The French know style, whether it's interior design or fashion. Think the fashionable capital Paris with it's cafes lining the streets, fine french cuisine, the wines Bordeaux, Burgundy and of course Champagne, romance in the air.....why would their furniture be any different? Rococo is the essence of a lot of antique french furniture and is perhaps the original shabby chic.
Ornate and elaborate, 18th Century Rococo also known as Louis XV or Louis Quinze, used shell like curves, oozing exuberance but quiet luxury. Taking it's name from the French rocaille and coquilles, meaning rock and shells, it is thought to refer to the shell designs which often appear in classic rococo styles. The designs are mostly asymmetrical and lucid, a move that was made against the symmetry of the prior Baroque style. Baroque furniture was known for it's symmetry and conforming to regulated design.
Plant and floral motifs were used in the designs, the acanthus leaf being the most commonly used. Gentle S and C scrolls, along with cabriole legs and scrolled feet were very popular. Comfort was important, and chair backs were often gently angled, with rounded ovals and shorter arm rests to accomodate a lady's full skirt.
During the period 1730 to 1760, particular items of furniture began to appear, roll top desks, chiffoniers, card tables. Feminine curves were often used in the design. Marquetry tables appeared and tables were often lacquered.
In contrast to the vivd colours and grandeur of Baroque period furniture, rococo was more intimate and lighthearted, with dominant colours being light pastels and ivory white. Gold was also a key colour in 18th Century French furniture. Rococo furniture was mostly freestanding, emphasizing the versatility of the pieces, which could be moved from room to room as the owner wished - this was very attractive after large, heavy pieces which were difficult to move.
Mirrors were used to enhance the sense of space and to flood the room with as much natural light as possible. British Rococo was less whimsical in appearance than the French, designers such as Thomas Chippendale used the curves and general feel to refine the style. Perhaps the most famous Chippendale design is the broad seated ribbonback chair with a cupid’s bow-style back rail. Furniture was mainly made of walnut or oak, but other woods such as ash, cherry, chestnut and plum were also occasionally used.
We stock a wide range of antique french furniture here at Kernow Furniture and have new stock arriving daily. Our range often contains various french styles including Regency / Regence Style, Empire Style, Louis XV, Louis XVI, Louis Phillippe, Charles X, Second Empire, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Country French furniture.