The reign of Napoleon III, often referred to as “The Second Empire”, featured an amalgamation of styles from previous regimes, ranging from the light and airy Rococo of Louis XV to the more stoic Neoclassical trophies of Louis XVI. Our painted giltwood overdoor from circa 1850 is in the vein of a Regence or Louis XV adaptation of the Napoleon III period. The piece is adorned with flowing motifs inspired by nature, such as the curled leaves, scalloped shell, and deep carvings seen on the overdoor.
A main principle of Napoleon III furnishings was to utilize every inch available, as noted by the gadrooned leaf and rinceaux that emanate from behind the center medallion, forming a sprawling border. The medallion features an amazing high relief carving of a floral bouquet surrounded by curled leaves with scrolled tendrils and raised, asymmetrical panels. At the top is a scalloped shell, which is mimicked by a pair of parted leaves set at an angle in each of the upper corners. All of the carvings are presented in giltwood, which pairs nicely with the cream colored background that is enveloped in a quarter round molding (also gilded). The entire grouping is presented as a raised carving, with a thin board behind it that has tas de sable (sandpit) pilasters topped with block finials flanking the overdoor. Unique to most other antique overdoors, this example retains its original, thick structure of more than one foot in depth, adding a substantial three dimensional feel for any wall on which it is hung.
Originally built into the paneling for a boiserie room, our painted giltwood overdoor can still function as a beautiful over piece to a large interior doorway. It would also make a fascinating headboard or window valance.
CONDITION: Good antique condition with minor age separations and losses to carvings. Some rubs to gilding, resulting in visible red bole, which is a highly sought after look. More recent eyelets were affixed to the top for hanging purposes.