Tag Archives: Brittany Style

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.

Hand-Crafted Home: Heavily Carved Antique Furniture

It was no surprise to me when I saw a design expert in an issue of Oprah magazine talk about the home decor trend for mixing heavily carved antique furniture with contemporary furnishings. I guess it’s no surprise to our customers either! Carved wood buffets, tables, chairs, and other home decor accents are among the most popular items at EuroLuxAntiques.com.

First there’s the pleasure of owning an exclusive, one-off antique, lovingly-created by master craftsmen. Then you have the decorative impact of an ornately carved piece in beautiful aged wood. That’s true whether you enjoy it in a traditional style home, or blended with your modern decor. Either way, the choice shows off your unique personality and taste. Really, it’s hand-crafted history!

This high-quality antique French Renaissance Hunting Buffet (circa 1880) looks great in Susan B.'s living roomWe loved how Susan B. displayed this antique French Renaissance Hunting Buffet (circa 1880) in her living room. It looks great next to an oil painting of Venice, Italy. When we delivered the buffet to Susan in Spartanburg, SC, we learned she chose it because the carved wolf or hunting dog at the top reminded her of her lovely pair of German Shepherds. (See other pictures of Susan’s home and her heavily carved antique furniture in our customer spotlight.)
French Brittany style antique buffet (1880) in highly carved chestnut. EuroLuxAntiques.com

Michelangelo said:
“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” The craftsman who created this Brittany style buffet server or hutch dating to 1880 took his inspiration from the scenes of daily life he saw around him in France. The rich chestnut wood is highly carved with a water scene and depictions of people working the fields, spinning yarn, and even walking with an umbrella! You can read more about heavily carved antique furniture in the Brittany style in my earlier blog post.

Antique French buffet (1880) carved with birds, fish, and the monogram EM or ME! EuroLuxAntiques.comThis French Hunting Style buffet is lavishly carved with game birds and fish. It also has those gorgeous barley twists down each side. The 1880 antique French buffet is also carved with the monogram ME or EM. That’s because it was commissioned to be made for a specific family. How amazing is that? I suppose if your initials don’t match, you could just go with the ME version. As in: “I deserve this beauty for ME!”

 

 

 

Awesome vintage French Gothic Style chandelier with 6 regal eagles! EuroLuxAntiques.comBuffets and sideboards are perhaps the most popular ways for people to incorporate heavily carved antique furniture into their homes. But this awesome French Gothic Style chandelier draws the eye upwards to the ceiling! The 6 regal eagles are splendidly carved in dark oak. Each one holds a glass shade in its beak. Dating to 1950 France, this unusual chandelier is definitely a conversation piece!

It’s hard to find craftsmanship like this any more. Fortunately we do it for you in our antiques buying trips to Europe!

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!

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

 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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