Illustrated FURNITURE Glossary


Also called
kettle base furniture

French for convex, arched, or humpbacked.

A swelling or flowing curve, a surface which swells outward and then recedes.

This line appears in commodes and chests at the end of the Louis XIV and the Régence periods in France, and reaches its height during the Louis XV or Rococo period. The term bombé often is given to the swollen, overblown commodes of this period. The bombé type of cabinet or drawer furniture also appears in the Venetian Rococo and Chippendale's French style. It is typical of a French base.

Though bombé or kettle base furniture was made in several western European centers, American production was confined to Boston and its environs, Essentially a product of the Baroque movement, the bombé case was long out of fashion abroad by the time of its greatest popularity in eastern Massachusetts about 1780.

In most American examples, the swelled case sides and drawer fronts were sawed out rather than bent with steam.

See also: chest of drawers, chest on chest


Photos and their arrangement © 2005 Chuck LaChiusa
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