This impressive French armoire is made from stripped oak wood and was produced in the early 1700’s. It was crafted during the Regence period and is considered an armoire de mariage (wedding armoire).
The finish of our armoire had been stripped at some point in time, revealing excellent color and stunning oak wood grain. Under the shaped crown with quarter-round molding is a large central cartouche of two birds in a display of courtship, symbolizing marriage. The birds are perched on a foliate protrusion adorned with sinuous leaves, flora, and a margent.
Beneath the cartouche are a pair of elaborate asymmetrical doors with step molding inside of a recessed channel. The doors are adorned with birds, curled leaves, C-scrolls, and foliate vines with floral elements. Both doors have bronze hinges and matching lock plates, however only the right door has an external lock (key included). The left door is secured by a pair of interior latches at the top and the bottom of the door. Behind the doors are five removeable full-length shelves.
Below the doors are a pair of 24-inch-wide drawers with quatrefoil bronze pulls that are separated by an oval carving. The armoire sits on large, highly carved block feet in the front, while the back feet are more traditional blocks. The armoire was constructed using mortis and tenons with round dowel pegs to secure the joints. This style of substantial block feet was prevalent in the late Louis XIV and Regence period, just before the curved cabriolet legs of Louis XV armoires.
According to a centuries-old custom, French fathers would give specially commissioned pieces of furniture to their daughters whenever they become engaged. It is said that as early as the daughters birth, a tree from the fathers property would have been chosen and chopped down so that the drying of the wood could commence. The armoire would be sent with the bride-to-be to her new house, packed with her trousseau, or linen collection. The wealthier the bride’s family was, the more extravagant the dowry. Based on the imposing size and the intricate carvings, this armoire might have come from a very wealthy family.
French Oak was the preferred wood during the Regence period, and this armoire’s lightened finish is quite unique for a piece of this type and age. It would look stunning against against a crisp white wall.
CONDITION: Good overall condition with wear commensurate to age and use with minor losses and age separations. Professional repairs to crown, upper moldings, and right drawer. Old repairs include replaced central guiderail for drawers. Slight oxidation to hinges. Key is included. For shipping, crown, doors, and shelves will be removed.