Thursday, April 4, 2013

Object of the Day, Museum Edition: King George IV’s sofa, 1828

French, 1828
Part of a suite belonging to George IV
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
We all know that King George IV had a taste for the opulent and exotic, but nothing appealed to him more than objects which had a bit of a French influence to them. This sofa certainly demonstrates King George IV’s tastes.

This particular sofa is actually from a suite of fifty-six pieces, all of which were similar in design. The arms are adorned with the carved heads of the mythical leopards that supposedly drew Bacchus’s chariot. This was a popular theme in French furnishings at the time, and George was quick to make sure it was represented in his collection. The sofa is surmounted by a top rail that is carved with a shell—a symbol of Venus, the goddess of love. Other adornments, completing the decorative theme, are acanthus leaves (such as one would find in the Corinthian order of architecture), and palm leaves of triumph.

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