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Antique French Régence Period Carved Walnut Chaise Longue circa 1720

A rare Régence period (1715-1723) walnut chaise longue from France circa 1720. The chaise longue revolutionized life among the upper classes in early eighteenth century France with its sensuous shape and level of comfort that had not been seen before. During the reign of Louis XIV (1642-1715) furniture was designed and interiors were furnished according to a strict protocol whose goal was to reflect the magnificence of the aristocracy. Stately and imposing were the best adjectives to describe the furnishings seen in all the royal residences. Everybody took their cues for decorating from the royal court and even if you lived far away from Paris cabinet makers in the provinces were aware of these designs through drawings and engravings. But by the time of the Sun King's death the eighteenth century was well underway and there was a desire for comfort and ease that was overwhelming. This chaise longue is constructed of solid walnut and features eight evenly placed and balanced legs. The four legs at the four corners are all set at a fourty five degree angle from the seat as they were to be seen from all directions whereas the two inner legs on each side face directly outward. All eight of the legs are connected by a series of curved stretchers with a curvaceous line. These stretchers were a continuation of Louis XIV period furniture and disappeared by 1740 when Louis XV was on the throne. The use of these stretchers is one indication that this is a piece from the Regence period. Another clue is the pattern and placement of the carved details. The crest rail on the back of the top is a lovely scallop shell directly in the centre and flanked by a symmetrical flourish on either side. A variation of this design is also carved into the seat rail between each leg. Please notice the major carving seen at the end of the chaise whose scale balances the carving on the crest rail. Each leg also is adorned with lavish carving employing scrolls and flourishes but all once again very symmetrical in balance. The two arms are also beautifully carved and follow the elegant profile seen in the legs. The choice of the artisan to place the carved decoration on this chaise in a balanced and proportionate fashion directly relates to the previous generations of furniture created while Louis XIV reigned. Balance, symmetry, pleasing proportions, a continuity from year to year in architecture, furniture and furnishings all contributed to the respect and veneration accorded to the ruler of the most powerful ruler of a Western nation ever seen. All eight of the legs possess the new cabriole leg shape but the carving harkens back to an earlier time. As mentioned before the stretchers will disappear by the 1740's and the carving will become asymmetrical and introduce the exuberance of the Rococo. The term chaise longue literally translates as "chair with length" and invites the sitter to actually recline in ease during the waking hours. This was a welcome relief from the rigidity of formal life at court and appeared in private dwellings where solitude and small gatherings of close friends were conducted. This was a new piece of furniture not seen before the beginning of the eighteenth century although we take it for granted and assume it has always been around. There is a wonderful sculptural quality to this chaise longue with the movement of the legs and stretchers and arms and back combining to create a sense of movement even when standing still. This chaise longue is a perfect example of superior French craftsmanship that remains relevant almost three centuries after its original creation.

# BH652

DIMENSIONS

67.00" w x 26.00" d x 36.00" h

170.18cm w x 66.04cm d x 91.44cm h

Sale Price $13,007.40 Regular Price $18,582.00

A rare Regence period (1715-1723) walnut chaise longue from France circa 1720. The chaise longue revolutionized life among the upper classes in early eighteenth century France with its sensuous shape and level of comfort that had not been seen before. During the reign of Louis XIV (1642-1715) furniture was designed and interiors were furnished according to a strict protocol whose goal was to reflect the magnificence of the aristocracy. Stately and imposing were the best adjectives to describe the furnishings seen in all the royal residences. Everybody took their cues for decorating from the royal court and even if you lived far away from Paris cabinet makers in the provinces were aware of these designs through drawings and engravings. But by the time of the Sun King's death the eighteenth century was well underway and there was a desire for comfort and ease that was overwhelming. This chaise longue is constructed of solid walnut and features eight evenly placed and balanced legs. The four legs at the four corners are all set at a fourty five degree angle from the seat as they were to be seen from all directions whereas the two inner legs on each side face directly outward. All eight of the legs are connected by a series of curved stretchers with a curvaceous line. These stretchers were a continuation of Louis XIV period furniture and disappeared by 1740 when Louis XV was on the throne. The use of these stretchers is one indication that this is a piece from the Regence period. Another clue is the pattern and placement of the carved details. The crest rail on the back of the top is a lovely scallop shell directly in the centre and flanked by a symmetrical flourish on either side. A variation of this design is also carved into the seat rail between each leg. Please notice the major carving seen at the end of the chaise whose scale balances the carving on the crest rail. Each leg also is adorned with lavish carving employing scrolls and flourishes but all once again very symmetrical in balance. The two arms are also beautifully carved and follow the elegant profile seen in the legs. The choice of the artisan to place the carved decoration on this chaise in a balanced and proportionate fashion directly relates to the previous generations of furniture created while Louis XIV reigned. Balance, symmetry, pleasing proportions, a continuity from year to year in architecture, furniture and furnishings all contributed to the respect and veneration accorded to the ruler of the most powerful ruler of a Western nation ever seen. All eight of the legs possess the new cabriole leg shape but the carving harkens back to an earlier time. As mentioned before the stretchers will disappear by the 1740's and the carving will become asymmetrical and introduce the exuberance of the Rococo. The term chaise longue literally translates as "chair with length" and invites the sitter to actually recline in ease during the waking hours. This was a welcome relief from the rigidity of formal life at court and appeared in private dwellings where solitude and small gatherings of close friends were conducted. This was a new piece of furniture not seen before the beginning of the eighteenth century although we take it for granted and assume it has always been around. There is a wonderful sculptural quality to this chaise longue with the movement of the legs and stretchers and arms and back combining to create a sense of movement even when standing still. This chaise longue is a perfect example of superior French craftsmanship that remains relevant almost three centuries after its original creation.