From Provence, France, this rare pair of bonnetieres was hand-carved in walnut wood in the 1800’s. A bonnetiere is a tall and narrow storage cabinet, like an armoire, but typically smaller and with one door. Typically found in the entrances of French homes during, they became popular during the late 18th century and were used to store women’s coats and bonnets (hence the name).
Both bonnetieres feature a removable crown with rounded corners and several layers of molding above beading. Directly beneath the crown is a frieze adorned with a beautiful mid-relief carving of a woven thatch basket surrounded by elongated scrolls with oak leaf embellishments. Doors open on iron hinges to reveal four shelves per cabinet. A pierced and polished steel keyplate runs vertically along the edge of each door beside a long mullion, which are adorned with thin molding and three distinct carvings: a foliate margent at the top, a middle floral margent, and a pair of wheat stalks at the bottom. The upper panel of each door is asymmetrically shaped and has been filled with grillage, allowing the uppermost shelves to be seen from the outside. The aprons feature lovely carvings of footed urns overflowing with flowers. Leaf-like drapery swags with additional flowers run through the urn handles. Scrolls along the bottom of the apron flow seamlessly into roquillard front feet, while the back feet are blocked.
Upon further inspection of our pair of bonnetieres, you might notice that the carvings are not the same on each cabinet. One of the thatched baskets of the frieze is filled with fruit, while the other one is covered in flowers. The asymmetrically shaped bottom panels on the doors depict similarly carved trophies with crinkled ribbons and flowers, but with different themes. One has farming-related embellishments, such as a wheat sheaf, a pitchfork, and a gourd canteen. The other trophy is musical, with several instruments and music sheets.
This rare pair of 19th century walnut bonnetieres can be used as storage/display pieces where space is limited. Beyond the functionality, they are masterfully carved and beautiful pieces of furniture that will be focal points of any room.
CONDITION: Good antique condition with wear commensurate to age and use, including minor nicks, losses, and visible fills. Light age separations. Old repairs, specifically to the side panels. Each bonnetiere has its own key which operates a functioning lock.