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Shop Ski Country Antiques & Home's antique furniture on 1stdibs

The History of Needlepoint Chairs

Posted on March 19, 2018 by Judy Rom


Needlepoint chairs are classic and romantic.

They transport us back to 17th century France and the era of King Louis XV. During this period, the style of living evolved. Previously, under Louis XIV, halls were massive, lavishly decorated and very formal, but Louis XV preferred a more intimate setting. He redesigned the interior of the Palace of Versailles, creating petite apartments with smaller salons. This new style was called Rocaille and it was exuberant. Featuring curves and inspired by nature, garlands of flowers appeared everywhere.


Image source: Pinterest, Pinterest

The Rocaille decorating style was intimate, elegant and designed with comfort in mind. Living rooms and dining rooms replaced halls and the new living spaces required different types of furniture. The Fauteuil armchair debuted, designed to be curved, lightweight and comfortable.

This was the first armchair with a curved backrest.


Image source: Southern LadyPinterest

Ancient Embroidery

The history of needlework goes back thousands of years to the ancient Egyptians, who used to sew their tents with small, slanted stitches. In the 17th century, furniture upholstered with embroidered fabric became very fashionable. A durable material was needed to serve as the foundation for the embroidery, thus canvas was developed. This was the start of needlepoint as we know it today.

Needlepoint on canvas was very popular for furniture and hangings in the Rocaille period. As you can probably imagine, nobility were major customers of top quality embroidery. They would employ professional embroiderers to embellish their clothing, furniture, and decor. Professional embroiderers were males and had to complete an 8-year apprenticeship before being considered a master.


Source: French Country CottageElle Decor

Needlepoint For Today

Fortunately for us, beautiful embroidery lives on in well-maintained antiques. You've likely noticed these beautiful chairs as you wandered through our store, but have you ever stopped to admire all of the craftmanship that went into each one?

Needlepoint chairs are gorgeous in a living room. These antiques integrate really well with a Farmhouse look.


Image Source: Cedar Hill Farmhouse

Which of these needlepoint pieces is your favorite?

Posted in embroidery, Fauteuil armchair, french country, Louis XV, needlepoint, Rocaille