Marjorie Merriweather Post (1887-1973) became a discerning collector of French eighteenth-century furniture in the early 1920s. Throughout her life, she continued to pursue this interest and built one of the most important collections of French 18th-century furnishings in America assembled by a single collector. At Hillwood, her residence in Washington D.C., Mrs. Post displayed her furniture, together with her other Russian and French decorative objects, in a uniquely grand manner. This book explores the main factors that contributed to the high level of artistic achievement in cabinetry and joinery in 18th-century France. In artistic terms, the development of furniture in the 18th century was intimately linked to changes in domestic architecture and to the emergence of a variety of small, private spaces in addition to the ceremonial rooms traditional in houses of distinction. The appearance of less formal spaces was tied to a growing desire for a lifestyle on the fringes of protocol and officialdom. In furniture terms, these factors translated into the creation of more comfortable pieces in an astonishing variety of shapes. The exquisite craftsmanship of most Parisian furniture of the 19th-century catered to the demands of a highly sophisticated society that became recognized throughout Europe as the undisputed leader in matters of art and design.