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Evolution of French Decorative Arts: Louis XIV

The monarchs of France undeniably knew how to decorate, and their styles have stood the test of time. Throughout the reigns of the French kings, some of the most well-known decorative arts and furniture styles emerged - styles that you can find at Négrel Antiques! These styles set each era apart from the other, beginning with Louis XIV of the House of Bourbon.

One does not earn the title “Sun King” for being lackluster. If you have yet to visit the halls of Versailles, enjoy these photos of the grandiose hallways and rooms filled with gilded furniture and mirrors to get an idea of its flamboyant glamour.

The Louis XIV style, a period known for the classical baroque style of furniture and decorative arts, prevailed between 1643 and 1715. We love this indulgent, feminine fashion and richly textured upholstery which gives any room a most luxurious feel. Feast your eyes on some of the eye-catching pieces from Louis XIV’s reign that we love:

Boulle marquetry is synonymous with the Louis XIV style. André Charles Boulle was the Sun King’s ébéniste. As the king's royal cabinetmaker, his technique for inlaying intricate designs into his furniture offers a unique elegance that captivate us. You can see the splendid intricacies and richness of materials in some of the pieces below!

Boulle’s work can also be seen in armoires, gueridons, and desks of the period. Oak, walnut and fruit woods were frequently used to construct the king's furniture which were then elevated by high quality marquetry and moldings.

Along with Boulle’s marquetry, another defining trait of Louis XIV’s style is the upholstered armchair. The entire back of the chair was upholstered with rich textures exclusive to the high class. It’s hard not to feel like royalty when sitting in a fully upholstered armchair.

We may be in the 21st Century, but the influential period of Louis XIV’s 72-year reign offers a variety of unique styles that anyone can integrate into their homes today!

posted on 4/22/2019