If you’re the type that likes your furniture sporting curves like Jessica Rabbit then you need to add this word to your vocab. Cabriole. It’s pronounced kab-ree-ohl (for those whom phonetics is nothing more than modern hieroglyphics), and it sounds as svelte and sophisticated as the style of leg it defines.
Cabriole describes a style of furniture leg prevalent in the late 18th century. This pairing of convex and concave curves originated in Ancient Greek and Chinese furnishings and still holds favour in antique-inspired pieces today. It takes its name from cabrioler – to leap, to caper (even) – reflecting the curve of an animal’s leg as it bounds.*
* Think a kid goat in spring!
It’s most commonly associated with the Rococo styles of France and England – particularly the furniture design of Louis XV, and the Queen Anne (English monarch from 1702-1714) and Chippendale** styles in England. Its export to the US influenced almost all of the furniture produced during the mid to late 18th century .
** Named after the fashionable 18th century cabinetmaker Thomas Chippendale (1719-1780) (not that infamous spandex-wearing dance crew). Thomas was renowned for his skill at wielding wood, his self-aggrandising authorship (TC penned the first book of cabinetry designs) and his claiming the British Rococo as his own. A healthy ego is a good ego…
Its characteristic scroll-style leg curves at the “knee” and again at the “ankle”, finishing in a bun or pad foot. This sinuous line effects a striking elegance. As delicious and decadent as a religieuse au chocolat.***
***The mother of all chocolate éclairs.
Keen to get whittling? In the DIY spirit, we found this nifty vid to show you how. 😀