French in style, but Egyptian in production, this imposing pair of stripped entry doors once adorned a courthouse in Cairo, Egypt, circa 1900.
In the 19th century, France began to establish a new empire in Africa and Southeast Asia. Most of the French territories in Africa were in the Northwest part of the continent. Egypt was never a colony, although they were greatly influenced by the French. At the end of the 18th century, Napoleon began a military campaign that took him to Egypt. By the time he left in the early 1800’s, Egyptian culture had been greatly affected by France. During the Belle Epoque, which was the 30-40 year period prior to World War I, Egyptian missions were sent to France to acquire knowledge in the arts and sciences. When they returned to Egypt, they brought with them the influence of the French middle class. The culture of France could be seen throughout the entire city, especially downtown, where old photographs show a striking resemblance to parts of Paris.
These large and sturdy entry doors were once a part of a courthouse in Cairo. Both sides of the door frontages are symmetrical in appearance, with the exception of the iron door knocker in the style of a clenched fist that is on the right door. Near the top and bottom of each door are raised carved circles. In between these sets of medallions are similarly carved ovate ornamentation. On the medial side of each door is a turned iron pull handle. The mullion that separates the two doors is a banded column that terminates in a geometric shape with diaper pattern.
The iron hinge straps are present on the back side of the doors, and if you look closely at the sides of the doors, you will notice the mortise and tenon construction, which was the traditional method of joining door frames and panels, due to the resulting strength of the joint. The back of the doors exhibit 3 paneled sections. The doors are very heavy and constructed of oak and pine, and they have been stripped of their original finish at some point in their history, with traces of old white gesso remaining.
Versatile and stunning, these large antique doors can be used as entry doors, or interior doors.
CONDITION: Strong and solid, with some old restorations to wood, small losses, slight age separations, gouges, etc. Wear commensurate to age and use.