This pair of Louis XIV style armchairs (“fauteuils”) were hand carved with walnut wood in France during the 1800’s. At some point after production, the wood was stripped, leaving the chairs with a unique weathered appearance. The chair backs and seat are covered with a white muslin, which is a plain weave cotton fabric that originated in Mosul, Iraq.
Louis XIV style chairs have a few characteristics that set them apart from later styles. The chairs often resembled thrones, with rectangular seat backs that are high and upright. It was the belief of Louis XIV that furnishing should reflect the power and wealth of his reign.
Armrests of Louis XIV chairs stretch to the end of the seat, which reiterated a Biblical verse from 1 Kings 10:19: “and there were stays on either side on the place of the seat.” The gently sloping armrests of our chairs terminate in volute scroll heads (sometimes called bec-de-corbin, or “raven’s beak”) that are formed from curled acanthus leaves. As with most Louis XIV chairs, the armrests sit on a console support that aligns directly with the legs. The supports are also shaped by scrolls of acanthus leaves. The front feet are constructed in the same manner, while the back feet are simple S-scrolls (without the acanthus motif).
The H-stretcher traces back to Louis XIII and is indicative of early Louis XIV. In the latter part of the period, chairs were often produced with X-stretchers. The stretchers on our chairs are S-scrolls joined by a shaped block. The top side of the stretchers have a recession, mimicking the grooves of the curled acanthus leaves.
In the time of Louis XIV, the use of armchairs signaled privilege and were reserved exclusively for honored guests. Today, our pair of 19th century stripped walnut armchairs with white muslin upholstery can be enjoyed by all.
CONDITION: Good antique condition with minor losses to wood and age separations. Traces of old wood worm and light staining to fabric. Remnants of old finish visible.