Francophile Style

By Karen Parr-Moody

 

I won't lie: I'm a card-carrying Francophile. With a surfeit of funds, I would race to GasLamp and GasLamp Too and buy armfuls of Sèvres, Limoges and Old Paris porcelain. But French porcelain isn’t the only Francophile attraction at the stores, so grab your wallet and prepare to spend.

 

This gorgeous bow-front bombe chest was created around 1850, but it is inspired by the much earlier Régence style of Louis XV, the French king born in 1710 ($1,685. T-239J). Many collectors regard the Louis XV period as the Golden Age of French furniture and multiple features of the style are seen in this piece.

 

 

 

On each corner of this marble-topped bombe is placed a bronze figural mount, motifs of Régence style that were inspired by mythological themes and the Orient. The chest also features the flowing curves of the Louis XV style, including cabriole legs, one of the most important characteristics of the period. The woodwork includes book-matched marquetry and inlaid burl cartouches. It is a gorgeous decorative piece.

 

This modern-day bust of Marie Antoinette, wife of King Louis XVI of France, depicts one of the most well-known coiffure trends of the 1770s, “le pouf.” Created by famed hairdresser Léonard Autié, the pouf was adopted by Marie Antionette.

 

The young and beautiful queen improved upon the pouf when, in 1778, she topped her rolls of enormous white curls with the miniature model of a French war ship, La Belle Poule. This famous pouf was to champion her husband in his support of the American Revolution. And that is the very hairstyle reflected in this glossy white bust ($69; booth 2012C).

 

If you are Southern, it’s likely your ancestors adored the gilt, hand-painted and ornate porcelain of France. Such gilt-y pleasures are in our DNA: Shiploads of French porcelain works were purchased during the 1700s and 1800s by Southerners, with whom they were most popular among American collectors.

This gorgeous teapot, currently at GasLamp Too, is from the factory at Sèvres, the state-operated porcelain maker founded around 1745 ($110; booth T-108). This teapot was created in the Empire form and features an emerald green ground color topped by scrolls of gilt. Look closely and you will see the face of a lion on the spout.

 

The Sèvres factory was located in a village that belonged to Madame du Pompadour; it was a gift from King Louis XV, for whom Pompadour was maîtresse-en-titre, or chief mistress. Like all porcelain made at the Sèvres factory, this teapot features the maker’s mark on the bottom, two interlaced ‘L’s taken from the French royal cipher.

 

If you love French style – and who doesn’t? – you will find the finest examples of that country’s décor at GasLamp. There’s something so elegant about French style that it’s nearly impossible to resist. N’est-ce pas? 

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