This beautiful antique French fireplace mantel was carved in stone during the late 18th century. It’s quite an unusual example in that falls into the transitional style of Louis XV and XVI. This was a short period of time in the 1700’s when the opulent rocaille forms were transitioning into the Neoclassical of Louis XVI. The fireplace has an impressive, deep stance, with a slightly bowed or “galbee” lintel. The bottom of the lintel is composed of a series of rounded and incurved moldings, shaped in the classic crossbow or serpentine form that was so popular in the early to mid 1700’s. What makes this piece stand out from other French Louis XV mantels is the complete lack of shell or large C and S scroll motifs. It is adorned with delicate bas relief carving of trailing flowers across the front of the lintel, and extending down onto the legs. On either side of the foliate and floral carvings along each leg, is long vertical fluting which reaches down to the large block feet. Small floral and foliate carvings and vertical fluting became more prevalent as the end of the 18th century grew nearer.
This fantastic piece is a rare example of a Louis XV/XVI transition fireplace mantel. It retains the beautiful and important form of Louis XV models, but has more subdued and classical carved decoration. Today, this limestone mantel from the 1700s will be a wonderful focal point in any room.
CONDITION: Good antique condition with minor losses and surface buildup as seen in photos