The History and Origin of the Rococo Furniture
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The History and Origin of the Rococo Furniture

After the reign of the baroque furniture design, a new design known as the ‘rococo’ was introduced in about 1730 in Paris and then in the rest of the Western world.

The world has never been static especially in the fields of arts and designs. Furniture designs in particular have passed through so many innovations with the introduction of multiple designs and renovation of old designs at every point in time. After the reign of the baroque furniture design, a new design known as the ‘rococo’ was introduced in about 1730 in Paris and then in the rest of the Western world. The rococo design was more of intricate and delicate crafting with wood than the previous emphasis on architectural ornamentation which was employed in the baroque design.

Rococo sedan chair with doll on flickr by A Journey Round My Skull

The French rococo

Rococo furniture design began in France during the reign of Louis XIV and flourished during the reign of Louis XV. Being the origin of the design, the French had great influence on the design and their pieces exhibited complex and twisting patterns that had curves almost in all directions. They produced elegant and beautiful pieces with detailed knowledge and expertise on the use of veneer. The designs were mostly framed with ‘ormolu’ (gilded bronze) and the columnar legs of the baroque were replaced with animal-form legs. The intricacy of the curved designs of the animal-form legs denotes their expertise in the rococo design.

My "rococo" bed and night tables on flickr by ~ggvic~

The English rococo

The English rococo took a little shift from the French design. The English cabinet makers designed the ‘cabriole’ (a curving leg tapering into a decorative foot) for chairs, tables and chests. There were diversified designs of furniture in England at this time; some chose to follow designs that were classical and tilted towards the architectural style called the ‘Palladian’ in which Renaissance designs of the Italian 16th-century architect Andrea Palladio were reinvented to suit the 18th Century England. The English cabinet makers and those they influenced handled wood with an appreciation of their characteristic traits. The English cabinet makers were more concerned about creating the rococo feelings and effects using paints to achieve the effects of the inlays and the ‘ormolu’. Cabinet makers in Europe and other parts of the world chose this pattern because it was cheaper than the detailed work and the expensive materials employed in the French rococo. The London cabinetmaker William Vile, who was employed by the Crown in the 1750s and 1760s, made some classical furniture along with rococo work. In the ‘The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker’s Director (1754)’, a book of furniture designs written by London cabinetmaker Thomas Chippendale, he presented the English interpretation of the rococo design and explained other forms of the design from other nations.

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Comments (1)
Ranked #1 in Art & Art History

Excellent discussion of Rococo, thanks.