A predominance of antique furniture has French names, which can be rather daunting for the novice antiques buyer. However the names of these pieces tend to dictate what they were mainly used for where a writing table would be an ‘escritoire’, a corner cupboard an ‘encoignures’ and an arm chair a ‘fauteuil’. A nice example of a piece of antique furniture named through association is the ‘caquetoire’ chair or conversation chair dating back many hundreds of years in its origins to the European and particularly French Renaissance. These are chairs on which groups of women particularly would sit and gossip together. Caquetoire actually comes from ‘caqueter’ which means ‘to chat’.
The chair itself is particularly designed for the large skirts that women wore in the 16th and 17th centuries where the back of the seat is narrower than the front. Women particularly tended to wear many petticoats to keep warm and the seat design accommodates this well. The chair is upright and period examples were generally made of walnut to allow for elaborate carving, and was joined via mortise and tenon rather than nailed and glued. Victorian revival examples of these chairs were often made of oak with carved panel backs, with rattan or planked seats and turned legs. There are also other more unusual Art Nouveau examples made in walnut with inlays of flowers and other organic designs of the period. Very few of the original early French Renaissance examples still remain today.
Anyone wanting more information on the caquetoire and antique chairs in Lancashire, Cumbria or the surrounding areas, should see a reputable antiques dealer who will be able to advise on their availability locally.
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