Country French Antiques
French Country antiques have been a delight to connoisseurs of antique pieces for decades. With the French antique armoires, chairs, chandeliers and tables amongst the most popular.
French furniture comprises of both of the sophisticated items from Paris produced for the aristocracy and the rich, and furniture from the French provincial towns and cities that showcase the talent that was available in the provinces. The grand tradition of French royal furniture received its impetus from the establishment with the Manufacture royale des Gobelins, primarily for Louis XIV of France. From the other popular styles from France, was the items of furniture from outlying provinces that stayed largely unchanged through to mid nineteenth century.
During this time furniture was primarily functional and practical, restricted to several pieces, for example tables, benches, stools and beds. Carving showed wealth or was applied for dowry pieces. This period covers the Romanesque and Gothic eras.
Although Gothic styles continued in the 16th century, the influence of the Italian Renaissance was soon felt in France. Antique Furniture became less heavy, convenient and even more decorated. Renaissance palaces were particularly ornamental.
Over the seventeenth century it was a time period of exploration and discovery, and also religious and political unrest. New wealth changed both the styles and way of living. Over the first half of the century furniture design was covered with the elegance of the Renaissance, but gradually changed for the baroque, an immense ornate style springing up form Italy. Baroque reached its height in France under Louise XIV.
The first time people expected their furniture to be comfortable, in addition to beautiful.
The golden age of cabinet making, reflected the elaborate social customs during the day. Industrial development, international trade as well as the migration of craftsmen created prosperity and an exchange of ideas. Furniture was becoming dependent on trade from the Orient. Foreign materials, especially mahogany, played an important role and also the utilization of satinwood influenced design.
New pieces and appeared. Styles from France, migrated to England then America. There was a specific liking for small tables and cabinets, commodes, and huge writing tables. Furniture styles changed from the massive ornate baroque of Louise XIV towards the delicate decorated rococo of Louis XV, then for the neo-classicism of Louis XVI and Directoire.
A time period of decorative conflict and a wave of classic was inspired from the discovery of the ruins of Pompeii and social unrest after the 1700s. Expression became congruous towards Louis XV, Directoire and Empire styles. While cabinetmakers exploited new industrialised techniques, they maintained an involvement in yesteryear. Elements of design were borrowed from ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. A renewed curiosity about the Middle Ages led to Gothic details. Renaissance forms were also admired, and cabinetmakers made enormous walnut buffets. 1700s styles were also thrown into the pot - it had been an eclectic mix.
Modern materials and technology changed traditional construction methods, using the focus on the functional. Wood remained the most widely used material, but glass, metal and plastics were also becoming used more widely. Beauty was offered by structure and materials, as an alternative to surface ornamentation. Furniture was scaled to modern houses and apartments. A desire for traditional styles ended in antique collecting and also 'antiquing' and reproduction pieces.
Though modernism in furniture has that is set in, antique pieces will likely be cherished all of which will withstand the test of time during the future specially in the french Country Furniture genre.
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