An elegant, vintage Early 19th Century French Empire Mahogany Sofa with three white cushions. The collectable piece features a dark wood frame, curved armrests, and spindle-turned legs. The backrest is slightly reclined and cushioned, adding a touch of classic sophistication to the art of fine furniture. The background is white.

Empire Mahogany Settee

Empire Period Three-Seat Sofa

This finely carved, dark figured mahogany three-seat sofa exemplifies the grandeur and elegance of the Empire style, popular during the early 19th century under Napoleon Bonaparte’s rule.

Design and Characteristics

  1. Scrolls and Strigilated Flutes: The back of the sofa is surmounted by facing scrolls, a common motif in Empire furniture, symbolising classical antiquity. Below the scrolls, strigilated flutes—decorative grooves resembling the curved lines of ancient Roman strigils (scrapers)—add an element of classical refinement and texture to the piece.
  2. Legs: The sofa stands on turned double baluster legs at the front, showcasing skilled craftsmanship and a robust, balanced design. The back legs are sabre-shaped, curved outward, providing both aesthetic appeal and structural stability.
  3. Material: Made of dark figured mahogany, the sofa features a rich, luxurious wood known for its durability and beautiful grain. Mahogany was a favoured material during the Empire period for its ability to be finely carved and polished to a high sheen.

Historical Context and Use

The Empire style sought to convey power and grandeur, often drawing on classical Roman and Greek elements to assert the legitimacy and glory of Napoleon’s regime. Furniture from this period was designed not only to be functional but also to make a strong visual statement in grand interiors.

  • Symbolism: The use of classical motifs such as scrolls and fluting was intended to evoke the splendor of ancient empires, aligning Napoleon’s rule with the greatness of Rome and Greece.
  • Functionality: Despite its elaborate design, Empire furniture was also highly functional. The robust construction and comfortable seating made pieces like this sofa suitable for the grand salons and drawing rooms of the time.
  • Aesthetic: The emphasis on rich materials and intricate detailing reflected the wealth and sophistication of its owners, making such furniture a status symbol in the early 19th century.

Example from Nicholas Wells Antiques

At Nicholas Wells Antiques, you can explore similar pieces that highlight the elegance and craftsmanship of the Empire period. Their collection includes various Empire-style furniture items that showcase the distinctive characteristics of this influential design era.

For further information and to view specific items, visit Nicholas Wells Antiques (Nicholas Wells Antiques Ltd)​​ (Nicholas Wells Antiques Ltd)​.


Nicholas Wells Antiques advisors are available to answer all your questions. 

Please email us or call +44 (0)207 6920 897

Early 19th Century French Empire Mahogany Sofa

Stock Number: 10509

An Empire period finely carved dark figured mahogany three seat sofa, the back is surmounted by facing scrolls with strigilated flutes below. The settee stand on turned double baluster legs at the front and sabre legs at the back.
  • Height: 94 cm (37 inches)
  • Height Of Seat: 46 cm (18.1 inches)
  • Width: 178 cm (70 inches)
  • Depth: 66 cm (26 inches)


This unique piece is subject to availability.
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Telephone: +44 (0) 207 6920 897

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Approximate Dimensions

  • Height: 94 cm (37 inches)
  • Height Of Seat: 46 cm (18.1 inches)
  • Width: 178 cm (70 inches)
  • Depth: 66 cm (26 inches)


Period & Circa Date:


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Our description of any item on the website, any condition report and any other statement made by us (whether orally or in writing) about any item, including about its nature or condition, artist, period, materials, approximate dimensions, or provenance are our opinion and not to be relied upon as a statement of fact.


In the UK Online sales of this kind are known as ‘distance selling’. We offer a refund to customers if you’ve told us within 3 days of receiving the goods that you want to cancel. You have another 14 days to return the goods once you’ve told us of your intention. A refund will be issued within 14 days of receiving the goods back in the same condition. Return shipping should be the same level as received with insurance, we recommend using the same shipper at your cost. If needed we will help organise suitable shipping.

We will refund the purchase price, excluding delivery costs and taxes, within 14 days of the safe receipt of items in the same condition as supplied. The liability for any damage incurred during transit will remain with the sender. We recommend that adequate insurance is placed on items when returning them to us.

All returns must be communicated prior to an item being sent back.

We extend these Return terms to our international clients.

Delivery Options

We will ship worldwide however the costs vary between countries so please email us for a quote. Depending on the item we will recommend the most suitable method.

Our preferred international shipping methods include fine art shippers Gander and White, Art Logistics, Cadogan Tate for items over £5,000. For Fedex, DHL or UPS shipments we expertly pack in-house in wooden crates or heavy duty cardboard – Suitable for most items under £5000. If you have your own shippers we are very happy to coordinate with them.


All items are sent fully insured at the invoice value.


All items are inclusive of all local taxes but may be subject to additional charges for importation and taxes local to the client. Antiques are zero-rated to the USA, all items ship with the correct paperwork. While we are not liable for these additional charges we do encourage clients to research these prior to purchasing items from us. We will make a full value disclosure, as required by the insurance, on all items sent overseas. This is required to ensure proper insurance cover in sending valuable items.


Where required we will oversee the completion of all export licenses for high-value items. We will also arrange for CITES paperwork for materials of endangered species including ivory, tortoiseshell, stuffed birds etc.


This is dependent on the size and value of the object, all items are checked over and polished before shipping and will generally have wooden crates made. This all takes time so expect 10 – 20 working days for delivery unless the item is small in which case 2-3 days from order.


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