Louis XVI Style refers to the style defined by the period in France under the reign of King Louis XVI (1760-1789) — the last French monarch before the Revolution.  Inspired by the discoveries of Pompeii and Herculaneum, this era saw a revival of Greek and Roman styles. Termed the goût grec when it emerged circa 1750, Louis XVI style reflects a reaction against the lavish stylings of the previous era. By the time of Louis XVI, there was a sharp movement away from the Rococo style, as curved lines and heavy ornamentation became unfashionable, giving way to clean, straight lines. Restrained, geometrical forms were preferred to the twirled, freehand designs of Rococo, and stylized references to classical Greek architecture were recaptured. Furniture and interiors were refined, sophisticated, calm and symmetrical.

Louis XV died in 1774, leaving the monarchy to his grandson, 19-year-old Louis XVI, and his Austrian wife, Marie-Antoinette. Louis was notoriously indecisive, and lacked the social polish of his predecessors. Marie-Antoinette was 14 in 1770, when she was brought over from Austria to be Louis XVI’s bride, a marriage intended to reinforce the new alliance between Austria and France (who had been at war as recently as 1743). Meanwhile, the ancient towns of Herculaneum and Pompeii, preserved under ash since Vesuvius’s volcanic eruption in AD 79, were unearthed in Italy in the 18th century. Archaeologists found an incredible amount of intact furniture there, and the spread of this authentic classical style launched a craze across Europe. The interest in ancient Rome and Greece was also related to new ideas about the role of government – these civilizations were a major inspiration first for the American revolutionaries – who were financially and militarily supported by Louis XVI – and then later for the French revolutionaries (in trying to weaken Britain, Louis helped seal his own fate). It was the perfect moment for Neoclassicism. Combining exciting archaeological discoveries with a backlash against the excesses of the Rococo style, a new moral and philosophical emphasis on simplicity, and a political interest in ancient Greece and Rome. 


















This style is known for its classical ornamentation and motifs. While the motifs of the natural world survived (garlands, urns, laurels, dolphins and eagles), they were paired with geometric designs. One of the popular woods of the period was mahogany, which had to be imported and was therefore used only for fine furniture. Instead of the cabriole leg of the Régence and Louis XV periods, a straight, tapered and (often) fluted leg was preferred. Case pieces, such as commodes and buffets, became more angular. Chairs of the period were fashioned in a wide variety of styles. The medallion and oval backed chairs are the most notable, although lyre or vase shaped backs were also common. Louis XVI is our favorite style to mix with other pieces. The clean lines and classic timeless details combine effortlessly with older as well as more modern contemporary styles. The motifs and forms used in Louis XVI furniture always adds classical elements to any design.

Louis XVI Style Bergeres


French Antique Louis XVI Period Benches


French Louis XVI Style Chest Of Drawers


French Antique Demilune Louis XVI Style Buffet

Louis XVI Style French Side Tables


Antique French Dining Chairs


Antique Demilune Louis XVI Buffet


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