Style In Furniture

3 and 4, Plate I., Fig. 3, Plate II., and Fig. 6, Plate IV., be carefully studied, it will be apparent that, in planning them, the designer had not completely lost sight of the " Louis-Seize" chair, and was not able, try as he might, to keep clear of its lines, but there the resemblance ends. The proportions are different—much heavier generally; the detail is in no way related to that of the preceding style, so the whole structures are endowed with a character entirely different from that which charmed the refined tastes of Marie Antoinette. ^ For an " Empire" chair, that illustrated in Fig. 3, Plate I., is exceptionally light and graceful, and the shaping of the back is somewhat suggestive of the 44Greek" curve so popular amongst French designers of the period; but the massive arm-chair on the same plate (Fig. 4) is dignified enough to support the shade, or the body were it available, of Junius Brutus himself, passing sentence of death on his son Titus—an incident so ybeloved of Jacques Louis David. Here we have a strong reflection of the ancient Roman splendour, with its overpowering heaviness and confusing wealth of redundant detail. A careful observation of the arms will reveal the presence of the Imperial Eagle—in an embryonic state it is true. The front legs of the chair, I need not say, are 44 Louis-Seize " clothed in 44 Empire."

Figure 3, Plate II., as I have already suggested, illustrates another 44 Louis Seize" frame upon which the " Empire" mantle has fallen; in place of the dainty enrichment of the earlier style, we find the heavier 44 Roman" acanthus leaf, the "Classic" capital to the front legs, the bay, and the severe " Greek " scrolls surmounting the back. Fig. 6, Plate III., gives a very simple study in 44 Empire," and is most restrained so far as ornamentation goes, clearly revealing the "Greek" influence. Fig. 6, Plate IV., brings us nearer to the '¿Louis-Seize," though the turning of the front legs, instead of being diversified by members, presents one unbroken line, and the legs themselves, by their form and


Reference in Text

Page Fig. i. See 273

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