This rare pair of walnut and olive wood armoires is from Eastern France. The armoires were specially commissioned in the early 1700’s and at one point were property of a chocoladefabriek (chocolate factory) in Strasbourg, located in the region of Alsace, near the German border. The set is considered a near pair, as the tops of the door panel moldings were carved with subtle differences. The ebeniste who created these decided to use Olive wood for the door panels, and two of the side panels. Olive wood was a highly valued wood among wood workers of the 18th century because of its pretty color and the richness and nuances of its veining.
In the center of each crown is a foliate and floral ring surrounding a cherub mascaron. The crown and the top of the door frames have both been carved in an arch, mirroring the shape of the door moldings. Each door is mounted on iron hinges and separated by recessed molding into three uniquely shaped panels of olive wood (the rest of the armoires are constructed of walnut). The upper panels of the doors are adorned with a series of undulating C-scrolls, while the bottom panels are rectangles with concave tops. The two sections are separated by an simple ovate center panel.
The insides of the armoires are not the same: One armoire is lined with floral paper and has three shelves separated by a center vertical divider. The second armoire is unlined without shelves. Two old stickers can be seen in one armoire. One sticker is an old shipping tag from the Imperial Railway of Alsace-Lorraine, which is in German. France ceded the region of Alsace-Lorraine to the German Empire under the terms of the Peace Treaty of Frankfurt following the Franco-Prussian War. The other tag is hand-written, with mention of Mr. Schaal “chocoladefabriek” indicating these armoires were once owned by the Schaal chocolate factory in Strassburg (Strasbourg, France). The chocolate factory was founded in 1871 and is still operating today.
Armoires date back the 17th century when French menuisiers created the storage cabinet to house clothing. Early armoires such as these were without feet (plinth style base) and were often seen in paneled boiserie rooms. It is unusual to see two period armoires of the same design. Our pair of 18th century French walnut and olive wood armoires will instantly add character to any room they are placed in.
CONDITION: Good antique condition, wear commensurate to age and use. Old worming holes, age separations, minor nicks and rubs. A couple of old wood fills. Armoires dismantle completely for transport. New vertical latches to hold left door closed on one armoire.