The Rococo Period (Louis XV)
(1723 – 1774)
By the time of Louis XV's reign the rather overbearing and studiously ornate Baroque furniture type of Louis XIV gradually fell out of favour and was replaced by what is called the Rococo. This is viewed by many as the highest point in French furniture design and has undergone numerous revivals over the subsequent centuries. Mid 18th century furniture in France is renowned for the most fine craftsmanship and attention to detail.
The major characteristics, in abstract terms, of the rococo style, or, Louis XV style, are lightness, assymetry, elegance, and the most exquisite and careful decorative accents. In more practical terms French rococo furniture sees great use of interlacing shell decoration, plant and flower motifs, C scrolls and S scrolls. The cabriole leg and scroll foot were refined and used a great deal.
There was far more concern with convenience and comfort which saw the making of smaller armchairs, sofas, and portable tables. Very large numbers of new furniture styles came into being, such as: chiffoniers, card tables, roll-top desks and ladies furniture: "Bonheur du jour" (Lady's Desk) and "Table à coiffer" (Dressing Table) - Woman became extremely important due to Madame de Pompadour (the mistress of King Louis) who had her own apartment at the Palace of Versailles and she encouraged King Louis XV to promote the true arts of architecture and furniture.