André Malraux (1901-1976)

André Malraux, a French writer and politician, was the author of several novels and works of art criticism; among the best known is Man's Fate. Between 1959 and 1969, he was Minister of Cultural Affairs of France, under the presidency of General de Gaulle.


A large and deeply upholstered chair with a loose seat cushion.


An enclosed bed, a Canadian adaptation of the alcove or cupboard bed, based on Breton or Norman models, for example.

Capucine, à la

Unknown origin; used to describe turned chairs of simple construction resembling convent furniture.

Centre post

The fixed central stile of a furniture frame against which the doors are closed.


The scallop shell, in its untouched natural shape, has been used as a decorative motif since antiquity; it was used most often with the popularity of rocaille during the reign of Louis XV when an asymmetrical and jagged form was favoured.


Simple or composite horizontal moulding that projects from the top of armoires, buffets and other case furniture of architectural form.

Crossbow, crossbow-shaped

Used to describe the façade of a dresser cut in the shape of a crossbow.


The use of curved rather than straight lines for the legs, body, panels or decorative elements of a piece of furniture.

Diamond point

A decorative motif based upon the triangle, sculpted in the form of a pyramid or lozenge and used at the time of Louis XIII, Louis XIV and after.

Dovetail (Queue d'aronde)

A tenon that widens towards its end, thus resembling the tail of a bird (formerly called aronde), and which is fitted into a similarly shaped mortise.

Fernand Braudel (1902-1985)

An internationally renowned French historian, Fernand Braudel breathed new life into history writing. Author of numerous works on material culture, Braudel was recognized for his particular way of perceiving historic reality as a phenomenon of duration (either long, multi-secular, short or eventful). In 1979, he published the monumental Civilisation matérielle, économie et capitalisme. Fernand Braudel was also one of the most illustrious representatives of the Annales, a journal that influences historians to this day.


Painted surface imitating the grain of woods such as bird's-eye or tiger maple, oak or mahogany. Used mainly towards the end of the eighteenth century and during the nineteenth century to "add value" to common species like pine.

Groove (Rainure)

A narrow concave moulding cut into surface.


An upholstered armchair with a large, deep seat and low back.

Os de mouton

Term describing a support with a pronounced curve in the form of the stylized leg bone of a sheep. This type of leg and stretcher is associated with chairs in the Louis XIII and Louis XIV manner.


Large, flat pieces are fitted into grooves cut into a wooden frame to create a panel that is then used to form or enclose the doors, drawers or sides of case pieces. Panels are often enhanced by mouldings, carving or painted motifs.

Pied de biche

A curved furniture leg and foot ending in a cloven hoof, hence its name. Associated with furniture in the Louis XIV manner.


Vertical pieces used in the framing of a piece of furniture.

Stretcher, Brace

A wood or metal crosspiece attached to furniture legs or other joins in order to strengthen them.

Tenon and mortise

A very old method of joining wood where the projection at the end of one piece (tenon) is inserted in the same-size hole of another piece (mortise) to form a joint.

trompe l'oeil

Painting intended to create an illusion of reality. A figure can be said to have been done in trompe-l'oeil when it appears to be real. Surfaces can be painted to look like gold, silver, marble or rare and costly species of wood.


An ornamental motif in the form of a scroll of flattered spiral, used especially, but not exclusively, to decorate Louis XV furniture.


After five years of merciless battle, New France fell into English hands in 1760 following the surrender of Montreal. This change in government brought change for the people; all felt the influence of new and unfamiliar trends and styles. The incoming leaders imported new products from England and other British American colonies, while trade in French products was forbidden. Cut off from their traditional French sources of inspiration, the craftsmen, particularly woodworkers and cabinet-makers, gradually integrated Anglo-American design elements into their work.

    Date Created: March 1997 | Last Updated: September 1, 2009