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Antique French Louis XVI Neoclassical Buffet Credenza France circa 1780

An antique French Neoclassical painted credenza buffet bas d'armoire with the original paint from France circa 1780. The elegant clean lines of this two door antique buffet are enhanced by the beauty of the remaining original paint that covers the surface. Because there are two doors and no drawers this cabinet is known as a low armoire or in French a "bas d'armoire" which is essentially a tall armoire cut in half at the middle. These pieces were traditionally used for storage as opposed to being opened and closed every day which is why the right cabinet door has a lock plate (known as an escutcheon) used to guide the metal key into the lock. Keyholes were always surrounded by a metal guide in order to protect the timber from the strength of an iron key which could easily mar the softer material. Another advantage to using an escutcheon was the generally low level of light, especially in an eighteenth century interior, as the metal made the keyhole more visible. Even though the left door is also affixed with an escutcheon it is merely there to provide balance and symmetry as the left door may only be opened once the right hand cabinet door is open. The entire body of the cabinet is in the form of a rectangle with the front corners each faced at a fourty five degree angle to the front facade that contains the cabinet doors. This shape is also followed by the top of the piece that extends slightly beyond the width and depth. Please notice that the four feet that support the cabinet echo this shape with the slight taper on each of the four sides of each foot. These strong geometric lines are emblematic of the move away from the curves of the Rococo into the straighter lines of the Neoclassical Style seen across Europe at the end of the eighteenth century. Even furniture such as this buffet that was made for a more provincial interior followed the trends set by fashionable interiors seen in the capitals of all major European cities. Please pay particular attention to each of the cabinet doors with their raised and carved decoration. Unexpectedly both doors are carved to resemble formal curtains with long panels at the left and right sides that frame a pelmet with three elaborate tassels. This treatment was up to the minute and au courant with the latest taste in wonderfully decorated homes and shows how designs were disseminated by the common use of engravings bound in books that were published and sold around the world. There was a voracious hunger for the most current trends and taste even in rather remote parts of the world. Cabinet makers studied these books and made available to their clients at all levels of affluence access to "fashion a la mode". The remarkable thing about the combination of the painted surface and the distinctive carving on this cabinet is how contemporary it feels. The clean lines are right in keeping with current taste in the early twenty first century and the symmetrical carving fits in with the desire for restraint seen in so many designed interiors published in magazines. The texture of the antique pine timber with its variegation in the painted surface possesses a tactile quality especially visible in our current electrically lighted homes and is delightful to the touch. The usefulness of the interior storage remains intact as both doors open fully to reveal an interior bisected with a shelf. Overall this remains a piece that will animate a room with its subtle antique persona that gives a sense of depth and patina whether used alone or with other antique furnishings.

# DN9

DIMENSIONS

47.00" w x 19.00" d x 37.00" h

119.38cm w x 48.26cm d x 93.98cm h

An antique German Neoclassical period bas d'armoire or buffet with the original paint circa 1780. The elegant clean lines of this two door antique buffet are enhanced by the beauty of the remaining original paint that covers the surface. Because there are two doors and no drawers this cabinet is known as a low armoire or in French a "bas d'armoire" which is essentially a tall armoire cut in half at the middle. These pieces were traditionally used for storage as opposed to being opened and closed every day which is why the right cabinet door has a lock plate (known as an escutcheon) used to guide the metal key into the lock. Keyholes were always surrounded by a metal guide in order to protect the timber from the strength of an iron key which could easily mar the softer material. Another advantage to using an escutcheon was the generally low level of light, especially in an eighteenth century interior, as the metal made the keyhole more visible. Even though the left door is also affixed with an escutcheon it is merely there to provide balance and symmetry as the left door may only be opened once the right hand cabinet door is open. The entire body of the cabinet is in the form of a rectangle with the front corners each faced at a fourty five degree angle to the front facade that contains the cabinet doors. This shape is also followed by the top of the piece that extends slightly beyond the width and depth. Please notice that the four feet that support the cabinet echo this shape with the slight taper on each of the four sides of each foot. These strong geometric lines are emblematic of the move away from the curves of the Rococo into the straighter lines of the Neoclassical Style seen across Europe at the end of the eighteenth century. Even furniture such as this buffet that was made for a more provincial interior followed the trends set by fashionable interiors seen in the capitals of all major European cities. Please pay particular attention to each of the cabinet doors with their raised and carved decoration. Unexpectedly both doors are carved to resemble formal curtains with long panels at the left and right sides that frame a pelmet with three elaborate tassels. This treatment was up to the minute and au courant with the latest taste in wonderfully decorated homes and shows how designs were disseminated by the common use of engravings bound in books that were published and sold around the world. There was a voracious hunger for the most current trends and taste even in rather remote parts of the world. Cabinet makers studied these books and made available to their clients at all levels of affluence access to "fashion a la mode". The remarkable thing about the combination of the painted surface and the distinctive carving on this cabinet is how contemporary it feels. The clean lines are right in keeping with current taste in the early twenty first century and the symmetrical carving fits in with the desire for restraint seen in so many designed interiors published in magazines. The texture of the antique pine timber with its variegation in the painted surface possesses a tactile quality especially visible in our current electrically lighted homes and is delightful to the touch. The usefulness of the interior storage remains intact as both doors open fully to reveal an interior bisected with a shelf. Overall this remains a piece that will animate a room with its subtle antique persona that gives a sense of depth and patina whether used alone or with other antique furnishings.