The Chairs of Kings : Louis XVI, XVXIV

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We have all seen these “Louis-​​Style” chairs repeat­edly over the years; how­ever, do you know the his­tory and dif­fer­ences between the styles?  Here is a quick Cliff­s­Notes style ver­sion of how time has influ­enced the royal seating.



As Shown Above : XVI : Stella Dining Chair — Taupe Velvet ; XV : Orleon Arm Chair — Noir ; XIV : Roseville Side Chair — Mink

Thou shalt not be afraid to infuse classic or neo-​​classic Louis-​​Style Chairs in thou home.  Begin­ning from the latest design and working back to the earliest :

Louis XVI (1774–1792) : The fluted style legs with carved straight lines are influ­enced by the Roman and Gre­cian columns.  Whether a rounded or rec­tan­gular back, you can always spot this neo-​​classic style by the legs.  Flo­rals are banded by geo­metric pat­terns for a sophis­ti­cated bal­ance.  It was during this period that chairs were first designed strictly for orna­mental rea­sons.  The uphol­stery tech­nique and expo­sure of wood frame did not change much from the Louis XV period.

Louis XV (1715–1774) : Nature motifs, lavish woods, lac­quers, and hand-​​painting were all impor­tant ele­ments of this era.  The main things to look for are curved legs, medal­lions, and ornate details.  This style is com­posed of con­tin­uous curves while the Louis XVI chair is more angular with at least straight legs if not more.  The most typ­ical chair style is the bergère, a very wide low and deep arm chair.  A com­fort­ably angled back makes for the per­fect occa­sional chair in guest rooms, offices and occa­sional seating areas.

Louis XIV (1643–1715) : Where it all began.  The King who built his chateau, The Palace of Ver­sailles, as a tes­ta­ment to his love of the arts.  He declared depart­ments within the gov­ern­ment for archi­tec­ture, painting, the gar­dens, and cab­inet making.  This era designed the classic style of roy­alty.  Seeing as he had depart­ments of the arts, it makes sense this is where the orig­inal “Louis Chair” was born.  Tapered baluster-​​shaped legs with H or X-​​shaped stretchers serve as the base to a heavy uphol­stered wide seat with a high back.  Large and regal enough to sup­port head­dresses and room for two.  The future XV and XVI chairs do not bal­ance in com­par­ison to this hefty throne-​​like design, but they do carry the rich­ness of def­i­n­i­tion and detail.

Check out our New Classic Inte­riors Book for more ideas on how to place a Louis Chair into your home


Mix these antiq­ui­ties with mid-​​century modern to create a more tran­si­tional feel.  Use for seating in the office, dining room, living room or bed­room.  They are func­tional and high-​​style.

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