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Shapely Legs and Pretty Feet (Part 1)

Updated: Feb 3

Do you ever just fall in love with shapely legs? Vintage furniture can be very seductive, can't it?


Leg styles are key, not only to the appearance and function of a piece of furniture, but they can also give us a clue as to when a piece was made, especially if looked at together with different styles of feet. Being able to recognise some types and periods can be a bit of fun, even with "reproductions", you don't need to own an expensive collection of antiques to enjoy this. I adore browsing in local charity shops and vintage treasure troves to see what I can spot.


So, I thought I'd share my quick "whistlestop tour" of legs with you. It's in two parts, so look out for the second one to follow as well.


Starting with The Cabriole Leg


Many of you might recognise our first one as it's often part of Queen Anne or Chippendale antiques, along with the many reproduction pieces that combine various styles:


Cabriole is very popular, with the knee curving outwards and the ankle curving inwards. In Queen Anne styling, it often has a pad foot, seen here in my "Florentina" piece...

and with Chippendale style, might feature a ball and claw foot, like this "Palme D'or" cabinet...

Next, The Fluted Leg and here, the legs have been inspired by ancient Greek columns, with a series of rounded grooves or channels carved vertically into a straight leg at regular intervals. I've shown this piece from my storage unit while it's waiting to be commissioned:

And The Reeded Leg is another classic modelled on ancient Greek and Roman designs, which took over from the Fluted leg over time. I have some of these on my furniture at home, you might too? You can spot it by its rounded ridges or grooves, like featured here on this piece in the workshop (which became the "Almond Blossom" cabinet):

Then The Marlborough Leg is a straight, square furniture leg, often plain but can be carved too. It can have a block foot or can be footless, and some versions are very slightly tapered. It really makes for a substantial solid leg often used on chairs, tables, and bedsteads! This plant stand at home has Marlborough style legs, sitting next to some cabriole ones...


I hope you enjoyed this quick "whistlestop" tour through my favourite shapely leg styles. If you would like to know more about what I do or would like to discuss a commission, please don't hesitate to fill in the contact form on my website or email nina@ladygriddlebone.com, and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

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