A Brief History of Baroque Furniture

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The baroque furniture was in vogue in the late 17th Century.

Baroque furniture was in vogue during the late 17th Century. Italian baroque architects Gianlorenzo Bernini and Francesco Borromini had showcased their innovative designs in Rome. By this time, the baroque design was only on the surface of the furniture, but later towards the last quarter of the century, a lot of changes were introduced into the design.

At this time, ‘caryatids’ and the scroll patterns were introduced. Using the caryatid and scroll patterns in baroque designs means the use of female figures along with scroll-shaped and spiral-turned legs to support the structure of the furniture. By the end of the 17th Century, baroque architecture had been transformed to structures with curved fronts and was first used on wardrobes and chests of drawers. Chairs were designed with high back and rich carvings. Even the cane chairs had high backs with beautifully turned parts in place of the carved areas. These chairs were elegant and exquisite.

Baroque hall on flickr by antmoose

French baroque revival, national basicilla on flicker by PinkMoose

French Baroque

One of the greatest and most exquisite furniture of the baroque era was made for the court of Louis XIV in France. The outstanding pieces were created by André Charles Boulle, and were a combination of unusual forms which were embellished with inlays made of combined metals, Tortoise shell and ebony designs that released the beauty of the creative imaginative ideas of the craftsman. The furniture had beautifully gilded columnar legs that served as support for the tables, chairs and chests. The gilded carvings and the general presentation of the furniture makes it look as if the basics of its construction was imported from the Roman fresco. The French baroque is a display of a great deal of careful workmanship and artistry which made it unique in the history of furniture making.

English and American Baroque

The baroque design of furniture reigned in England during the reign of William and Mary, when marquetry (decorative designs made of inlaid materials) was used most freely. The baroque furniture in England was greatly gilded to display the wealth of ancient England. In America, artisans employed Elizabethan and Tudor basics as a part of inspiration to the design of the ‘Pilgrim style’ which was usually made from oak. The pilgrim style came with simple but exquisite designs that really displayed the artistry of its designers. In conclusion, the baroque design signaled the beginning of the most minute-detailed carvings and the use of expensive gilding materials.

Baroque dome in box by RC Designer on flickr

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Posted on Nov 15, 2010