The J. Paul Getty Museum

Four Armchairs and One Settee

Object Details


Four Armchairs and One Settee


Jacques-Jean-Baptiste Tilliard (French, 1723 - 1798, master 1752)




Paris, France (Place Created)


about 1770–1775


Carved and gilded walnut. Modern silk velvet upholstery

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Object Description

Chairs came in a variety of shapes and sizes in eighteenth-century France, with carving frequently matching that on other pieces of furniture such as console tables, settees, mirrors, or the wood paneling. By the 1700s two types of chairs had developed for formal and more relaxed seating arrangements. Chaises meublants (furnishing chairs) were designed without carving on their backs and were arranged symmetrically against the wall around the sides of a room. Chaises courants (literally, running chairs) could be moved around a room and were designed to be seen from all sides.

This set of four chairs and a settee was designed to be arranged against a wall. The wooden frames are fairly massive, yet the carving of the decorative elements is extremely fine. The decoration incorporates such Neoclassical motifs as crisp acanthus leaves, egg-and-dart molding, and straight, fluted legs.