Style in furniture

to presume that, being notably small of stature, Napoleon dictated that his throne should be planned in proportion to his own frame; not being himself prepared to submit to even apparent subordination to wood and upholstery, even though that wood might be gilded with refined gold and the upholstery covered in the costliest products of the loom. Small as he was, he preferred to tower above his surroundings rather than to be lost amidst them.

Some writers would have us believe that Napoleon was never known to "take things easily" ; but I am in a position to present conclusive proof to the contrary. Endowed with almost superhuman energy, displaying a terrible capacity for work, turning night into day, and all but killing those who served under him by his constant demands upon their physical endurance, there came periods when even he could support the strain no longer, and had to seek bodily repose, though whether his mind ever enjoyed immunity from activity is open to question. But his attitude even when temporarily resting was characteristic of the really restless disposition of the man ; when settled down in either chair or sofa, or any other form of seat furnished with arms, over one or the other of those arms one of the imperial legs would be thrown sooner or later, if it was in any way possible to get it there. So strong was this idiosyncrasy with him that a special seat wras made —it is said from his own design—to enable him to indulge it to the full, and with the maximum degree of comfort. Whether the story respecting the authorship of the design be founded upon fact or not must be left open to question ; but that the seat itself really was used by Napoleon seems to be beyond dispute, and it now occupies a place of honour in the Palace of Fontainebleau, where I made the sketch for the drawing which appears in Fig. i, Plate II. It is exceptionally sensible and comfortable, providing a model from which the modern upholsterer would do well to take a hint more often when furnishing the club, smoke-room, or " den."

"EMPIRE" 273

Figure 1, Plate III., illustrates another " Empire" type of chair. The origin of its form, though that form is vastly different from the others shown here, is clearly "Classic," for it may be traced without difficulty to the old Roman chariots of the simpler description. Substitute two wheels for the legs and take away the arms, and there is the chariot ready for the horses and the arena.

In Fig. 3, Plate IV., we have a " Roman" form again, based on the ancient curule chairs, upon which the emperors used to take their ease when not reclining, and in which they were sometimes carried abroad. This particular seat is from the Throne Room at Fontainebleau, and its dimensions seem to suggest that, on State occasions at least, all present who were privileged to sit, had to be content with occupying a lower place in every sense of the word than that of the central and predominant figure.

While dealing with models which we know from existing evidence to have actually formed part of the personal surroundings of Napoleon at home, the two beds, Figs. 2 and 4, Plate IV., must come in for a share of consideration. That shown in Fig. 4 is indeed simple to severity, and is more suggestive of the rigours of camp life than of anything else; but the one above it speaks more of the royal splendour of the palace, though it also is severe, but with the severity of the palmiest days of the " Greek." It is beautiful in the chaste simplicity of its scrolls and perfect restraint in the employment of the most refined decorative detail.

We will next take a glance at the " Empire " table ; and in doing so we shall find that the top is almost invariably either circular or rectangular in form, is made either of wood or of some rare marble, and is supported by chimerical creatures inspired by the ancient sphinxes ; by " trusses," or legs, shaped to resemble the legs and paws of animals—generally of the lion—or by heavy, and severely simple, turning. Of the first class we have examples in Figs. 1 and 5, Plate I.; of the second

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