Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Louis XV? Louis XVI? What’s all the fuss about I can’t tell the difference!

When I was small and my father tossed around the words Louis XV and XVI I have to confess to thinking they were the same thing. Only when I looked did I realise there are significant differences in the style of furniture, and for those that are looking to create a certain ‘look’ in their home it’s important to remember the difference. Lets start with Louis XV...

Louis XV is one of my favourite styles of furniture, with its curved ‘cabriole’ legs and elaborate carving and detail. I was doing some reading the other day to improve my history knowledge on the style that I so love.

Louis himself ruled as king of France from 1715 until his death in 1774 and his reign saw great prosperity for the wealthy. Not surprising then that the furniture from this period is so incredible. I was particularly pleased to read that womens power increased significantly during this time, and the result was that their influence was felt both in the court and in furniture design.

So how do you tell a Louis XV piece? Well you can basically follow a few simple rules...

Look out for:

- Gorgeous curves (cabriole leg) were used readily;
- Inlaid marquetry and hand painting;
- Intricate carving;
- Motifs of shells, ribbons and acanthus leaves;
- Gilt and ormalu (gilded bronze) mounts.

Happy hunting!

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