LOV E TO LOUNGE
Chaise longues for every home
An elegant piece of furniture designed for leisure and repose, we uncover the history of the chaise longue and present six captivating designs that will stand the test of time.
Taken from Joseph Aronson’s The Encyclopedia of Furniture ( 1938), the definition of the chaise longue is a “long chair, a form of sofa or day-bed with an upholstered back for reclining”. Before the chaise longue assumed its modern French name, it was known to the ancient Greeks as the kline, and to the Romans as the lectus, with the former group imitating the original design from the Egyptians. Both the Greeks and Romans used it as a bed and for reclining during meals.
An elegant piece of furniture designed for leisure and repose, we uncover the long and storied history of this indulgent seating appointment, and present six captivating designs that will stand the test of time.
Following a relative lull during mediaeval times, the chair appeared in France in the 17th century, and by the reign of Louis XIV, which began in 1643, the seat had become ubiquitous in France. The apotheosis of the historic chair came in 1800 when the neoclassical artist JACQUESLOUIS David painted his portrait of French socialite Madame Recamier reclining languorously on the painter’s elegant chaise longue. The fame and influence of the painting was such that the French still call the chaise longue a recamier today.
The chair’s popularity crossed the English Channel in the late 1600s, becoming a favourite furniture piece of the newly moneyed classes in Victorian England. By the 20th century, the chair was being mass-produced in cheaper materials, and became as essential as the upright piano in living rooms.
Today, after more than three centuries, the chaise longue lives on and can be found around the world.