Louis XV and the history


Louis XV (1710-1774)

louis xv style

Louis XV

Louis XV (1710-1774)

Louis XV
Louis XV, 1748, by Maurice-Quentin of the Tower.
Louis XV is king de France of 1715 to 1774. He was called “the beloved”, but its failures contributed to the crisis which related to the French revolution.

Louis was born in Versailles on February 15th, 1710. The five years age, it succeeds his grandfather Louis XIV, as king de France. The duke of Orleans becomes regent. After the death of the regent, Louis was strongly influenced by his former tutor, Andre-Hercules de Fleury, who, later, it created Prime Minister. Assured Fleury relatively stable government for next the 17 years. In 1725, Louis was married in Maria Leczczynska, the girl of the deposed king of Poland.

After the death of Fleury, Louis took only one sporadic interest within the government. He was strongly influenced by a series of favorites, in particular his mistresses Madam de Pompadour and, after the death of Pompadour in 1764, the Countess of Barry.

In 1733, France implied itself in the Polish war of succession, in an attempt to restore the queen of the father to the Polish throne. The attempt failed, but acquired France the duchy of Lorraine.

In 1740, at the time of the war of succession of Austria, allied France in Great Britain against Prussia and Austria. French gained a series of victories military and occupied the Austrian Netherlands. However, Louis then turned over on the territory of Austria, for which he was greeted abroad, but strongly criticized in France.

In the Seven Year old war (1756-1763) of alliances were reversed, and the French fought with their enemy length-standing Austria against Prussia and Great Britain. The defeat of France which involved the loss of the majority as of its colonies in Great Britain, thus marking a French weak point of prestige.

In the years 1760, a new minister, the duke of Choiseul, succeeded in restoring a certain stability in France. However, extravagances of the court of Louis, the Grand Prix of decades of war and the defeat of attempts at reform on the left monarchy and the government weakened by the end of its Louis reign. He died in Versailles on May 10th, 1774 and was replaced by his grandson who became Louis XVI.

Style Louis XV


The style Louis XV is, before influencing all arts of its time, a pure creation of the cabinetmakers and more particularly the result of a major technical projection in the manufacture of the seats. It is the perfect control of the assemblies and the resistance of the wood which makes it possible to remove the heavy spacers, to reduce the carcasses and to dare the curved feet.

It is almost always an technical innovation which puts an end to the repetition traditional styles, which makes it possible to explore new forms and which starts the appearance of a stylistic revival. That is particularly true for the Gothic style, the style Louis XV and the Art nouveau. Three currents characterized by their curved lines and the acquisition of the control of a material: stone for the first, wood for the second, metal for the third.

The inventors of the style Louis XV are true creators with the modern direction of the term, which revolutionizes the way of considering furniture and interior decoration.


The style Louis XV develops primarily in the second quarter of the XVIIIe century (of approximately 1730 until 1760). He announces himself already in the R3egence style and is prolonged thereafter especially in province, where many regional styles are born under the reign from Louis XV (in particular in Provence, Bresse and Normandy). He only coincides very roughly with the long reign of the monarch: 1710-1715-1774. Very daring at its time, he knows a renewal of success in the pieces of furniture produced at the end of the XIXe century and continuous to inspire a rather conventional and insipid production since.

The undulation of the style Louis XV fact places little by little at the rigid majesty of the style Louis XVI during the following period characterized by the style trasition.

Preceding or preexistent styles

The style louis XV succeeds the R3egence style which in is an outline by the progressive abandonment of the traditional inspiration which prevailed since the rebirth, and which is let try by the baroque or roccoco Italian.


Louis XV reaches the throne with his majority, attack at the thirteen years age, in 1722 and it succeeds the Duke of Orleans then, regent of the crown since the death of Louis XIV, in 1715 the king and especially his wife maintain a many court very quickly and are surrounded artists and craftsmen

The ostentation of this court lasts until in the years 1760, decade which marks the end of the style Louis XV. It should be noted that under the reign of Louis XV, the punch of Jurande of the Parisian carpenter-cabinetmakers – J.M.E. – becomes obligatory (1743).


Main features

The style Louis XV is a female style, and this for several reasons. It is initially a reaction to the style Louis XIV in which furniture was to release a male power and to force the respect on the point to become about it crushing. Contrary, furniture Louis XV is charming, elegant, light and invites more to the relaxation and futilities of the life of the court. Moreover, furniture Louis XV is generally ordered by or for the women who took an important place at the court and make authority as regards decoration.

It is also characterized by a search of intimacy and comfort: in parallel, the parts are done smaller and more cordial, the less high ceilings, the woodworks are painted tons some soft (domination of let us tons pink and cream, colors pastel) and hide many wall cupboards and hidden doors of small size.

Lastly, it is marked by a certain number of innovations:


The pieces of furniture Louis XV are carved and assembled bronzes in the style rubble, i.e. of shells opening out in foliages provided and very detailed and finishing themselves in rollings up (for example at the end of the balustrades of armchairs convertibles). The human and animal figures are abandoned with the profit of the vegetable world. Figurative marquetries which had triumphed under Louis XIV are initially abandoned with the profit of frisages where the beauty of the gasoline (amaranth, glossed, violet and bois de rose…) prevails, then they return to the mode as from 1745 with representations of bouquets of flower and/or musical instruments (on the furniture of court). They then are very provided and very coloured.

The seats are furnished with flowered silk trade, and their wood is often entirely gilded.


Pieces of furniture emblematic of the style Louis XV

The furniture of court under the reign of Louis XV is composed primarily of small pieces of furniture. The pieces of furniture manufactured are then:

In province, the low dresser triumphs in the dining rooms and becomes in its various regional forms, such as the dresser with slipping arlésien, a piece of furniture emblematic of the period.

New pieces of furniture


With regard to the carcasses, the use of the oak starts to spread and supplant the fir tree very much used under Louis XIV. In province, other “noble” gasolines prevail, like the walnut tree in Provence and the wooden fruit-lofts; the pieces of furniture carried out in gasolines more frustrate are painted.

Platings diversify to extend the color range. One gives up ebony with the gasoline profit more chatoyantes: violet and bois de rose (the plated pieces of furniture of time of these gasolines parraissent often dull today, but that is due to the ravages of time, because their original color was very marked), purple wood, boxwood, pear tree (tinted or natural), plum tree, glossed

As for the seats, they are often out of sawn timber, in particular in drowning, wild cherry tree, and mahogany tree (even if this gasoline lends itself rather badly to the carcasses, because the mahogany tree is breakable). It are generally painted or entirely gilded.

Techniques and tools

The realization of new forms imposes new tools. One invents the wastring to be able to carry out the bent “feet Louis XV” and panels (let us note that it is the last tool of to be invented cabinet work and that the only evolutions of the tools since then are mechanization then the electrification of this already complete range of tools)

In the same way, of novel methods are imagined to plate the bent panels which have a curve in two plans, which prevents from preparing marquetry flat.

In the field of the seat, cane-bottoming remains the technique which brings the most comfort, but for esthetic reasons one often prefers to him a base of hair and tended wool of gibe (the spring will appear in the trimmings of seat only starting from the beginning of the XIXe century).

Carpenters and Cabinetmakers of time Louis XV


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