The Louisquinze

the State factories at Sèvres, and private ateliers, were more fully occupied than ever in conceiving and producing beautiful creations for their luxury-loving patrons. The impetus given to the cultivation of the applied arts during the preceding reign—the underlying reasons for, and conditions of, which have been gone into at some length in the last chapter—was still bearing rich fruit, though the growth, character, and flavour of that fruit had changed most materially ; and never was the cabinet maker more prolific in ideas than at the time of which I am now writing. So vast was the output, and so varied its description, that to illustrate here even one-thousandth part of all that was done is not to be dreamed of. We shall only be able to glance at leading characteristics, and to acquire such knowledge as we can of salient features which will enable us to be in a position to explain why certain forms are styled " Louis-Quinze," and to recognise at once any piece that partakes of the chief elements of that mode.

The designers who were responsible for the inception of the " Louis-Quinze," had commenced to tire of the straight line, and of rectangular forms generally. They argued, probably, that as there is not a single rectangle, straight line, or even "compass line/' in the human form, and particularly in the female form in its perfection, which in those days above all was regarded as the ideal of beauty, a rigid adherence to those factors was not calculated to lead to the attainment of either perfect comfort or perfect elegance. In consequence of following this course of reasoning, they arrived at the determination to see what could be done by abandoning the straight and rectangular, and cultivating the curvilinear wherever practicable. The requirements of comfort and elegance were carefully studied at the same time, and the furnishing of the palace, the château, and even the modest home, from being stiff and formal, became inviting, and was imbued with a spirit entirely different from that which had, for the most part, previously pervaded it.

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