Recently discovered in a secluded private chapel nestled within the enchanting Loire Valley in central France, this remarkable pair of mid-19th century polychrome terra cotta chapiteaux is reminiscent of Gothic-style marquees, which were the precursors to big top circus tents. The beige earthenware capitals have some magnificent pastel-colored accents, further accentuated by golden details.
Perhaps the most striking color is the gentle shade of blue that festoons the upper scalloped canopy, brilliantly offset by an ornate ring of meticulously painted foliage. Below this, vertical fluting descends gracefully, culminating in triangular finials, each gilded to perfection. A pink molding, adorned with intricate gold foliate motifs, gracefully spans the space between three proportioned arcades. This architecture features Gothic-style tracery and are crowned by acanthus cups brimming with clusters of golden grapes. Additional Gothic-inspired details grace a lower ring, infilled with regal red and outlined with radiant gold accents. The semi-circular base of these chapiteaux boasts three protruding sections, resplendent in a soothing shade of green, adorned once again with golden leaves, creating a harmonious visual symphony of colors and motifs.
These polychrome terra cotta chapiteaux, steeped in history and brimming with artistic finesse, offer a versatile display opportunity. They can be proudly showcased as capitals, where their intricate details can be appreciated up close, or ingeniously inverted to create a pair of elegant wall etageres, allowing for storage of small artwork and collectibles. Whether admired for their historical significance or cherished for their aesthetic beauty, these chapiteaux are a remarkable find that transports us back to a bygone era of artistic splendor, capturing the essence of the mid-1800s in France with unparalleled grace and sophistication.
CONDITION: Very good antique condition with minor buildup. Light nicks and fleabites with some very light paint losses.