (writing table), and bureau-à-cylindre (roll-top desk).