Caquetoire

Caquetoire

[kak-i-twahr; Fr. kakuh-twahr]
The caquetoire, or conversation chair, was an armchair style implemented during the European Renaissance.

It was largely used in France during the renaissance. This chair is one if the most well known pieces of furniture from the French Renaissance. This chair is often associated with groups of women that would sit in them and talk. The seat is not rectangular like most. Due to the lack of heating systems in homes, women tended to wear several layers of skirts and petticoats to keep warm. This often inhibited them from fitting into normally-proportioned armchairs. Thus, the seat is splayed so the women could easily sit in the chair with their large skirts. These chairs were also made from walnut not oak because the chair could be more elaborately carved.

This chair also used mortise and tenon joint. In this joint, one end fits into the slot of the other end. This technique was used in the chair so no nails were exposed and so no glue had to be used.

The caquetoire is built with a splayed seat base and U-shaped arms to allow women with full skirts to sit comfortably. During the European Renaissance they were generally made of walnut with mortise-and-tenon joints. The supports were baluster-turned and terminated in bun feet.

The name caquetoire is derived from “caqueter”, a French term meaning “to chat”. The chair was thus named the caquetoire as a reference to women sitting and talking.

References

  • Boger, Louise Ade. The Complete Guide to Furniture Styles. Charles Scribner and Sons, New York 1969.
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