Back again with some granny gossip. First the historical facts, though. Then the fun!
The Meridienne is a sofa-chaise-longue hybrid, of an asymmetrical shape, featuring a sloping back, starting form the higher headrest to the shorter curved footrest. It has been developed in the early 1800s, during the English Regency and the French Empire, though the one in the picture above is a later German Biedermeier. It reminds of the Ancient Greece furniture style, but this is on purpose, as back then, the Europeans had a thing for the ancient cultures, Egypt, Rome, Greece. Pretty much everything that was popular in the ancient empires, was revived late 1700s, early 1800s, all that being triggered by that little man known by the name of Napoleon Bonaparte and his
imperialistic ambitions love for ancient design, uncovered during archeological expeditions.
The Meridienne sofa is sometimes also referred to, as Grecian daybed (now it’s clear why!), Recamier (ring a bell?) or fainting couch (fainting used to be quite popular). Nevertheless the actual Recamier is a variation of the Meridienne sofa, having usually no back connecting the headrest to the footrest.
Well, I guess Madame Recamier is not a stranger to anyone? After all, a piece of furniture was named after her. No, she didn’t designed the piece of furniture named after her, nor did she built it, as you might be tempted to think. No, Madame Recamier was not some kind of Ray Eames. Nope. Madame Recamier loved to rest on this piece of furniture bearing her name today… The clue? She was an educated and beautiful women, literature lover, well connected to the cultural and political society of her times, friend, lover, influencer and confident to powerful, famous and sometimes controversial men, like Chateaubriand, Ampere, Prince Augustus of Prussia and some more, but I don’t name them here as you might think I would know history, which I stink at. So men loved her, and most women gossiped about her. Yeah, nothing changed in 200 years! She was accused of having married her father, for heirloom reasons (nevertheless the marriage was never consummated) and allegedly she remained a virgin till late into her 30s (which is ok, if she really married her natural father, where’s the sin?).
I’ll stop with the tabloid information, it’s a serious blog here, and I’m grateful to Madame Recamier for making a piece of furniture famous. It’s not just A piece of furniture, as it remained popular through all later periods and styles, until today.
Well, having said this, I might end up with a lot of sofas on my wish list, but I’ll add this one too.