Boiseries, or wood paneled rooms, were extremely popular in 18th century French architecture. An important element typically found in this type of room is the overdoor. An overdoor is a panel that is inset, above a door, typically in a horizontal orientation. The motif of the overdoor would match the decoration seen on the other panels in the room. An overdoor could be a painting, a molded shelf, or a bas-relief carving such as ours.
Bas-relief is a technique of carving where an image is projected in a shallow depth. If viewed from the side, the depth is distorted. However, when viewed from the front, the carved scene appears in three dimensions.
The scene on our French oak overdoor is a trophy carving surrounded by foliate and floral motifs. In the upper corners of the overdoor are curled acanthus leaves. The leaves traverse across the top of the panel to flank a cartouche of a stylized shell in the middle of the wood. Directly beneath the shell is a crinkled ribbon. In the center of the panel is a quiver of arrows with a stylized shell engraved on it. A bunch of roses are strewn across the front. The quiver lies superimposed over a lit torch, some olive leaves and a long bow whose string has been loosened.
Today, period antique overdoors exhibiting high quality like ours, are a rare find. Oak is a hardwood and is generally difficult to carve. Look closely at the delicate carvings, details, curving lines, and proportion, and you can see that this was done by a master woodworker. The golden coloration of the oak is perfect. Today, this piece can once again be used to decorate the space above an entry, but it will also serve as an exceptional piece of sculptural art. It can also be used as a headboard.
CONDITION: Good condition with minor chips and losses with a few age separations. Eyelets attached on the back.