Regency

In itself, the Regence style has no valid existence, but allows us to give a name to the furniture of transition that sees the day between the end of the style Louis XIV and the beginning of the Louis XV style, which still belongs to the old in certain aspects while already marking a clear evolution towards the new. From a historical point of view, the Regency covers the period from 1715 to 1723. This corresponds to the minority of Louis XV, during which the kingdom is ruled by the regent Philip of Orleans. In the field of decorative arts, the Regency style corresponds to the years 1700-1720. Cabinetmaking and carpentry then possessed the nobility and symmetry peculiar to the Louis XIV style, but got rid of its most formal and solemn aspects in favor of a suppleness and a grace announcing the Louis XV. In a word, a new spirit, the spirit of the eighteenth century, of gallantry and civility, blows on the decorative arts and begins an evolution tending to replace heroism by the amiable.

While Boulle is clearly the best representative of the Louis XIV style. Charles Cressent, for his part, is also, but for the Regency style. In his capacity as sculptor, Cressent, himself molded his own bronzes and supervised their production. For decorative reasons, he often drew his inspiration from the drawings of Robert de Cotte, while he relied on the taste of Gillot and Watteau for the figures and especially the famous antics. From Watteau he borrowed his charming busts of smiling young women, called espagnolettes, who adorn the top of the curved legs of his flat offices. In keeping with the spirit of the times, Cressent used, for its veneers, woods contrasting strongly with the gilding of bronzes, namely amaranth, rosewood and violet wood.

At that time, the study of chairs gives us the most complete picture of the evolution or transition between the Louis XIV and the Louis XV. The major difference between a late Louis XIV chair and another already belonging to the Regence style is located at the level of the armrests, which in the second case are slightly set back to allow the baskets to find a place . Typical of the Regency, on the one hand, are the cuffs, and on the other hand, in the belt, a front crosspiece made of carved wood, forming an uninterrupted, winding line with the base, then the progressive disappearance of the strut and finally the choice of A framed folder of an apparent wooden frame. The curved legs, instead of ending in doe hoofs, generally present a small volute sometimes embellished with an acanthus leaf. The most tenacious Louis XIV elements are the straight uprights of the backrest and the quadrangular shape of the seat. When the transition is perfectly accomplished, the chair will no longer have a single straight line, and the hour of the Louis XV will have struck.

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