The most common woods for a Louis XV style furniture are oak, walnut, and beech. They are polished, natural, lacquered or painted with soft colors (white, pink, blue, lilac, light green) sometimes with several tones and fillets. Amaranth and violet wood, solid or veneered mahogany, plum, and ash for the less beautiful furniture are also often found. Carved and gilded wood is still very fashionable. Marquetry and veneer are still applied a lot, the panels are framed with colored wood bands and nets, geometric patterns are often reproduced. The marquetry uses woods of different colors and forms real decorative compositions: vases of flowers, scenes, characters, garlands, bouquets...
Absence of symmetry. It is a rich decoration inspired by the Regency style (chinoiseries) and the rocaille. The main motifs: the shell, asymmetrical, the acanthus leaf, intertwined foliage, birds, bouquets, fruits, all the attributes of love. The "rocaille" motifs are often extravagant, tormented, asymmetrical, inspired especially by certain shells. The chinoiseries: mandarins, magots, peach trees, landscapes, statues with characters; the cartouches: winged shells with two intertwined quivers, garlands of flowers; the head of a woman framed with "rocaille" and flowers; many flowers: falls, rolled flowers, small flowers replacing the Louis XIV shell on the seats. The bronzes and the coppers are very employed for the locks, the ends of the feet, the angles, the edges; the reasons are the same ones as those of the carved wood. The mouldings are light, cut and curved. The marbles are grey, red, pink, green, orange or blue.
Detail of a Louis XV style desk in oak and gilded bronzes
The legs of all furniture, tables and seats are made of two superimposed and opposed sections forming an S. They are graceful and light, usually finished with a wooden or metal shoe or a small vertical foot.
Detail of the base of a Louis XV style chest of drawers
Louis XV style desk in marquetry of precious wood decorated with flowers
Furniture and art objects typical of the Louis XV style
Flat desks are rectangular with rounded corners. Brought back to their first use, they must leave room for study. The Louis XV style desks are large, with a marquetry top, a doe foot base, bronze ornaments on the corners, on the locks, on the edges of the drawers and on the feet. They generally have three drawers: a straight one in the center, and two others on the sides that follow the shape of the belt. The desks are often made of oak and veneered with rosewood. There are also cylinder desks (appeared around 1750), desks with back of donkey of the Capuchin desks, and the secretaries of lady.
Decoration of a Louis XV style mirror
The mirror is made of mercury, the gilded wooden frame is slender and elegant, it often adopts curves and ornaments that recall nature (leaves, flowers, ivy...). The mirror is an ideal object to create an asymmetry in the ornaments.
Detail of a Louis XV style chandelier
The chandeliers are imposing, they are used to light large rooms, they are full of ornaments and decorations inspired by nature. Often made of gilded bronze, it is also covered with glass and crystal beads and transparent decorations.
Louis XV style sofa in gilded wood and red velvet
Chairs and armchairs
The chairs, like the armchairs, often made of beech or walnut, are painted in light colors or gilded. The seat is trapezoidal, the backrest is violoné and scalloped at the top and bottom, the legs are in the form of a doe foot supported on a small wooden dice, and are sometimes decorated with rocaille motifs, and often caned. The armrests are upholstered with cuffs and rest on recessed consoles slightly upholstered. They do not extend the feet. As for the mirrors, the ornaments are made with lightness and asymmetry, to recall the shapes of natural objects.
Louis XV style chest of drawers
The chests of drawers
The Louis XV style chests of drawers are made of mahogany, walnut or rosewood, inlaid, varnished or lacquered, covered with marble with curved edges. They are decorated with gilded and chiseled bronzes. The two most frequent forms are the following:
- The chest of drawers with high and arched legs, with two drawers on top of each other, fine and elegant;
- The chest of drawers with low and squat legs, with several drawers, much more massive.
- The chests of drawers are called: tomb, Regency (very bulging, with three drawers), religious (small and narrow) or console.
The famous cabinetmakers of the Louis XV period
The first stamps were those of the cabinetmakers David Roentgen; Georges Jacob; Gonthière; Jean-François Leleu; Louis Dufour; J. Avisse; Cresson; Louis Delanois; Bernard; Boudin; Dubois; Delorme (lacquered furniture, marquetry), Dumoulin (lacquered chests of drawers in the Rocaille style), Cressent; Gaudreau Joseph; Lacroix; Migeon; J.F. Oeben; Peridies. The signature of the master cabinetmaker is preceded by J.M.E (initials of the words "juré maître ébéniste").
The signature is generally placed under the marble for the chests of drawers and secretaries, the seats are signed on the back or inside the frame.
Stamp of Georges Jacob (1739 - 1814)