I have always had a soft spot for a soft chair! And my favourite French chairs have such delicious names too! The pretty chair above, dressed in what looks like a beautiful printed linen, is called a 'crapaud'', which literally means toad!
The crapaud is fairly low to the ground, with a gently reclining back and low arm rests. A similar design, but without the arm support is called a 'chauffeuse'.
These chairs often have black wooden legs, usually pear wood, and typical of the Napoleon III period, late 19th century.
Chair design is a fairly accurate reflection of social customs. Today we have large deep armchairs and sofas, designed to give us space to sprawl. Our seating no longer encourages the user to sit in demure fashion, back straight, legs crossed at the ankles, it is acceptable to put comfort first.
In the 19th century, they liked their chairs to be purpose designed.
The chair below is a fumeuse, or smoking chair.
and this one is a gaming chair, designed for a man to sit on either in a traditional direction or astride with arms leaning on the padded back while facing the card table.
Of course the 18th century Louis XV period also produced some great classics, that are now reproduced worldwide.
This is a bergère cabriolet, a pretty combination of wooden frame and upholstered back and seat. The reverse of the back support is often upholstered in a contrasting fabric, to great effect.
These old designs look just as good in a traditional brocade or silk as in a humble grain sack or even today in their underwear!!
How about you? Do you like a chair to sprawl in, or to perch upon?!