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Antique Limed Oak French Louis XV Louis XVI Transitional Cabinet circa 1780

An antique French Louis XV/Louis XVI transitional period pale limed oak bibliotheque circa 1780. This antique French cabinet represents an intriguing period in French furniture creation. When Louis XV died (1774) and his son assumed the throne as Louis XVI there was already a movement away from the wonderfully curved lines of the rococo toward the lean shapes of the neoclassical taste. The curved top of the crown along with the curve of the tops of the cabinet doors and their division in the middle all belong to designs created during the reign of Louis XV (1723-1774) that flowered into the rambunctiousness of true Rococo. In this cabinet all excess has been stripped away to emphasize the profile of the curve in contrast with the vertical and horizontal lines which exemplify the shapes preferred during the Louis XVI period. The sides and the space between the doors are all delineated with vertical fluting and the moulding around the door panels while simple is also quite deep. By utilizing depth the artisan of this cabinet made certain that the profile would be quite strong when illuminated by the existent fire blazing in the hearth as well as the many candles placed in the room. The sides also feature broad panels defined with deep mouldings. The front feet are a variation of a foot known as a "toupie" seen in many cabinets and chests created during the Louis XVI period. Usually this foot is circular but here is slightly broadened to echo the lines of the cabinet and decorated with the same vertical fluting. In the centre of the apron directly beneath the pair of cabinet doors is a beautifully understated carving of solid wood depicting four triangles set side by side. This motif often was a reference to the Society of Freemasons but it could also be a reminder of the pyramids in Egypt which would be invaded by Napoleon at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The handsome balance of all of the decorative elements of this cabinet within its boundaries represent the power of late eighteenth century French furniture. By using wire grilles in the upper section of each door a closed storage cabinet was transformed into a bookcase or "bibliotheque" where valuable objects and books could be kept safely behind locked doors while being admired as part of the overall decoration in an interior. The use of paint on the inside of a cabinet has a long history amongst all countries including those on the Continent, in England and America as well. Strong colour was more often used than we realize today in the eighteenth century as even well lighted rooms were dim by modern standards. It was quite common to change an interior colour as the exterior walls in a space changed colour as continuity in overall colour and design were highly prized in the seventeen and eighteen hundreds. Most likely this French bookcase display cabinet began with a dark oak finish that was lighted by the use of a lime wash. The grain of the timber is clearly visible and the play of light and dark across its surface is highlighted with the paler colour. Only certain pieces of oak respond to this treatment and reveal this uniform appearance. Please notice how the doors may be reversed in order to use the entire interior as a display cabinet while the beauty of the cabinet door exteriors remain visible. Using this antique bibliotheque in a contemporary setting is an excellent choice to contrast with the simple lines of contemporary design while using this piece in a more traditional application highlights its modern appeal evident more than two hundred years after its creation.

# 0003BJ196

DIMENSIONS

59.00" w x 21.25" d x 98.00" h

149.86cm w x 53.98cm d x 248.92cm h

$7,368.00

An antique French Louis XV/Louis XVI transitional period pale limed oak bibliotheque circa 1780. This antique French cabinet represents an intriguing period in French furniture creation. When Louis XV died (1774) and his son assumed the throne as Louis XVI there was already a movement away from the wonderfully curved lines of the rococo toward the lean shapes of the neoclassical taste. The curved top of the crown along with the curve of the tops of the cabinet doors and their division in the middle all belong to designs created during the reign of Louis XV (1723-1774) that flowered into the rambunctiousness of true Rococo. In this cabinet all excess has been stripped away to emphasize the profile of the curve in contrast with the vertical and horizontal lines which exemplify the shapes preferred during the Louis XVI period. The sides and the space between the doors are all delineated with vertical fluting and the moulding around the door panels while simple is also quite deep. By utilizing depth the artisan of this cabinet made certain that the profile would be quite strong when illuminated by the existent fire blazing in the hearth as well as the many candles placed in the room. The sides also feature broad panels defined with deep mouldings. The front feet are a variation of a foot known as a "toupie" seen in many cabinets and chests created during the Louis XVI period. Usually this foot is circular but here is slightly broadened to echo the lines of the cabinet and decorated with the same vertical fluting. In the centre of the apron directly beneath the pair of cabinet doors is a beautifully understated carving of solid wood depicting four triangles set side by side. This motif often was a reference to the Society of Freemasons but it could also be a reminder of the pyramids in Egypt which would be invaded by Napoleon at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The handsome balance of all of the decorative elements of this cabinet within its boundaries represent the power of late eighteenth century French furniture. By using wire grilles in the upper section of each door a closed storage cabinet was transformed into a bookcase or "bibliotheque" where valuable objects and books could be kept safely behind locked doors while being admired as part of the overall decoration in an interior. The use of paint on the inside of a cabinet has a long history amongst all countries including those on the Continent, in England and America as well. Strong colour was more often used than we realize today in the eighteenth century as even well lighted rooms were dim by modern standards. It was quite common to change an interior colour as the exterior walls in a space changed colour as continuity in overall colour and design were highly prized in the seventeen and eighteen hundreds. Most likely this French bookcase display cabinet began with a dark oak finish that was lighted by the use of a lime wash. The grain of the timber is clearly visible and the play of light and dark across its surface is highlighted with the paler colour. Only certain pieces of oak respond to this treatment and reveal this uniform appearance. Please notice how the doors may be reversed in order to use the entire interior as a display cabinet while the beauty of the cabinet door exteriors remain visible. Using this antique bibliotheque in a contemporary setting is an excellent choice to contrast with the simple lines of contemporary design while using this piece in a more traditional application highlights its modern appeal evident more than two hundred years after its creation.