Made from 19th century French oak, this fireplace mantel has been meticulously carved in the Renaissance style. French Renaissance furniture features carved decorations, rich with ornamentation. During the latter half of the 1800’s, heavily carved pieces emulating those created hundreds of years prior, came into fashion. The mantel seen here is an example of one of the finer creations, as evidenced by masterful and plentiful, deep, interesting carvings.
The trim of the top mantel board has been embellished with a repeating egg and dart motif, separated by acanthus leaf corners. The side headers and legs have identical carvings, including egg and dart and battlement molding, foliate margents, and acanthus leaf medallions. An important element of the headers is a large medallion cartouche that sits on top of two cornucopia overflowing with fruits and nuts.
The front center of the fireplace depicts a wonderful scene of a pair of winged putti and a dog. The dog, framed in a circular molding, is being tugged by teasing putti which pull him by an acanthus leash. On the outside of each putti is a floral and foliate curl dotted with fruit, and the corners of the header are adorned with the bust of a woman wearing a cloth headdress. Each bust terminates into two sets of scrolls, with the bottom scroll forming a mascaron, or an architectural face.
The top plinths of the front of the mantel are perfectly carved caryatids, with their hands over their chest. They have only been carved from the waist up and you can see a garment is wrapped around their waist. The sides of each caryatid are a volute, while the legs beneath are adorned with vines full of fruits and gourds. The bottom plinth contains another mascaron and an acanthus rosette, separated by stepped molding.
This unbelievably detailed 19th century French Renaissance style mantel would make a statement if placed around any fireplace. The original dark stain has been removed to add a lightness and versatility to the piece, while still showcasing its incredible detail.
CONDITION: Good antique condition. Minor nicks and age splits (upper left and right side) with remnants of the original finish. Piece is held together by dowels, but can be disassembled up for transport