The shape and build of the stuffing are obviously an important stage in upholstered furniture as it will differ between an OK upholstery and a perfect upholstery job. A major phase in a successful work. The choice is not only in the measure but in the supplies used, the amount and where it is placed should be determined by the shape of the frame.
If the upholsterer has not done a good job, you will see it. In any case, time will tell!
Each period in time such as Louis XIII, Louis XIV, Louis XV,… Empire and so on, has its own style, the wood frame is either straight or with curves, painted, gilded, carved with decorative elements (organic and/or animal, or instrumental) specific to a particular style.
Century ago, upholsterer made the upholstery according to the frame they had in the front of them. Natural fillings such as curled hair, coir, fiber and wool felts are replaced by foam of various density and thickness. Putting too much or too little filling on a chair seat will change the look of that piece. Loosing up the lines on a wing chair in the stuffing can spoil the effect of the item. Each piece of work is different from another, and density, height and proportion have a bearing on the work as it progresses.
Today, we are looking at Louis XVI furniture.
Chairs and settee were upholstered either with Aubusson or Beauvais tapestry, designed and shaped specially to fit the back. Beautiful silks, brocades, lampas and satin striped fabrics with delicate pastel tones were the trend during the late 18 C, with some exceptions of single bright colors.
Lets look at the volume of the stuffing in a chair.
The height of the seat is given by the base of the console holding the armrest. The padding needs to be firm. It is an art in handling and working with natural fillings and as a fact with foam too. it begins with the ability to measure the amounts of stuffing by feel, and progress through set methods to create an even thickness and a density to suit each piece.
The inside arms is a place where the volume is necessary, also it brings comfort and gives a visual harmony to the ensemble as the stuffing follows the line of the frame.
The armrests are often too skimpy and most of the time nonexistent. The angular wood frame dictate the shape of arm pads. The fabric on this armchair is a pale green glazed linen.
If frames decide the volume of the upholstery, we can say that Louis XVI have upholstery edge shapes the size of the pinky finger. The key is good proportion, keep a balance between upholstered areas and the surrounding framework. Any artist, maker of all have the same challenge.