This set of four Solomonic columns were produced in 19th century France. Each column was hand carved from solid oak wood that has been stripped, revealing some stunning wood grain and details. They are presented as half-columns, although the decorative portion extends just beyond the true midpoint of the column. They would have been commissioned for an interior at some point in the late 1800s, designed to be a focal architectural decor, affixed to a wall.
Solomonic columns are helix-shaped columns that became quite popular in the 17th century in Western Europe. The name Solomonic comes from a legend claiming that 4 massive columns were once taken from the Temple of Solomon (created many thousands of years ago) to decorate St. Peters basilica in the 4th century. It was later determined that the columns (still standing today), were produced in the 2nd Century CE.
The columns seen here, can be, without a doubt, considered “Solomonic”. The bodies of each column have been carved with unbelievable skill and attention to detail. A thick grapevine mixed with quatrefoil flowers runs through the cavetto “channels” of each spiral from the bottom of the capital down to the circular bases that sit on square plinths. A majority of examples of antique columns are decorated with mostly vines and leaves. The columns seen here, exhibit a huge variety of mesmerizing details. Frolicking within the trailing vines are a variety of reptiles, birds, and insects. Some of the noticeable carvings include: a spider building an intricate web, a bird of prey confronting a snake, and a salamander stalking an insect on a leaf. Birds are eating berries, a watchful owl perches himself high upon one of the columns, and detailed motifs flow into and out of each other with great realism. Oak is a strong, hardwood, which makes it difficult to carve such small, precise details. The work done of these is unique and fascinating to study.
These bleached oak Solomonic half-columns were likely originally affixed to a wall as part of a larger decor. They could also be placed back to back for a three dimensional perspective. Unlike any other columns available today, these will make quite a statement in any interior.
CONDITION: Good antique condition with minor losses to motifs and age separations. Traces of old finish can be seen. Capitals and bases lightly affixed for display (removeable for shipping).