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The Royal Furnitures and Their History

Aug 17, 2007
Sometime the emergence of new designs could coincide with that of the personal designs of the rulers like that of King Louis XVI. The variety in tastes of the patrons sometimes gives birth to new designs. The non-accessibility of these furniture gives ways to fake products of the original because sometime the prices of the original were not affordable for everyone to possess them. But sometimes it is very difficult to identify the name of the makers.

Louis XVI
A style that coincided roughly with the reign of this king: 1774 to 1793, and that is associated with a predominance of straight lines in place of curves. Tables and cabinets usually had square instead of rounded corners, and legs were square or rounded in place of cabriole. Furniture continued to be veneered and fitted with ormolu mounts, and many pieces were decorated with plaques of Sevres porcelain; some of it in blue and white to imitate Wedgwood ware. There was a revival of interest in Boulle work, more of this was made to fill the demand, and it can be distinguished only with difficulty from that made earlier. Chairs no longer had the cabriole leg, but usually oval backs and turned legs; in both this and the preceding period they were often upholstered in tapestry.

Empire
Following the luxurious tastes of the eighteenth century, there was a revival of comparative austerity when the excesses of the Revolution finally died away. Instead of the richly mounted and colorful marquetry, the fashion was for plain mahogany with perhaps an inlay of brass and restrained ormolu mounts. The mahogany used was often of a darker colour and more oven grain than that favored in England, but there are a number of similarities between the Empire style in France and the Regency. Chairs, in particular, often had the sabre leg in both countries. It must be emphasized that old French furniture was costly when it was made, and has always maintained a high price.

During the past hundred years, those who could not afford the genuine article bought copies, which were made to sell at reasonable prices and, apart from these copies, which were not made with intent to deceive, it has paid the unscrupulous to spend time and money in making fakes. Remembering the years that have passed since most of it was made, some two centuries, and the fact that much was destroyed and damaged during the Revolution, it is surprising that so many fine examples have survived. A lot of these have been repaired skillfully: lost veneer replaced, lost tops of tables restored, cupboards converted into drawers, and so forth. Thus, with French furniture as much as with any other, the collector must be very cautious indeed, and the subject needs careful study before its qualities can be appreciated and assessed.

With English furniture it is rarely possible to name the maker unless bills or other definite evidence has been preserved. Only very occasionally is a cabinet-maker's label found pasted inside a piece. French craftsmen, however, had the custom of marking their productions (or the majority of them) with a steel stamp bearing their name or initials. This was followed, when applicable, by a monogram of the letters J M E, standing for jurande des menuisiers-ebenistes; showing that the article was up to the standard required by the Corporation of French cabinet-makers and had been inspected by their appointed jury. This custom, also, has had the attention of the fakers, and more pieces bear the alleged stamp of famous craftsmen than they could ever have had the time to make.
The following is a very brief list of the more eminent French cabinet-makers of the eighteenth century, of whom there were nearly 1,000 working in 1790:
J. H. Reisener
L. Boudin
Bernard Van Reisen Burgh
P. Russell (Stamped B.V.R.B.)
J. F. Oeben
D. Rontgen
Martin Carlin
C. C. Saunier
Roger Vandercruse Lacroix
A. Weisweiler (Stamped R.V.L.C.)
G. Jacob (Specialized in making chairs)

As you may be aware of the revolution in France and England. These revolutions had damaged many of the valuable furniture of both the royal and the common man. But many of the damaged had been skillfully repaired and restored. And due to the fake ones it is very difficult to identify the correct craftsmen.
About the Author
Mitch Johnson is a regular writer for http://www.kitchen-plans-n-designs.com/ , http://www.comfortermadeeasy.info/ , http://www.bathroomaccessoriesmadeeasy.info/
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