Produced by a master artisan in France in the late 1800’s, this pair of walnut valances were hand-carved in walnut wood in the style of Louis XV. Like most Louis XV pieces, the carvings of our valances feature movement indicative of life, inherently creating elegance.
The focal point of each valance is a central cartouche carved in relief of a gadrooned leaf surrounded by scrolls. The edges of the scrolls slope downwards to a much larger gadrooned leaf with curled tips. These cartouches are inspired by the Rococo, which was an ornamental style that appeared during the reign of Louis XV. Rococo pieces were known for having partially asymmetrically arranged C-scrolls, flowers, and foliage.
Emanating from each side of the cartouche is a gently flowing S-scroll that is topped with floral carvings, most notably a cupped bloom rose. The bottoms of the scrolls have gadrooned and curled leaf. There is another elegant scroll adjacent to this, with the meeting point covered by a volute acanthus leaf. On the outside of this is a 90-degree arm that is shaped and has a slightly concavity on the facing. Each arm is adorned with a scroll and an acanthus leaf, while the inflection point has a large foliate medallion in relief of a spiral leaf with curled tips.
A valance is a type of cornice (in modern times referred to as a “French return rod”) that is used in a window treatment. The valance would be affixed to the wall above the top of a window. Curtains or specialty fabric would be affixed to the valance and hang a few inches in front of the glass. In the mid-1700’s, only nobility and the upper class could afford window coverings. By the early 19th century, when the middle class began to grow in number and prestige, window dressings began to spread in popularity. This pair of well-carved walnut valances can still be used as intended. You could also hang these above a bed that is against a wall and use them in lieu of a bed corona.
CONDITION: Good antique condition with age separations and repair to the tip of one crown. Minor rubs and losses, specifically to the arm of one valance and tips of leaf curls on both.