منتديات عرب كول
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قديم 2018-05-08, 02:40 AM
عضو مميز
 

افتراضي The Chaise Longue

Madame Recamier by David 1800Loretta reports:

A reader recently commented:
"This is off topic, but yesterday my family visited the Breakers in Newport. I noticed a lot of chaise lounges in the bedroom and asked the docent how you sat in them. He asked a friend, and they said that napping in bed was considered feeble, or improper so they invented the lounges, but they were only briefly popular."
Let me start by staying that Docents/Tour Guides are not all historians, and not everything they say should be taken as gospel. In the course of our travels to historic sites, Susan and I have heard some interesting “explanations” of this and that, which range from Nonsense to Strange But Mostly True to Impeccably Researched.

First, let’s let the Merriam Webster site get the chaise longue vs. chaise lounge terminology out of the way—but please note that, generally, the English went with longue, while Americans leaned on lounge.

Second, the chaise longue was not an invention of the Gilded Age, but was around long before the Breakers was built in 1893. Madame Recamier reclines upon one in the image, upper left, from 1800. The chaise longue at right below appeared in the first volume of Ackermann’s Repository (January 1809). Depending on what you call it—daybed, fainting couch, etc., this type of furniture goes back to the time of the Egyptians, But for now I'm focusing on the 19th century chaise longue.

Third, this piece of furniture had, so far as I can ascertain, nothing to do with napping in bed being feeble or improper. (The Met offers its theory about daybeds, here.) It was often found in the boudoir (though that’s by no means the only place), and was rather more than “briefly popular.” Characters in numerous 19th century novels are lying on chaise longues* or swooning or sitting or dying on them or adding them to a room’s furnishing or throwing a pillow on them or some such.

Chaise Longue January 1809 Ackermann's RepositoryThe Craftsman, Vol. 29, 1915, offers a history, with illustrations, and refers to a “revival.” However, examples of chaise longues appear during the Victorian era as well as the Regency. It's possible, certainly, that one generation or group found them old-fashioned, and another decided they were cool again.

Here’s an 1805 image from A Collection of Designs for Household Furniture and Interior Decoration in the Most Approved and Elegant Taste. You can see many Victorian examples here at Carter’s Price Guide to Antiques.
Moving on to the 20th century: Here’s a 1914 image from Elsie de Wolfe’s The House in Good Taste. Here’s a May 1920 image from Illustrated World. And here's an interesting 3-piece version for 1921 from The House Beautiful.

*Chaises longues is also correct for the plural. Dictionaries differ on this. Take your pick.

Images: Jacques-Louis David (1748–1825) Portrait of Madame Récamier (1800), Louvre Museum
Chaise longue from Ackermann’s Repository January 1809, courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art via Internet Archive.


Clicking on the image will enlarge it. Clicking on the caption will take you to the source, where you can learn more and enlarge images as needed.
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