IN THE MUSEUM : Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y.

Desk chair – Louis XV era

Desk chair made from carved painted wood, in the rocaille style.

Wrightsman Collection.
Location : Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y.

Fauteuil de bureau Époque Louis XV Fauteuil de bureau en bois sculpté et peint toutes faces, dans le goût rocaille.

This armchair is largely inspired by the rocaille style, which was in fashion in the mid-1700s; this is made evident by the mouldings on the legs and front rail, which are made of carved wood.

It is made from beech wood; its supple quality makes it the ideal wood for chairs. The cabriole legs and curved front rail are both painted; the curved patterns, which represent flowers, seashells, pearls, and other natural objects, are characteristic of the rocaille style.

At the time, it was common for desk chairs to feature a leg at the centre of the front rail. This was meant to make the chair more stable and more comfortable, given that its user would spend long hours writing at their desk. This front leg lends symmetry to the piece, in perfect harmony with the curved back of the chair.