This magnificent object is a rare architectural find from France, known as an Oeil-de-boeuf. Oeil-de-boeuf (French for “bulls-eye”) is an architectural term for a round window enclosure. These windows are often found on upper levels of French Chateaux and buildings, sometimes protruding from facades as a dormer. First seen during the Renaissance, they gained popularity during the Baroque period of the 17th and 18th centuries. This example was imported on a shipping container from Paris roughly 20 years ago and has been tucked away in storage ever since.
Our oeil-de-boeuf was made from terra cotta in France, circa 1800. The terra cotta was left in its natural brownish orange color, but years of exposure to the elements has given the earthenware a nice gray patina. The architectural is comprised of six segments that form a 28-inch diameter opening with cavetto molding. In its original installation, a circular window would have been set inside the opening, allowing ample illumination to an otherwise dark interior. A large, raised wreath, bundled with crinkled ribbon, surrounds the opening. The bindings extend beyond the wreath, filling the flatter areas of the segments, which has been textured.
This antique terra cotta oeil-de-boeuf can still be used as originally intended. It can also be used in other architectural capacities, such as a surround for a ceiling ornamental or a frame for a mirror. The segments can also be affixed to a wall, making a stunning decorative piece.
CONDITION: Good antique condition with wear commensurate to age and use, including minor craquelure and acceptable losses. Light buildup, especially to the interior opening. Professional restoration to one segment. Several areas have developed a gray patina from exposure to the elements.