How To Identify A Real French Louis Xv Style Chair Antique Victorian Furniture – Getting to Know Rococo

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Antique Victorian Furniture – Getting to Know Rococo

Serious collectors and dealers of antique Victorian furniture are inevitably familiar with the Rococo style of design. The Victorian Rococo style of furniture, sometimes called Louis XV or Louis Fifteen, began to gain enormous popularity in England during the 1840s.

The Rococo style in general, which went far beyond furniture in architecture, painting and other forms of art, originated in France during the previous century and spread from there to other parts of Europe. In England during the 18th century, Rococo was considered “French taste” and did not take hold as an architectural style. However, the incomparable Thomas Chippendale adapted and refined the furniture style and caused a transformation in English furniture design. Some link the development of Rococo in England to the revived interest in Gothic architecture.

As it developed in the Victorian era of the 19th century, it is often called Neo-Rococo or Rococo Revival, as it was a revived style from the previous century. In furniture it became very popular and proved to be the most lasting influence on furniture design of the Victorian era. In the 1840s and especially in the following decades, almost every furniture maker in England made Rococo pieces.

The furniture was visually appealing and comfortable. Sculpting and displaced lines were delicate but usually not exaggerated or overbearing. Features of the furniture included curved legs, cartouche backs with rounded outlines and carvings of flowers, leaves, grapes and birds.

Naturalistic carvings are a predominant feature, and anyone involved with the furniture of this period becomes familiar with them. I recently saw a rococo sofa that had birds and a bird’s nest full of eggs carved into its beautiful wooden frame. Like Victorian literature, this may not be for everyone. But for those of us who are taken by it, there is no need to explain our admiration.

The furniture makers bent and shaped the wood. Preferred woods included mahogany and rosewood. Side chairs were frequent, and antique victorian furniture Today’s collectors looking for Victorian chairs in particular find Rococo side chairs to be among the most desirable—attractive, comfortable, and collectible.

The sofas were of various lengths. A popular style of sofa had a rounded medallion in the center of the back, with carving at the top repeated on each side further down the frame. The graceful love seats had upholstered wooden frames and were serpentine shaped with characteristic natural carvings on the back and arms. Also popular during the Victorian Rococo era were husband and wife upholstered chairs. The husband’s chair had arms and a high back. The woman’s chair was a little lower and armless.

A famous American cabinetmaker who worked in the Victorian Rococo style was John Henry Belter. Belter perfected lamination techniques and became famous for a number of design features, including his preference for rosewood, his foliage, fruit and flowers worked into the intricate details of his designs, his ability to bend the wood into serpentine contours, and rounded and their beds with headboards that rose well above the height of the feet. Belter’s shop was in New York City, but he shipped his work to all parts of the country. So keep an eye out for Belter’s exquisite work no matter where you are.

Here is one last piece of information. The word rococo is a combination of the French word rocaille, which some translate as shell, but also contains the sense of loose rock. It indicates the characteristic curve of the Rococo style. The word also contains the Italian word baroque, which is our baroque. The Baroque period was known for its complexity and elaboration.

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