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radassier: A traditional, long Provençal bench, seating at least three people, with a wooden frame and rush seat.
rafraîchissoir: A small chest or table from the 18th century having a cooler for bottles and shelves for plates so that the occupants of a room may self-serve themselves libations without outside interruption. Literally, "refresher."
rail: A horizontal piece in the framework of a chair meant to support vertical members.
rattan: A climbing palm, remarkable for the great length attained by its stems. Commonly used for wickerwork, seats of chairs, walking sticks, etc.
récamier: Term for a daybed or sofa with one high end and one open low end. Takes its name from the 19th century French beauty Juliette Recamier, who often posed on such a sofa for portraits.
reeding: Decorative motif of parallel, convex reed molding. It is the opposite of fluting.
refectory table: A long and narrow table having stretchers close to the floor. These were used in monasteries for the monks to take their meals while seated on one side only of the table. American antique dealers often refer to the French draw leaf table as a refectory table as well.
Régence Period (1700-1730): A transitional period (between the Baroque and the Rococo) of design in France that resulted in greater comfort and more graceful furniture. The style covers the first 30 years of the 18th century when Philippe II, duc d’Orléans, was regent of France — Louis XV was too young to take the throne following Louis XIV's death. The duc d'Orleans was offended by the pretentiousness of Versailles during the Sun King's reign so he moved the royal court to Paris, where courtiers lived in less grandiose private residences. It was in this period that the apartment came into being. Although lavish by today's standards, the apartments of the Régence style were much more intimate than the large manors and chateaus of the prior periods. The furniture was more graceful — fit for a ruler, but not extravagant. Flowing curves replaced symmetrical straight lines and simple wood veneer replaced detailed marquetry. The "S" shaped cabriole leg was introduced and the bombé style commode, with its outwardly curving shape, was created. Motifs included shells, foliage, flowing ribbons, and flowers.
Renaissance Period (1515-1610): The Renaissance or "revival" period that began in Italy during the 14th century, came into its own in France when Frances I, a dedicated patron of the arts, took the throne in 1515. Design was simple in structure with a generous use of classical ornament, such as the acanthus leaf, medallions, animal forms, and pilasters. Oak was the wood of choice. Furniture often featured ornamentation inspired by Michelangelo and Raphael, or depicted mythological or biblical themes. The Henri II buffet, named after the French king who reigned from 1547 to 1559, is the most characteristic piece of furniture from the Renaissance period. These buffets are quite large and often consist of two cabinets with ornately carved doors decorated with mirrors, medallions, and garlands. The support posts often take the form of caryatids. Feet are short and squat.
repoussé: A French term for the method of making a design in relief in metalwork, commonly brass, by hammering from behind so that the decoration projects outward. Literally, "pushed out." The process is distinct from embossing, in which the relief ornament is produced by use of dies.
Restauration Period (1815-1830): Period in Neoclassic design that followed Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo. A reaction to the pomp of the Empire, it fostered an elegance and refinement that was lacking in the grandeur of the previous period. Heavy mahogany woods were replaced with blond woods. Smaller pieces of furniture in small reception rooms and boudoirs came back into fashion. The two brothers of Louis XVI who reigned during this period – the comte de Provence, Louis XVIII (1815-1823) and the last of the Bourbon kings, the comte d'Artois, Charles X (1823-1830) sought to revive the culture of the former monarchies.
rinceau: A decorative motif composed of scrolling foliage.
ring handle: A brass circle commonly used on drawers of the later 18th century.
rocaille: Rococo form of decoration using abstract shells, c and s-scrolls, and rock work in its design.
Rococo: An elaborate, florid style of French design originating in the 18th century following the Baroque era. An asymmetrical motif, it was often overly ornamental. The name is derived from the French words rocaille (rock) and coquille (shell), which are prominent rococo decorative elements. Other motifs included flowers, leaves, and scrolls.
roemer: A traditional 16th century northern European drinking glass for Rhenish wine with a bowl, a hollow cylindrical stem, and conical foot made of a single spiral of glass thread. These glasses appear throughout Flemish Old Master paintings of the 17th century.
rosette: An ornamental motif in the shape of a star or rose.
rush seat: A woven seat where either natural cattail leaf rush, bulrush or man-made paper fiber rush is woven around the four seat rungs or dowels, forming four distinct triangles in the seat pattern.
Louis XVI Rafraîchissoir
Louis XV Draw Leaf (Refectory) Table