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Ask Casa: A Peculiar Armchair Question

Hey Casa,
I'm wondering if you can help me with a peculiar armchair question. I've been looking for a picture or the name of a certain French/ Parisian upholstered armchair that is quite iconic. It is quite similar in design to this chair shown here (at least, the arm rests are). I've always seen the chair upholstered in white with black detailing. It's very elegant, and I'm pretty sure it's originally French. I hope my description isn't too obscure! Thank you!

To see my response,


Hi SundayGreen,
Peculiar armchair questions are my favorites!

The chair (I think) you're referring to is called a "bergère," which translates to "sheperdess." It is an enclosed, upholstered French armchair with an upholstered back and sides, often sloping armrests, and a loose, but tailored, seat cushion. In its traditional form, the wood framing is exposed and has fine carving and painted detailing, and sometimes padded elbowrests. What classifies a chair as a bergère is the closed area between the arms and the seat, which make it ideal for lounging in comfort. If it has a concave back, rather than a flat back, it is known as a "bergère en cabriolet." The chair first appeared between 1715 and 1723 in Paris, and was made for Marie Antoinette in the late 1700s.

Hope that helps!

Source, Source, and Source

Join The Conversation
Sharon-Hess Sharon-Hess 9 years
English term for rounded back is called the barreled-back bergere. The picture you provided is a more transitional style that draws a lot of influence from the bergere style, yet has more modern simpler lines, no nail heads, and a loose back cushion. More comfortable and great look, esp with the solid deep purple fabric. The legs would perhaps look better in the popular brown/black wenge finish.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
I love that blue chair. I want those in my dining room.
Home Home 9 years
Glad it helped, SundayGreen.
sundaygreen sundaygreen 9 years
Exactly what I was after! You're a doll, Casa.
RosaDilia RosaDilia 9 years
I have a similar chair at home but with a rattan back , tufted seat cusion but no padded arm rests.
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