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Louis Rattan French White BedRegence Furniture

This period takes its name from the era of regency rule before Louis XV could take his throne. The Regence movement begins to appear at the beginning of the 18th century and is a typical example of a transitional style influenced by the preceding Baroque movement and at the same time presenting new forms of decoration indicating change. Lines had a new fluidity while retaining their symmetry and French craftsmen loosened their strict adherance to the classical forms of the previous Baroque movement.

After the death of Louis XIV and prior to Louis XV taking the throne as King, Regence is best understood not as a style, but as a state of mind. It marked a turn in design towards intimacy, contentment, distraction and pleasure. Regence is a transitional style between the Baroque and the Rococo movement resulting in greater comfort, and was simply more elegant and agreeable to the eye. Lines had a new fluidity whilst retaining their symmetry. 

Veneers of precious wood with geometric designs, together with gilt bronze decoration are seen and the style also marks the appearance of caning used for chair seats, screens and wardrobe doors. Carvings, especially of stylized palm leafs, sunflowers, pomegranates with trellis backgrounds and honeycomb designs were also common. Mouldings were thinner and less assertive than under Louis XIV and it is also at this point that we start to see the Scallop shell appearing which comes to epitomise the Rococo Style in the not too distant future.

Regence style was inspired by mythological themes and flowers, shells and dragons were the predominant decorations. Shapes became more bowed and round like the distinctive "bombe" chest. Chairs were also narrower with deeper seats. Pretty and romantic, this style of French furniture became enormously popular in Europe extremely quickly. Even today, the style endures. 



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