30 May RECAMIER, THE HISTORY OF A MODERN SOFA WITH OLD FRENCH ORIGINS
Also known as a divan, a Recamier is an elegant piece of furniture which has become famous due to a painting made in France in 1800. Its name comes from the name of the protagonist of the painting.
Recamier, the symbol of elegance
Recamier is a piece of furniture in the Louis XVI style. Also called a divan or “daybed”, the Recamier looks like a bench or a sofa without a backrest. The original French version of the Recamier had turned armrests at both ends. While the English version, from the Victorian era, had a single higher and twisted armrest, sometimes continued with a half backrest.
With its original and very elegant shape, the Recamier could be found within refined salons of the 18th century, being intended especially for ladies, for a short siesta.
The origins of the word „Recamier”
The word „Recamier” was inspired by the famous painting made in 1800, portraying the beautiful „empress of the arts”, Madame Récamier.
The painting presents Juliette Récamier in a semi-elongated position on an Empire-style sofa, with her left arm resting on two pillows and her right hand on her leg. The divan model in the painting has been known since that time by the name “Recamier”, denoting the sofa without a backrest, with one or both ends twisted and raised.
The piece of furniture was apparently made by the architect Louis-Martin Berthault, who renovated Madame Récamier’s home. And the painting made by the French painter Jacques-Louis David, but unsigned, is currently on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris.
Who was Madame Récamier
Juliette Récamier was the daughter of a royal notary, married at the age of 15 with Jacques – Rose Récamier, a wealthy banker nearly 30 years elder.
In Madame Récamier’s salon met the royalists, the partisans of the Bourbon restoration and the opponents of Napoleon. Madame Récamier was admired by famous men of the time – Chateaubriand, Lamartine, Balzac, Robespierre, Jean Baptiste Jules-Bernadotte and Lucien Bonaparte.
Not happy with Mrs. Récamier’s notoriety, Napoleon exiles her from Paris in 1809. Juliette lived for a short time in Lyon, then in Rome and, finally, in Naples. At the age of 71, she died of cholera and was buried in the Montmartre Cemetery in Paris.
Recamier into modern interior design projects
Today, the divan or Recamier is present in almost all modern interior design projects. It is placed inside living room or bedroom, in small spaces, usually in a niche, but especially next to a high window, creating an elegant area for reading and relaxing time.