A fascinating remnant from 18th century France, this oak buffet deux corps has a hand-painted light blue exterior. The backside has been constructed in a very raw manner; a result of the rectangular panels being hand-carved by billhooks. The unique cabinet was most likely a wedding dowry for a French couple in the 1700’s.
The crown of the upper body is embellished by quarter round molding that runs behind a central carving of a fruit and floral bouquet cascading from a fluted urn. Behind the high-relief carving is a pair of horizontal margents, also consisting of fruit and flowers. Two elaborately carved doors on iron hinges open to reveal two full-length shelves among the painted interior. Scrolled and airy moldings add to the grace of the doors, which are adorned with additional fruits, as well as a floral arrangement carved in mid-relief. A chandelle fluted mullion separates the two doors.
There are two doors beneath the molded ledge of the wider lower body. They have been carved similarly to the upper doors, but with fewer scrolls and without the floral arrangements. The painted interior includes a full-length shelf behind the doors that lock via an iron key (as do the doors of the upper section). All four doors have pierced and sinuous metal keyplates. Three layers of molding constitute a thick base that wraps around the front and both sides.
According to a centuries-old custom, French fathers would give specially commissioned pieces of furniture to their daughters whenever they become engaged. The item would be sent with the bride-to-be to her new house, packed with her belongings. This custom is no longer popular in Europe, but pieces from the 17th and 18th centuries, such as our lovely painted oak buffet deux corps, still exist.
CONDITION: Good antique condition with wear commensurate to age and use, including light age separations and old fills and repairs. Minor rubs and losses to the paint. Paint likely not original. Please see photos for details.