This fantastic walnut wood armoire was hand-carved in Lyon (southeast France) in the 1700’s. 18th century armoires from Lyon are quite distinct, thanks to techniques used by ebenistes to make their furniture standout from other woodworkers throughout the country.
While armoires from the region were rectilinear in shape, crowns were typically arched with highly carved pediments. Notice how our armoire has a gorgeous cartouche featuring a gadrooned and curled leaf flanked by a horizontal margent of gadrooned leaves that transition into flowers. This ornamentation was very much influenced by the rococo stylings that were prevalent at the time.
Three iron hinges support each of the high arching doors. Like the crown, the doors feature rococo relief cartouches depicting scalloped and curled leaves that sit on heads of two volute scrolls. The scrolls are part of the molding that forms the upper panel of each door. There are two more panels below, each with their own impressive moldings. The doors are definitively Lyonnaise: abundantly molded with three panels that are marked by movement and life. Interestingly, locks and keyplates of Lyon armoires were almost always adjacent to a concave or triangular section of molding, just as ours is.
Two full-length shelves divide the interior, with one positioned near the top and the other in the middle. The lower shelf is unique in that three pullout drawers are built into the 6 ½ inch thick ledge. The armoire has a highly stepped linear base with four block feet beneath.
The beautiful design, as well as the use of “flame” walnut wood (see photos of the door panels), makes this 18th century Lyonnaise armoire a statement piece. It can be used in any bedroom or living room.
CONDITION: Good condition with wear commensurate to age and use with minor rubs and age separations. Fleabites to wood with traces of old worm. Buildup to the interior and remnants of old paper lining the back wall. One key works the functioning lock on each of the three drawers.