Friday, March 16, 2018

The Beauty Of French Porcelain Mounted Furniture

The practice of inserting hand painted porcelain plaques from the Sèvres factory into furniture panels became popular in France as early as 1760. The original pioneer was Simon-Philippe Poirier who was considered one of the leading marchands-merciers (members of a guild of Paris merchants who played a central role in the design and circulation of luxury goods between the late Middle Ages and the French revolution) in Paris. Poirier first envisioned the use of porcelain plaques for furniture in the mid-I750's. With his partner and successor, Dominique Daguerre, he managed a shop stocked with the finest objects that French artisans of the period could produce, among them ormolu, porcelains, and furniture. He also played an important creative role, inspiring craftsmen and designers to create new forms and fashions. 

Poirier and Daguerre were the principal buyers of porcelain plaques at the Sèvres factory located in Sèvres, Hauts-de-Seine,France. Not only did they order the materials from the royal Sèvres factory, but they also selected the cabinetmaker to execute the porcelain mounted pieces, supplying him with designs in the form of detailed drawings. These high-ranking shopkeepers worked chiefly with the ébéniste Martin Carlin who made some eighty pieces of porcelain mounted furniture between 1765 and 1778. His illustrious clientéle included Madame de Pompadour and Madame du Barry. Madame du Barry bought luxury furnishings from Poirier for those private rooms at Versailles.

The fashion for furniture mounted with porcelain plaques experienced a dramatic drop in popularity during the revolutionary period. These expensive and exclusive pieces, which at one time were purchased by wealthy members of French society, were now regarded as a contemptible form of decoration associated with the aristocracy.

The nineteenth century, however, saw a revival of porcelain-mounted furniture, especially amongst the English upper class, who shared a fascination and appreciation of old French furniture. Also the emergence of the mobilier de curiosité (curiosity furniture), pieces without real practical use, (in this case only serving as supports for the display of beautiful porcelain plaques) helped to renew interest in porcelain mounted furniture.

These porcelain mounted pieces are not furniture you see every day and when you do find them be prepared to dig deep into your wallets. They are very beautiful pieces of art and while most of us will never have the pleasure of owning one, I still thought you would enjoy this feast for the eyes.

As porcelain mounted furniture grew in popularity, porcelain plaques were used in place of the marquetry, lacquer, or painted panels that were generally used on French furniture. Supplying the majority of the plaques was the Sèvres manufactory, which was first established around 1740, and was the finest porcelain manufactory in Europe from the mid-eighteenth century.

A circa 1783 Oak cabinet veneered with tulipwood, purplewood, mahogany and boxwood; fitted with brocatello marble and elaborate gilt bronze mounts and inset with ten soft-paste porcelain plaque. This piece is attributed to Martin Carlin.

Porcelain had the capacity for a wider range of color and finer detail than other surfaces, as well as the beautiful brilliant white ground. It could be shaped into plaques about a quarter of an inch in thickness and with any contour required.

A jewel coffer on stand by Martin Carlin with porcelain plaques by Sèvres dated 1775. Sèvres porcelain was desired for porcelain mounted furniture because it surpassed all others in the quality of its painting. The factory produced rich and extravagant wares sought after by the wealthiest of patrons.

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Another beautiful porcelain mounted desk attributed to Martin Carlin. Madame du Barry carried the taste for such furniture to the highest spheres. The inventory for her apartment at Versailles details an incredible assortment of porcelain furniture. 

Intended for a fashionable and distinguished clientele consisting mostly of aristocratic French ladies, porcelain mounted furniture has always been a costly collectors item. The combination of furniture and porcelain made a strong appeal to women in the eighteenth century

Here is a lovely oak secretary veneered with yew burl, mahogany, maple and ebony and mounted with five soft paste porcelain plaques.

Drop-front desk by Martin Carlin with six porcelain plaques from Sèvres factory with the central plaque attributed to Edme François Bouillat père ( active 1758–1800). The piece is oak veneered with tulipwood, amaranth, holly, and sycamore, with gilt-bronze mounts, marble shelves, and moiré silk. Although he made a certain number of larger pieces, secretaries, tables, and commodes, Carlin's most popular works were small, portable, and extremely elegant items such as small tables, desks, music stands, and jewel cabinets.

Louis XV/XVI style gilt bronze and Sèvres style porcelain mounted walnut and kingwood lady's writing desk.

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Eighteenth century Louis XV period porcelain mounted kingwood bureau de dame,( lady's writing desk) circa 1760.

After an angry mob stormed the palace of Versailles Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI  were forced to return to Paris, where they lived for three years under house arrest in the Château des Tuileries. A few days after their arrival, the queen consigned to the dealer Dominique Daguerre a number of her most treasured possessions for safekeeping. Among those objects was a porcelain mounted secretary, which may, in fact, have been this one and possibly was the last piece of furniture Daguerre had delivered to Marie-Antoinette for use at Versailles.

A remarkable and highly important Napoléon III 'Chambre À Coucher', comprising of a gilt bronze and Paris porcelain mounted kingwood armoire, a bed and two bedside cabinets with marble tops. To see more beautiful antique furniture from one of the world’s leading dealers in nineteenth century furniture and works of art, be sure and visit their website.

A close up of the detailing on the beautiful suite above.

Table from the collection of Madame du Barry. The table is circa 1774, and is mounted with porcelain plaques from Sèvres.

A 19th century French Sèvres porcelain mounted bronze table.

A circa 1860 Napoleon III ormolu and Sèvres style porcelain mounted kingwood and tulipwood gueridon.

A Louis XVI 19th century Sèvres porcelain mounted card table.

A French ormolu and Sèvres style porcelain mounted ebony secretary.

French gilt bronze and porcelain mounted ebony bureau plat by Levasseur Jeune, circa 1830-1840, applied with 36 hard-paste porcelain plaques painted with polychrome floral bouquets surrounded by green borders.

A very fine French 19th century Louis XVI style ormolu and Sèvres style porcelain mounted tulipwood, kingwood and mahogany Meuble d'Appui (Wall cabinet) with an onyx marble top. The door is centered with an oval shaped porcelain plaque depicting a courting scene of a seated lady, a young man, and her chambermaid. 

Commode mounted in porcelain made by Bernard van Rysen Burgh on order of merchant Simon Philippe Poirier and delivered to Mademoiselle de Sens for the Palais-Bourbon.

Heritage Auctions at

This very fine secretary cabinet is mounted with Meissen porcelain. The Meissen factory located in Germany is where Europe’s first porcelain was produced  in 1708.

Porcelain mounted tulipwood, marquetry and gilt bronze cabinet is an elaborate example of Queen Victoria’s taste for porcelain mounted furniture. The piece was ordered at the Paris Exhibition of 1855 during her state visit to the Emperor Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie.

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A pair of Louis XVI style porcelain mounted pedestals.

Detail of a secretary, circa 1776 attributed to Martin Carlin.

Plant stand by Martin Carlin mounted with plaques made by the Sèvres porcelain factory circa 1776-77

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This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Decorating With Geometric 3D Flooring.......Modern Yet Classical

Creating a visual impact on the floor with encaustic cement, ceramic, porcelain, and natural stone products is a big interior design trend these days. Bold geometrics that provide depth and perspective and give an overall optical illusion effect are being seen everywhere. Most people think of contemporary interiors when the subject of optical illusion flooring comes up, However they can actually be lovely in classsical interiors as well. Those of you who know me know that I am an old world gal so it stands to reason that the focus of this blog post is how to jump on this trend wave even if you prefer a more classical space.

Actually this design element has been around for a very long time and was used in Greek and Roman floor tiles.The geometric 3D pattern trend was popularized during the reign of Louis XIV of France. It was called parquetry and sometimes even referred to as Louis cubes.

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Geometric parquetry flooring in the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles

 Parquetry is the arrangement of wooden veneer on furniture (wood or tiles in the case of flooring) in a geometric pattern. By using three different colors of wood or tiles cut in a diamond pattern it is possible to make a series of cubes with a surprisingly effective 3D effect.

The geometric three dimensional floor was popularized again during the art Nouveau period that originated in Paris in the early 20th century. Since Art Deco is once again back on trend it only stands to reason that we would start seeing these opitical illusion style floors popping up in our interiors.

If you love the thought of using your flooring as an art canvas, you might seriously consider creating a focal point floor by using encaustic cement tile in a geometric three dimensional pattern.

Though it is the return of French Art Deco style that is responsible for this current flooring trend, these versatile 3D geometric patterns are at home in both traditional and contemporary decors.

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Studio Peregalli Milan Townhouse bathroom, photo by Ruy Teixeira for T Magazine

Floor tiles are perfect for adding geometric flair to any room. They give the illusion of a 3D cube effect pattern when laid out correctly.

Tiles laid in a 3D cube pattern trick the eye into seeing more depth. These floors are a form of Tromp L'oeil.

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When you use dark and light shades of the same colour, the tiles creates the 3D effect of a cube. I really like this flooring when used alongside other classical designs like the Greek key.

In the Gallery of Great Battles in Versailles you see another optical illusion geometric style floor. These chevron style floors are classic. Before they become synonymous with uber-trendy interior spaces they adorned European stately manors and Parisian apartments for centuries.

Timothy Corrigan interior via Architectural Digest

Chevron planks are cut to ensure that each “zig” and “zag” are connected at a 45 degree angle. This is what gives these floor the directional feel.

Can you believe the visual three dimensional effect of this marble chevron flooring!!

Floors can be painted in chevron patterns for a bold geometric look but you won't get the directional feel.

This is an interesting 3D geometric floor that looks modern and chic in this classical European space. These fabulous floors can be created by using ceramic, porcelain and natural stone products.

Jennifer Bevan Interiors

Originating from Paris in the early 20th century, French Art Deco represented a new, artistic wave of glamour that featured geometric shapes.Today the three-dimensional cube patterned floor indicates how Art Deco is still influencing our trends. The overall effect is one of pure luxurious Art Deco sophistication.

Encaustic patterned cement tiles have been around for a few years now and usually are associated with bright colors and intricate Moroccan or Cuban patterns. However for 2018, we're seeing a shift toward patterns that are less intricate and more geometric.

via Pinterest

Sophisticated surfaces create a dramatic focal point that draws the attention of all who enter. That is why a geometric 3D floor is great for a foyer. These floors look amazing in old world settings.

The geometric 3d cube floor can come in three sizes. Small,


Miles Redd

and large. Just remember to consider your space so a larger geometric patterned floor doesn't overwhelm.

I do think this is a stunning floor. Even though I like some of these, I couldn't have one in my home because of occasional bouts of vertigo. There is just too much movement for me. Even researching and downloading pictures for this post made me a bit sick at times.

Kitchens seem to be popular spaces for homeowners to try an optical illusion geometric floor.

They are just as at home in the bathroom as they are in the living room. And there are endless options for how you use them in your desired space.

The geometric 3d cube floor is a perfect fit for transitional designs and modern designs. It doesn’t take much to make an impact on your design with a little geometric pattern.

Many of the geometric optical illusion floors can somehow elegantly pull off trendsetting design and classic style all at once? This floor is similar to the 3d cube design but with the addition of more pointy triangles.

These geometric 3D floors can create a dramatic focal point that will bring alot of "wow" to an interior space. Your guests will be amazed by the effect.

Photo by Paris Ceramics

Four unique stones were used to form this geometric 3D patterned floor. This custom design as well as many others can be fashioned using a wide range of stone from Paris Ceramics.

Of course painting a geometric 3D floor is another option that will look wonderful in a more rustic, farmhouse interior.

If you love unique and artful patterns on your floor, these geometric tiles are just the ticket. Who would have guessed (back when you were hating it in high school) that you would one day be working some geometry into your interior design with patterns in tile and decor.

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This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

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