Cabriole leg

Cabriole leg

A cabriole leg is one of (usually four) vertical supports of a piece of furniture shaped in two curves; the upper arc is convex, while lower is ; the upper curve always bows outward, while the lower curve bows inward. The axes of the two curves must lie within the same plane. This design was used by the ancient Chinese and Greeks, but emerged in Europe in the very early 18th century, when it was incorporated into the more curvilinear styles produced in France, England and Holland. [ [ Encyclopedia Brittanica] ] According to Bird, "nothing symbolises 18th century furniture more than the cabriole leg." [ [ "Taunton's Complete Illustrated Guide to Period Furniture Details". Lonnie Bird, 2003, Taunton Press] ] The cabriole design is often associated with bun or the "ball and claw" foot design. In England, this design was characteristic of Queen Anne and Chippendale furniture. In France, the cabriole leg is associated with the Louis XV period of furniture design. [ [ Cabriole leg in French furniture] ] The cabriole design appeared for the first time in the USA in the 18th century. ["American Furniture of the 18th Century", Jeffrey P. Greene, Taunton Press] The basis of its original concept was emulated upon legs of certain four-footed mammals, especially ungulates. The etymology of this term specifically derives from the French word "cabrioler", meaning "to leap like a goat". [ "Encyclopedia of Furniture Making" By Ernest Joyce and Alan Peters] ]


Earliest forms of the cabriole leg were known to the ancient Chinese and Greek civilisations. In the case of the ancient Chinese, this leg was most closely associated with the lacquered table. While the Chinese culture preserved historical continuity of use, Europeans lost this style prior to the Middle Ages. Finally in France, in the very early 1700s the cabriole leg style re-appeared, imitating a popular graphic scroll design found in French art about the year 1700; in France this design was part of the Rococo style. Quickly England was producing a version of the cabriole leg, which historically is called Queen Anne Style and is associated with the period 1712-1760. [,M1 "Field Guide to American Antique Furniture: A Unique Visual System for Identifying the Style of", Joseph T. Butler, Owl Books (1986)] ] (The reign of Queen Anne lasted from 1702 to 1712, but the Queen Anne furniture period is generally considered to continue until 1760, although imitations have, of course, endured to later periods.) The Queen Anne cabriole leg chair typically had a back with hoop design and a vase shaped splat; it also typically had a bun or pad foot. (An alternate design of a "Queen Anne chair" consisted of a Chinese style, which had flat cresting, vertical back edges and a leg that was also cabriole style.) A subsequent evolution of the cabriole leg in England occurred in about the year 1750 with the advent of Chippendale furniture design; while Chippendale chairs adopted the cabriole leg, the leg design became more delicate than those of the Queen Anne Style. [,M1 "Field Guide to American Antique Furniture: A Unique Visual System for Identifying the Style of", Joseph T. Butler, Owl Books (1986)] ]

American designs arose by the mid 18th century, imitating the English Queen Anne Style and borrowing elements from all three sub-periods of its development in England: Queen Anne period (1702-1714), George I period (1714-1727) and George II period (1727-1760). To demonstrate the central role of the cabriole leg in this period of American furniture, this period "has frequently been called the cabriole period, and this is no misnomer, since the cabriole leg found almost universal employment in most forms of furniture". ["A Handbook of the American Wing Opening Exhibition", p. 106, Richard Townley, Haines Halsey and Charles Over Cornelius, 1925.] The American cabriole leg was strongly associated with the pad foot design. [,M1 "Field Guide to American Antique Furniture: A Unique Visual System for Identifying the Style of", Joseph T. Butler, Owl Books (1986)] ] Regional differences emerged in American cabriole leg styles by the mid to late 1700s; for example, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts style featured a very slender cabriole leg compared to other American locales.


In current times the cabriole leg continues in use and more modern manufacturing techniques are applied to form this complex shape. [ "Encyclopedia of Furniture Making" By Ernest Joyce and Alan Peters] ] In any case, the initial step is preparation of a template drawn on hardboard or cardboard. Structurally, the cabriole leg is weaker as the "S" shape is more accentuated or "bowed"; [ [ "Woodworking plans: How to build a cabriole leg" (2007)] ] in any case the cabriole leg must be fashioned out of a solid piece of wood, rather than laminate. [ [ Cabriole Legs Hand-shaped, without a lathe", Philip C. Lowe, Taunton Press] ] Some of the initial rough turning is sometimes carried out using a lathe, but eventually a bandsaw is required due to the complex arc formations of the design. [ "Encyclopedia of Furniture Making" By Ernest Joyce and Alan Peters] ] The next steps include application of a spokeshave, rasp and scraper. The bottom of the leg may terminate in a bun, ball or "ball and claw" rendition; Queen Anne style furniture characteristically uses the bun foot (also called "pad" foot). The small brackets are constructed from a separate piece of wood and either affixed by dowels or screws.

Examples in notable collections

There are a number of cabriole leg pieces in important collections of historical antique furniture. In the noted collections of Henry Cavendish there is a set of "ten inlaid cabriole leg satinwood chairs with matching cabriole legged sofa" documented to have been acquired by Cavendish himself. ["Cavendish", Russell K. McCormmach and Christa Jungnickel, ISBN 0871692201] Another example is manifested in a cherry candlestand deriving from Gloucester with cabriole legs, described by the Essex Institute as produced between 1725 and 1750; ["Essex Institute Historical Collections", p. 101, published by the Essex Institute, Essex Press, 2003] moreover, this specimen is notable for the early design of dovetailed attachment of the legs as opposed to dowelled attachment of later eras.

ee also

*Nursing chair


External links

* [ Photograph of English Queen Anne side chair with cabriole legs (circa 1730 AD) at the Dewitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем решить контрольную работу

Look at other dictionaries:

  • cabriole leg — ▪ furniture       leg of a piece of furniture shaped in two curves the upper one convex, the lower one concave. Its shape was based on the legs of certain four footed animals. Known by the ancient Chinese and by the Greeks, it returned to fashion …   Universalium

  • Cabriole leg — noun In furniture design, a curved leg with outcurved knee and incurved ankle. A signature design element of the Queen Anne style of furniture, the cabriole predates both 18th century England and Italy. The style originated …   Wiktionary

  • cabriole leg — noun a kind of curved leg characteristic of Chippendale and Queen Anne furniture. Origin C18: so named from the resemblance to the front leg of a leaping animal (see cabriole) …   English new terms dictionary

  • cabriole leg — cab′riole leg n. fur a curved, tapering furniture leg curving outward at the top and inward farther down, usu. terminating in an ornamental foot: used esp. in the 18th century • Etymology: 1885–95; so called because modeled on leg of a capering… …   From formal English to slang

  • cabriole leg — …   Useful english dictionary

  • cabriole — [kab′rē ōl΄] n. [Fr: see CABRIOLET] 1. a leg of a table, chair, etc. that curves outward and then tapers inward down to the foot, often clawlike and grasping a ball 2. Ballet a leap in which one leg is thrown upward and then both legs are beaten… …   English World dictionary

  • cabriole — /kab ree ohl /; Fr. /kann brddee awl /, n., pl. cabrioles / ohlz /; Fr. / awl /. 1. Furniture. a curved, tapering leg curving outward at the top and inward farther down so as to end in a round pad, the semblance of an animal s paw, or some other… …   Universalium

  • cabriole — noun Etymology: French, caper Date: circa 1797 1. a ballet leap in which one leg is extended in midair and the other struck against it 2. a curved furniture leg ending in an ornamental foot …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • cabriole — noun A type of furniture leg used in certain ornate styles of furniture such as Queen Anne, having a double curve resembling the leg of an animal …   Wiktionary

  • cabriole — /ˈkæbrioʊl/ (say kabreeohl) noun 1. Furniture a leg, curved and tapering, often ending in the form of an animal s paw, used especially by Chippendale. 2. Ballet a leap in which one leg is raised in the air and the other is brought up to beat… …  

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”