Hand-carved in France, circa 1870, this small brocatelle marble mantel once graced the fireplace of a Parisian apartment. Brocatelle marble is named after the famous Italian fabric because of its resemblance to the pronounced patterns of the silk-rich material. In this case, the gorgeous marble mantel features foliated patterns of violet, yellow, gold and brown. Based on the coloration, the marble for this fireplace was most likely mined in the Jura Mountains of eastern France. This type of marble has been prized as a decorative architectural material for nearly 2000 years. It was known to have been used in Pompeii, and later in France, it was used to decorate buildings in Paris and Versailles.
The molding of the top is quarter-round and arbalete-shaped, with the sinuosity continuing along the lintel beneath. A circular medallion graces the front, set between a pair of raised asymmetrical embellishments. Two smaller medallions have been carved on the legs, once again flanked by geometric shapes. A four-inch thick molding around the feet accentuates the angular stance of the legs. Our brocatelle marble mantel is perfect for a smaller fireplace, such as in a kitchen or bedroom.
Firebox opening: 30 ½ H x 30 ¼ W.
CONDITION: Good antique condition, with light nicks and wear. Old restorations and bonding work can be seen from the back. The mantel currently consists of four pieces of marble.