The brief discussion of the few French styles with which 1 have elected to deal in these pages must be prefaced by a word or two of explanation, which, I sincerely trust, will be most carefully read and noted by all who may be disposed to regard my endeavours from the critical point of view. It has been explained fully in the introduction that, in preparing this chapter and the three which follow, it has not for one moment been my intention to attempt to present anything in the least approaching a full and complete history of the French work we are now about to pass in review; to do so within the comparatively narrow limits imposed is altogether out of the question. Indeed, to each individual style many volumes might be, nay, have been, devoted by other and more able writers, with whose productions I do not propose to enter into competition.
The introduction of French work at all in a treatise the main object of which is to convey a knowledge of style in English furniture may at the first glance appear to be out of place—at least to those who have not already made a study of the subject—and calls for some explanation; but that it is essential to the proper carrying out of my purpose, a perusal of these pages will plainly show. It must be understood, therefore, that the student whose requirements demand an exhaustive analysis and history of French cabinet work of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and early nineteenth centuries, must by no means look for it here. Of books to furnish him with all the information he may require there is already an embarras de choix. French writers generally, and historians particularly, have delighted to do honour to their great artists
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