[Illustration: Shaped Panel of Saracenic Work in Carved Bone or Ivory.]
[Illustration: Boule Armoire. Designed by Le Brun, formerly in the “Hamilton Palace” Collection and purchased (Wertheimer) for L12,075 the pair. Period: Louis XIV.]
PALACE OF VERSAILLES: “Grand” and “Petit Trianon”—the three Styles of Louis XIV., XV. and XVI.—Colbert and Lebrun—Andre Charles Boule and his Work—Carved and Gilt Furniture—The Regency and its Influence—Alteration in Condition of French Society—Watteau, Lancret, and Boucher. Louis XV. FURNITURE: Famous Ebenistes—Vernis Martin Furniture—Caffieri and Gouthiere Mountings—Sevres Porcelain introduced into Cabinets—Gobelins Tapestry—The “Bureau du Roi.” Louis XVI. AND MARIE ANTOINETTE: The Queen’s Influence—The Painters Chardin and Greuze—More simple Designs—Characteristic Ornaments of Louis XVI. Furniture—Riesener’s Work—Gouthiere’s Mountings—Specimens in the Louvre—The Hamilton Palace Sale—French influence upon the design of Furniture in other countries—The Jones Collection—Extract from the “Times.”
There is something so distinct in the development of taste in furniture, marked out by the three styles to which the three monarchs have given the names of “Louis Quatorze,” “Louis Quinze,” and “Louis Seize,” that it affords a fitting point for a new departure.
This will be evident to anyone who will visit, first the Palace of Versailles, then the Grand Trianon, and afterwards the Petit Trianon. By the help of a few illustrations, such a visit in the order given would greatly interest anyone having a smattering of knowledge of the characteristic ornaments of these different periods. A careful examination would demonstrate how the one style gradually merged into that of its successor. Thus the massiveness and grandeur of the best Louis Quatorze meubles de luxe, became, in its later development, too ornate and effeminate, with an elaboration of enrichment, culminating in the rococo style of Louis Quinze.
Then we find, in the “Petit Trianon,” and also in the Chateau of Fontainebleau, the purer taste of Marie Antoinette dominating the Art productions of her time, which reached their zenith, with regard to furniture, in the production of such elegant and costly examples as have been preserved to us in the beautiful work-table and secretaire—sold some years since at the dispersion of the Hamilton Palace collection—and in some other specimens, which may be seen in the Musee du Louvre, in the Jones Collection in the South Kensington Museum, and in other public and private collections: of these several illustrations are given.