Caquetoire, France, c. 1560 – 1580



France, c. 1560 – 1580


114 cm; 3 ft. 9 in.
63 cm; 2 ft. 1 in.
35 cm; 1 ft. 2 in.


With Madame Jacqueline Boccador, Paris

Related literature

J. Boccador, Le Mobilier Français du Moyen Age a la Renaissance (Éditions d’Art Monelle Hayot, Château de Saint-Rémy-en-l'Eau, 1988), pp. 298-303, pls. 250-255, esp. pls 254-255
J. Boccador, 'Temple du Temps, qu' un seul soupir résume ...' (JMG, Paris, 2002), p.112, fig. 85
J. Thirion, Le Mobilier du Moyen Age et de la Renaissance en France (Éditions Faton, Dijon, 1998), pp. 143-147
N. de Reyniès, Le mobilier domestique (Editions du Patrimoine, Paris, 1987)

The caquetoire, or conversation or gossip chair, is among the most well-known of French renaissance furniture. Derived from the term 'caqueter', meaning 'to chat', caquetoire referenced women sitting and talking. The chairs were traditionally grouped together for ladies to sit together and 'chat' amongst one another. Built with a splayed seat base and U-shaped arms to accommodate comfortably the full layered skirts and petticoats worn in the 16th century, caquetoire were wide in the front and narrowed at the rear making a triangular shape.

The back was high and paneled and usually, as with our example, the chairs were made of walnut to allow for elaborate decoration with carving and medallions and joined via mortise and tenon rather than nailed and glued. Victorian revival examples were often made of oak with carved panel backs with rattan or planked seats and turned legs. More unusual Art Nouveau examples made of walnut with inlays of flowers and other designs of the period can be found. Surviving French Renaissance examples, especially those in original unrestored condition, are exceedingly rare.