Tag Archives: Brittany Style Furniture

Client Spotlight: Brittany Antique Longcase Clock

Antique Brittany ClockTick tock, tick tock! A few months have passed since our customer Loren G. in McKinney, TX, sent photos of the antique Brittany clock that she bought from us. Now it’s time to show you Loren’s lovely home where the antique French longcase clock marks the days in style.

This is the French Breton-style grandfather clock, dating to about 1880 or 1900 and crafted in chestnut wood with an elaborately hand-carved case. The gorgeous antique clock shows scenes from daily life in Brittany, France, as is typical of Brittany style antique furniture.

Around the enamel clock face, pressed brass decorative detail depicting bouquets of flowers suggest that it might have been made as a wedding gift for some lucky couple.  Here is the clock in Loren’s house.

French Antique Clock

The pendulum is adorned with glorious sunflowers and the lower door features carved grape leaves, symbolizing joie de vivre and abundant good wishes for the married couple.
I love how authentic it looks against those Belle Epoque style swagged red drapes.

French Antique Grandfather Clock

This photo shows the longcase clock with the other furniture in the room. Loren has done a delightful job in her pairing of the dining table and chairs and the clock, as well as with her perfect choice of accessories. That chandelier! Those candles! And that handsome wood floor too! It provides the perfect backdrop for the space.

The antique French clock strikes the hour and half hour and if you want to hear what the strike sounds like, you can hear it on our YouTube video. It’s only 23 seconds long but we got a bit arty with that video and the French backing music! The clock strike is very pretty.

Antique Clock being packed for transitWhen Loren purchased the antique Brittany clock from us, we crated it very carefully to make sure it arrived safely. This photo shows the packing process. You can see that there was NO WAY we were going to let any harm come to that precious cargo on its way to Texas. I’m only surprised that one of the cats didn’t end up traveling WITH the clock. You know how they are about jumping into any box to make it home!

A big thank you to Loren for sending us photos of this impressive grandfather clock looking so wonderful in its new home.

If you like the Brittany traditional decor style, then browse more of my blog posts about Brittany antique furniture. If you are looking for a clock, you’re sure to find something that will tick with your decor in our selection of antique-inspired, vintage and antique clocks.

AimeeAvatarAimee owns EuroLuxHome.com with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or connect with EuroLux on Google+. Or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

Client Spotlight: Antique Brittany Furniture for Victorian Restoration

Angela M. recently bought several pieces of antique Brittany furniture from our gallery for the beautiful Victorian house that she is restoring in Galveston, TX.  The 1890 Victorian was almost completely gutted by fire about two decades ago. Here is the photo Angela sent us of the outside of the house as it looked nearly 120 years ago in the year 1894.

Our client's Victorian restoration home as looked in 1894

And below is a photo of the house “under new management” last year. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Front closeup

Angela says that the house is known for the lovely detailing around the porch of mariner’s wheels.  The white paint on the porch really makes those wheels stand out! Antique Brittany furniture is a perfect choice for the interior. The Brittany style often features maritime details such as ship’s wheels in tribute to coastal Brittany’s sea-faring history.

Brittany armoire 14-2A-1This is one of the pieces of antique Brittany furniture Angela chose for the house. It’s a display cabinet or bookcase dating to 1880, carved in chestnut with a beveled glass door. You can see the large ship’s wheel at the top of the French cabinet, tying in with the maritime theme of the house porch. The two galleries of spindles along the top and bottom of the bookcase are typical of Brittany style furniture. So are the hand-carved rosettes adorning the bottom drawer.
Antique Brittany Table KC-33A-1Angela also picked this Brittany style chestnut dining table dating to 1880. It’s a real stunner and the French craftsmanship is superb. Each leg boasts a carved figurine of a man or a woman wearing period regional costume. Carved figures of French country folk like these often decorate antique Brittany furniture. They are one of the most delightful characteristics of the style. The central stretcher beneath the table once again features a carved ship’s wheel.

Antique Brittany chairs KC-33B-1To match the table, Angela chose this splendid set of six Brittany dining chairs. Crafted in France in around 1880, the chestnut chairs are carved with an arched gallery of spindles on the crest rail. Each chair back features a carving of a French man or woman in happy pastoral scenes. Some of them are playing bagpipes. If you’re wondering why French country folk are playing bagpipes – an instrument that normally makes us think of Scotland – here’s the reason. Brittany is historically a Celtic nation, like Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. Similar Celtic traditions and symbols appear in all those regions as they had such close cultural ties. Hence the bagpipes, which are often portrayed on antique Brittany furniture.

Due to Angela’s arthritis, she is having much of the Victorian restoration work done for her. We all know these things take time! But we hope she sends us photos of the antique Brittany furniture in place once the house is further along. Angela says “I should have waited a while to buy furniture, but I love the Brittany style and just couldn’t resist!”

We’re glad she gave in to temptation. She chose some exceptional furniture that will blend perfectly into the stately Victorian house and stay true to the exterior’s maritime theme.

Aimee owns EuroLuxAntiques.com with her best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way.  She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Connect with or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.

What is Brittany Style Antique Furniture?

Do you like very heavily carved and dark antique furniture?  Do you collect or admire Folk Art?  Do you love Quimper pottery (the hand-painted style of ceramics from northwest France)?  The Brittany Style of antique furniture is not for everyone, but chances are if you like ornate and elaborately hand-carved furniture and appreciate the rustic quality of Folk Art, you will love antique furniture in the Brittany Style.

Located in the northwestern corner of France, the French province of Brittany, also known as Bretagne, was once an independent kingdom called Lesser Britain.  Brittany is still recognized as one of the six Celtic nations in the world today, as the Celtic language, Breton, is still spoken there and many Celtic traditions still survive today.  Drawing on the ornate and symbolic nature of Celtic Art, antique furniture produced in Brittany at the end of the 19th century was heavily carved and told a story through its symbolic carvings.

The rise in popularity of Brittany Style antique furniture can be attributed to a collection of Breton songs, known as The Ballads of Brittany, that was published in 1839 by Théodore Hersart de la Villemarqué.  This collection was put together based on the centuries old oral tradition that had been handed down from generation to generation in Brittany and its intention was to preserve traditional folk tales, legends, and music.

This collection of songs created new interest in the history of the Celtic tradition in Brittany and sparked a great demand throughout France for locally-produced, hand-made Brittany Style furniture.  The Brittany Style of antique furniture is distinctive and easily recognizable due to its very ornate carvings.  The local economy in Brittany was heavily dependent on fishing and maritime activities, so one often finds circles and ship’s wheels as a common decorative motif in the Brittany Style of antique furniture.

Most antique furniture in the Brittany Style was carved out of chestnut, a wood with a very dark finish. A hallmark feature of the Brittany Style of French Country Antique Furniture is the symbolic use of men and women in traditional Celtic dress to represent a strong work ethic, piety, and the enjoyment of life.

Reaping the wheat in the fields with a windmill in the background

Spinning wool into yarn outside a small, thatched cottage

Heads bowed in prayer in thanks for a crop of potatoes at sunset

Another prayer of thanks for the blessings of the field, with a view of the town’s cathedral in the distance

Enjoying a pipe, and each other’s company, at the end of a long day

On the way to the local pub to enjoy a beer or glass of wine, and perhaps a little smooching…

Relaxing at the end of the day and enjoying music played on a flute or the bagpipes…

The Brittany Style harkened back to the romantic ideal of a simpler time of days long gone.  Even at the end of the 19th century, it seems our ancestors looked back fondly on the old days.  Antique Furniture in the Brittany Style, while expertly carved by hand, has a rather primitive or rustic nature to it, both in subject matter and style, that elicits the sense that it truly should be classified as Folk Art.

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the distinctive French Country Brittany Style of antique furniture. It is one of our favorites at EuroLux Antiques!  Please let me know if I can answer any questions for you.

Thanks for stopping by the EuroLux Antiques’ Blog!


 Aimee owns EuroLuxAntiques.com with her best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way.  She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina.  Connect with or sign up to receive this blog in your inbox!

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