Friday, November 8, 2019

Decorating With The French Globe de Mariée

In 18th century France it was tradition for a newly married couple to create something called a Globe de Mariee. This was a way for them to display and protect items or wedding souvenirs chosen by the two of them that reflected their love for each other and the beginnings of their life together. The Globe de Mariee would be kept and treasured through the years as a record of their marriage.

I fell in love with these marriage domes some time ago but only recently was able to find one at an affordable price. Since I researched them while looking for one myself, I thought it might make a good topic for a blog post. I hope you will enjoy learning about these traditional French displays and the loving thought that went into them.

Lisa Farmer-Eye For Design

This is the Globe de Mariee I just purchased at an incredible price. It came from Écurat, France and this style is from the era of Napoleon III. These domes have a way of making you fall under their spell! This week I found a French wax bridal headpiece to go on my crown cushion. I found it in a vintge clothing booth and was able to get the bride's headpiece, gown, and a picture of her wearing it all for less than the headpiece usually sells for. I was delighted! My new project involves making a display of it all.

Lisa Farmer-Eye For Design

I only have the interior of the globe de mariee called the garniture. I still am looking for a dome to fit it. It is 20 inches tall and the closest I have found is 18 inches. I found the perfect one in France but they wouldn't ship to the US. I will have to show some patience on this one!! The glass domes are hard to find.

Since they are highly collected, it is getting hard to find globes de mariee and antique bridal pieces in good condition at affordable prices. The domes are extremely fragile, so to find the original globe with all it's parts is rare. Today you have to build your own from antique pieces you find. It's what I am attempting to do.

The first glass domes appeared in the 1850s and were manufactured in Paris. Glass dome fashion was a very popular trend during the late 1800's in France as well as other European countries. Originally designed to protect clocks it was only a matter of time until globes de mariee were covered by glass domes.

The families of the bride and groom would have commissioned the creation of the globe de mariee to a jeweler or watch maker. 

The globe de mariee would have been proudly displayed in a room like the salon or dining room. Also they found places of prominence on mantles and even dressers.

The interior of the globe de mariee, is called the garniture and had significant meaning. Choosing the items for the garniture was taken seriously and was a project carefully attended to by the bride as well as the groom.

The velvet or silk cushions were usually red although pink, white, blue, burgundy, and gold were also produced.

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The bridal crown or tiara would have been made from wax orange blossoms which reflected virginity.........

via Pinterest

and would have resided on the tufted velvet cushion of the garniture of the globe de mariee. Her gloves, the grooms corsag, etc would have also been attached to the cushion

The large central mirror represented the reflection of the soul and symbolizes the truth.

Sometimes they were etched and some were even painted.

The small diamond-shaped mirrors located on these antique globes de mariee indicated the number of children the couple hoped to have. The couple who owned my globe wanted a big family....six children.

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Rectangular mirrors signified the number of years between the couple’s meeting and their promised marriage.

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The trapezoidal mirror at the bottom of this globe de mariee would have symbolized perfect agreement between the two people entering into marriage. This particular style globe has a vertical tufted crown cushion that the headpiece would be pinned to.

The globe de mariee would always have a gold bird or dove looking over the nest below. This represented love and peace in the home.

The leaves on the globe de mariee represented the hoped for longevity of the marriage union. Daisies would indicate purity.

This one has oak leaves which represented strength. My globe de mariee has ivy leaves that stood for commitment. Roses signified eternal love.

The globe de mariee's oval mirrors were always donated by the bridesmaids for good luck.

Globes de mariee make great old world vignette accessories.

Very ornate and fine examples of the French tradition of the globe de mariee wedding keepsake.

I adore them and think they make lovely conversation starters.

I also like the uniqueness of the globes de mariee. They are not cookie cutter decor. Each one is different so you have something nobody else has.

Globe de mariee heaven!! This is another site you might want to visit if you are mesmerized by these lovely wedding souvenirs.

The all white Swedish/Gustavian style interior is also a lovely setting for the display of a globe de mariee.

Dispaly a globe de mariee alongside some lovely vintage lace in keeping with the wedding theme.


Throughout their lives the couple would add special items that meant something to them to their globe de mariee. Items might have been locks of hair, pictures, little intimate treasures, and even ormolu charms associated with marriage.

The globe de mariee.......a great way to strike up a conversation AND add a bit of history to your interiors!

Click here to see the previous post

This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Decorating With Swedish/Gustavian Sofas

Born in the second half of the eighteenth century, in the reign of King Gustav of Sweden, the pared back version of French neoclassicism has taken the decorating world by storm and shows no sign of letting up. Why is this? Because the combo of Swedish restraint and French decorative refinement gives us a style that is elegant, yet calm, making it very easy to live with.

This particular blog post puts the focus on one element of Gustavian decor.....the Swedish/Gustavian sofa. These pieces are simpler in style than their French cousins yet with fine carvings and moldings. The Swedish/Gustavian sofas were more in keeping with the Scandinavian tradition of painted furniture.

 Since the Swedish/Gustavian furniture was more affordable than the ornate pieces being made in larger Swedish cities, a Gustavian sofa would have been a mainstay in many Swedish homes. Today the sofa has become the iconic piece of Gustavian decor. There might be many shapes and styles, but they are all easily recognizable and extremely coveted.

I hope you will enjoy the blog and the images I have gathered of these truly lovely sofas. Authentic Swedish/Gustavian sofas are very expensive but who knows, you might stumble upon one someday. The hunt can be as exciting as the treasure so don't give up. There are some wonderful reproduction Gustavian sofas out there too, so if this is your desired style you are in luck.

If you open any interior magazine you are certain to find a Swedish/Gustavian sofa highlighting a room.

We have King Gustav of Sweden, who came to the throne in 1772, to thank for the sofas and settees that bear his name.

He brought French style back to Sweden where the pared down versions of their lovely sofas and settees gradually grew into what is now the extremely popular Gustavian style. In fact, the 18th century is considered the "golden age" of Swedish furniture.

These lovely sofas, sometimes called peasant or country sofas, were usually painted in shades of white, cream, blue, soft yellow, green, and grays that run from dove to blue gray. Actually the very pale gray that everyone associates with Swedish/Gustavian style was never used during the 18th century. It is the result of marketing the shabby chic style.The surfaces are were sometimes even accented with gold or red.

The color chart indicates actual Swedish/Gustavian paint colors that were most likely originally used on these sofas and settees.

After white, blue is the color most often used on Swedish/Gustavian style sofas and other furniture.

An 18th century Swedish/Gustavian sofa from the Rococo period that has it's original chalky blue paint and traces of natural wood. Notice the intricately carved Rococo details on it's apron.

via Pinterest

I love the way a soft, cream painted Gustavian sofa looks almost sculptural when used with the right accessories.

People are tempted to repaint these antique whitewashed Swedish/Gustavian sofas and settees. Actually they are worth more in their original condition. Just clean them good and refrain from over finishing.

Unlike most Swedish furniture, Gustavian sofas have a cozy and warm feel that makes it easy for them to adapt to many different interior styles. The soft palette of chalky whites and  other muted colors gives them an old world look while feeling modern and fresh.

This style of 18th century Swedish sofa is called Trågsoffa and is from the Rococo period. This one displays that elegant Gustavian style restraint and has the beautiful fluted and tapered legs that is indicative of these Swedish pieces.

This Swedish/Gustavian Trågsoffa has intricately carved flowing curves, cabriole legs, and carved shell motif on the apron, all from the French Rococo era.

I am seriously drooling!! Look at the exceptional detail on this 18th century Gustavian Trågsoffa.

It is rare to find a Swedish/Gustavian sofa wearing it's original paint. Most of pieces have been repainted multiple times throughout their lives.

This Gustavian sofa has original paint and spindled sides. It also has the fluted tapered legs common to these sofas.

Another wonderful Gustavian sofa with spindled back and sides.

 via Pinterest

This Swedish dining room has some lovely pieces including two fabulous white painted Gustavian sofas. Another thing about the Gustavian style is that it works really well with gilded accessories. That touch of gold enhances the refined elegance of these pieces so the sofa looks right at home with this chandelier, candelabras, and and gilded mirrors.

Look at how beautiful this dark gray painted Gustavian sofa looks with the crystal chandelier. Mirrors, crystal wall sconces, and chandeliers seen to enhance the simple beauty of these pieces.

This wonderful Swedish/Gustavian sofa has a patina that only comes with age.

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A Gustavian sofa with that worn, whitewashed finish that people find so attractive.

This fabulous Swedish/Gustavian sofa has graceful guilloche carving along the apron. Guilloche carving is an interlacing pattern of bands or ribbons that weave around a center button. Swedish furniture makers were fond of this French pattern.

I think one of the reasons the Gustavian sofa is extremely popular today is how easy it is to incorporate it into any decor style. Whether the interior is Old World, country, farmhouse, French, Swedish, traditional or even ultra modern, these sofas work well.

A blue painted Swedish sofa from the Gustavian Period, circa 1790, with carved sheaf of grain finials which is an emblem of the royal house of Vasa. Vasa was a royal house founded in 1523 in Sweden which ruled from 1523–1654.

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I love the rustic yet refined and formal look of this Gustavian sofa. Again notice the grain finials.

A wonderful example of green paint on a Gustavian sofa. This one has finials in the shape of urns.

These Swedish sofas are highly desirable and there are so many great images of them that this post could go on forever. However, I think this Gustavian sofa with blue and ivory striped upholstery, proudly displayed in the entrance of this home, is a perfect one to end with.

If you are going for the Swedish/Gustavian interior remember the trademark elements associated this style. The color scheme is soft and almost romantic with charming spaces full of light and elegance. Look for painted Mora clocks, the tiled stoves called kakelugn or even cocklestoves, lovely painted and distressed furniture that is simple yet refined. Linen, checks, and stripes are the go to choice for upholstery. Overall this style has a folk art elegance that is fresh and historic all at the same time. Oh, one more thing you must have.......that fabulous Swedish/Gustavian sofa!!

Click here to see the previous post

This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

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