Sunday, April 19, 2009
Show Me Some Leg
Who doesn't like looking at a pair of beautiful legs. Betty Grable had the sexiest pair of legs. They might have helped win a war. All of those soldiers must have dreamed about them.
This weekend was a warm and wonderful spring day in Portland. I decided it was time to finally go on a bike ride. It felt great to build up my blood cells and my bicyle legs. I hadn't been on a bike for over a year and it was time. It was like returning to a long lost love. While I stood at Portland's Esplanade. I took in the sun, the beauty of my city and of course the wonderful people out excercising and just enjoying the bright day. While overlooking the river, it gave me time to think about my next blog. Legs. I would write about legs.
Then I remembered the sexiest legs in interior design was the cabriole leg. It comes in many shapes and styles. So I couldn't help but be inspired. Legs are what support us. We use them to be mobile. Some are thick, carved, smooth and silky.While others are shapely or very ornate. Every room could show a little leg. The cabriole leg in furniture looks as if they could walk away. If they were in a Disney cartoon musical, I could see them dancing in a chorus line. Whatever the shape or size. the cabriole leg is beautiful.
A cabriole leg is one of (usually four) vertical supports of a piece of furniture shaped in two curves; the upper arc is convex, while lower is concave; the upper curve always bows outward, while the lower curve bows inward. The axes of the two curves must lie within the same plane. This design was used by the ancient Chinese and Greeks, but emerged in Europe in the very early 18th century, when it was incorporated into the more curvilinear styles produced in France, England and Holland. According to Bird, "nothing symbolises 18th century furniture more than the cabriole leg." The cabriole design is often associated with bun or the "ball and claw" foot design. In England, this design was characteristic of Queen Anne and Chippendale furniture. In France, the cabriole leg is associated with the Louis XV period of furniture design. The cabriole design appeared for the first time in the USA in the 18th century. The basis of its original concept was emulated upon legs of certain four-footed mammals, especially ungulates. The etymology of this term specifically derives from the French word cabrioler, meaning to leap like a goat.
Earliest forms of the cabriole leg were known to the ancient Chinese and Greek civilisations. In the case of the ancient Chinese, this leg was most closely associated with the lacquered table. While the Chinese culture preserved historical continuity of use, Europeans lost this style prior to the Middle Ages. Finally in France, in the very early 1700s the cabriole leg style re-appeared, imitating a popular graphic scroll design found in French art about the year 1700; in France this design was part of the Rococo style. Quickly England was producing a version of the cabriole leg, which historically is called Queen Anne Style and is associated with the period 1712-1760. (The reign of Queen Anne lasted from 1702 to 1712, but the Queen Anne furniture period is generally considered to continue until 1760, although imitations have, of course, endured to later periods.) The Queen Anne cabriole leg chair typically had a back with hoop design and a vase shaped splat; it also typically had a bun or pad foot. (An alternate design of a Queen Anne chair consisted of a Chinese style, which had flat cresting, vertical back edges and a leg that was also cabriole style.) A subsequent evolution of the cabriole leg in England occurred in about the year 1750 with the advent of Chippendale furniture design; while Chippendale chairs adopted the cabriole leg, the leg design became more delicate than those of the Queen Anne Style.
American designs arose by the mid 18th century, imitating the English Queen Anne Style and borrowing elements from all three sub-periods of its development in England: Queen Anne period (1702-1714), George I period (1714-1727) and George II period (1727-1760). To demonstrate the central role of the cabriole leg in this period of American furniture, this period "has frequently been called the cabriole period, and this is no misnomer, since the cabriole leg found almost universal employment in most forms of furniture". The American cabriole leg was strongly associated with the pad foot design. Regional differences emerged in American cabriole leg styles by the mid to late 1700s; for example, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts style featured a very slender cabriole leg compared to other American locales.
Remember make a statement "show some leg" in your interior spaces,