"Bergère à oreille" in grey lacquered beech wood resting on four small fluted and roughened feet, carved with leaves of refans surmounted by dice carved with flowers. The concave front and side rails are also carved with leaves of refans. The inverted console armrests are molded and adorned with scrapers surmounted by a water leaf. The armrest and the crossbar forming the top of the backrest are highlighted by a water leaf, a row of pearls, and by the crossbar slightly quoted.
Stamped Georges Jacob
Louis XVI period
Restorations of use, lacquer wear, modern trim
H. 94 x W. 70 x D. 71 cm
The 18th century offers a multitude of seats. Each of them reflects, in the most prestigious residences, a daily organization, a French art of living. They also bear witness to the artistic bubbling that rich sponsors demanded and in which Parisian craftsmen participated. The shepherdess we are presenting today is a perfect example of this.
This seat that we call "shepherdess" is a seat dating from the reign of Louis XVI. It is lacquered in gray, and is upholstered with a fabric probably made by the modern Lelièvre house. It is 94 cm high, 70 cm wide and 71 cm deep. Thus, it offers a wide and comfortable seating for its owner. This dimension is characteristic of shepherdesses: they are seen as wide armchairs. Born in the middle of the 18th century, they take place in living rooms and become more and more common. They were intended for female use, since only ladies sat on them.
On the other hand, in addition to having been an everyday, even intimate piece of furniture for a luxurious clientele, this model is symptomatic of a style that was part of the end of the 18th century: the Louis XVI style. After having undergone the curves and counter curves of the Rocaille, the sponsors wish to return to the straight line, to the taste of Antiquity. The shapes of the seats only changed late compared to the rest of the furniture, i.e. around 1770, and we do not invent new forms of seating. It is then the full maturity of the "Greek style". Our shepherdess illustrates this fashion: she is straight, with perfect proportions and symmetrical harmonies. Its armrest consoles are in line with the front legs like all the other armchairs of this period.
Moreover, its decoration is also very "fashionable". Generally speaking, the crossbars and uprights of the seat and backrest are more abundant than in the Louis XV style. There are no more small isolated bouquets but repeated patterns along the borders, at the connecting dice. Rudent fluted legs ending in a simple choke are also typical of the 1770-1780s. The seats were often lacquered, as evidenced by the seat in our study.
What makes this shepherdess an indispensable work for every furniture collector is its author. The shepherdess was made by the master Georges Jacob according to the stamp on the underside of the seat. He is the unavoidable carpenter at the end of the century (supplying the Crown). He is audacious and has a great notoriety already during his lifetime. He received his master's degree in 1765, which almost immediately led him to experiment with Transition and Louis XVI styles. Thereafter, the latter will lead his entire career.
He is so successful because his productions are of a rare quality of execution (he rounds the inside of the belt to make the seat lighter for example). He also does not hesitate to innovate: in the shapes of the seats, in the decorations as with the "square" or the "case" decorated with a rosette in the belt above the feet. This element will be used for more than a quarter of a century. Thus, he became one of the initiators of classicism in the 1770s as his work is widespread and pleasing.
In this way, in addition to being an essential lounge seat for a collector, a representative seat of the Louis XVI style, it is also the symbol of the work of one of the greatest craftsmen of the decorative arts.
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28 000 €