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.
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!
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!