Louis Quatorze had an extreme effect on French culture and antique furniture in particular. He came to the throne in 1643 at the age of five and was there until he died in 1715.
Although Quatorze furniture is not to everyone’s taste, Louis, guided by artist Charles le Brun, proceeded to furnish his palace at Versailles with fabulous furniture made at the famous factory of Gobelins. Techniques such as boullework perfected by André Charles Buhl were refined during this period where wooden surfaces were overlaid with tortoiseshell, red dye and brass. Metalwork, particularly gilded bronze or ormolu increasingly continued to play a large part in decorating furniture during this period and wood was often so heavily gilded that it took on the appearance of gold. Philp compares the French bourgeoisie who mimicked the aristocracy at the time to Victorian middle class households who also filled their homes with large impressive pieces of furniture.
With the accession of Louis Quinze there was a reaction against the heavy ostentatious styling of Quatorze at Versailles. The reaction began during the Régence period before Louis Quinze came to the throne when his uncle was regent. The much simpler styling introduced by cabinet maker Charles Cressent moved away from the heavy architectural lines of the Baroque to much lighter curvaceous furniture using fine veneers and ormolu instead of boullework, and French Rococo styling was born.
Furniture from these periods is rare and very expensive but fine quality Victorian and French revivals can be found. When looking for antique cabinets in Lancashire , local antique dealers will be able to advise you.
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