On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 531

This stately armchair ( fauteuil) is richly embellished with symbols of the French monarchy that strongly suggest a royal origin. Interlaced L’s alternating with fleurs-de-lis motifs are carved on the lambrequin-shaped seat rails, while a medallion with the double L monogram surmounted by a crown decorates the crest rail. The chair has been identified with one listed in an inventory drawn up after Louis XIV’s death.1 The king sat on his throne only on special occasions, such as the reception of overseas embassies, which took place in the Apollo Salon or, exceptionally, in the Hall of Mirrors (see cats. 60, 71). At other times, including for the public audiences of foreign diplomats (held in either the royal bedchamber or the Cabinet du Conseil), he was seated on an armchair, and it is possible that this formal example was used as such during an official visit of some kind.

Armchair, Carved and gilded walnut, caning; velvet, French

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