the authentic French bergère chair

by Sharon Santoni

La bergère (pronounced bear-jshare)  is maybe the most easily recognisable of the traditional French chairs.    A shapely wooden frame, a deep seat cushion, and fabric stretched over the sides and arms without any springs or buttoned upholstery.

They first became fashionable under the reign of Louis XV, when they were rounded and generous, and under Louis XVI they straightened their backs and looked a little more strict but still kept to the basic style.

Today these chairs have come full circle and are popular world over, be it armchair style or the more simple padded chair.

via

But did you know that it is still possible to find original XVIII century bergere chairs, that are recognisable by the structure of their joints and if you’re lucky, by a signature!

A chair is not signed with a hand painted flourish in the same way that a painting is marked, but it is stamped, some where in a discreet corner or underside, with the name of the manufacturer.

When I am buying chairs on the fairs here, I’ll always rock them gently to check for damaged joints, and turn them upside down to see how much work the seat will need, and I often cast a glance at the underside hoping I may find a signature that nobody else has noticed!   It happened just once, and I have to admit that it sent a definite thrill up this brocanteur’s  spine!

Happy days!

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18 comments

Peggy Braswell January 21, 2014 - 7:59 pm

adore La bergère + love finding out more about them. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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Madonna/aka/Ms. Lemon January 21, 2014 - 8:00 pm

I love this style and I do not know why anyone would choose an ikea over this style. Thrilling that that you found a stamped one. Gorgeous.

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Deborah Wilkins January 21, 2014 - 8:10 pm

Sharon:

Love, love, love the bergere! I have them throughout my home and have a hard time resisting ones that I come across that have a price point that is just too good to pass up. I think they are the quintessential French statement piece. Thank you for the historical perspective.

By the way, if you hear from your friend in Hillsborough who lives nearby, please tell him I sent a post to his business e-mail address via his website a while back.

I hope 2014 is good to you!

Deborah

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Kathy Andersen January 21, 2014 - 9:04 pm

My all time favourite chair! Great to see such a revival. Very good article re the historic stamping. Thank you!

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Pam January 22, 2014 - 5:10 am

Hi Sharon!!!

These chairs are so beautiful!!! I’m picking up two chairs very similar to the shape, tomorrow. I’m so very excited!!! I’ve always wanted one and now I’m getting two!!!!

Enjoy the rest of the week!!!

Pam
xox

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[email protected] January 22, 2014 - 5:30 am

I love these chairs, its just so sad that I have no where to fit them in!

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Frieda January 22, 2014 - 9:15 am

Bonjour
Merci pour ces explications riches en information
L’authenticité et l’originalité ont entraînés
des imitations
Bonne journée
Frieda

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Heather in Arles January 22, 2014 - 10:15 am

Oooh! I learned something! Now I am off to check to see if I have any stamped ones… 🙂

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Pat Crowder January 22, 2014 - 12:31 pm

Oh Sharon! What a wonderful educating post. Love, love, these chairs.

Pat

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Carol Preston January 22, 2014 - 12:46 pm

Sharon, thank you for this post on the beloved bergere!

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The Enchanted Home January 22, 2014 - 1:18 pm

Possibly my most favorite chair, have several in my home, mostly new but three antique ones which I love. They are soooo elegant and timelessly classic. Hope you are well Sharon!

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Nancy January 22, 2014 - 3:51 pm

Never knew they were signed….interesting…
Thanks for the pix and info….
Nancy
wildoakdesigns.blogspot.com

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Marsha @ Splenderosa January 22, 2014 - 4:18 pm

Sharon, you really must do more of these very informative posts. I loved reading this so much. And, I love your name at the top of your header too. Very elegant alongside the photo of your home. Big hug, darling.

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Sally January 22, 2014 - 5:37 pm

Dear Sharon
It was so interesting and informative to read more in detail of the famous bergere chair, I have loved loved Louis for as long as I can remember… since I wanted to become a decorator in my teens ….
Can you now see us all turning our chairs upside down to see if they are stamped?? :))
Thank you as always,
xxx

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Emm January 22, 2014 - 6:47 pm

A beautiful chair, and a comfortable one, too. How exciting to find a signed piece! The one in the first photo is lovely – I have just the corner for it.

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BrocanteuseRose January 23, 2014 - 1:50 pm

I love these chairs, if I found an original I would swoon, right into the chair. 🙂

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Leeann January 29, 2014 - 5:27 pm

I too adore them and cannot believe the difference between a copy and the real thing.

The real thing is just so much finer in detail and has that look that comes with time. French Boyfriend has just popped his “real one complete with stamp” in the window of our new boutique but think that he will be telling customers that it is reserved 🙂

Hope that 2014 is a wonderful one for you.

Leeann x

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French Bergere Chair Reproductions April 23, 2015 - 9:37 am

I spent many months researching different companies that sell a french style upholstered bed. I finally made the decision to go ahead and buy the Chelsea upholstered bed. Extremely pleased with my decision. Below is a link to the product page. Good-luck with your upholstered bed shopping.

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