Relevant categories: Seating and Chairs,Chairs
Are you looking for a genuine antique gilt armchair? Well, you’ve got to understand what went into making a single chair to know if it is genuine or not. First off, gilt armchairs were mostly made in France and involved the collaboration of professionals from different trades. For instance, there had to be designers, gilders, carvers, gilt-bronze makers and upholsters to complete just a single chair.
How Were Gilt Armchairs Made?
( Above photo - Pair antique French Gilt armchairs )
Every chair resulted from a drawing or design. This was the work of a designer or draftsman. From the drawing, the artist produced a small model of wood or wax. This was taken over to the client for approval. After that, the menuisier or chair maker would cut the chair’s basic form. He or she used mostly beech or walnut to cut out the basic floral decorations or moldings. The elaborate ornamental work would then be carried out by a sculptor.
According to what the chair maker preferred the finished chair would remain in its natural wood color. Or, varnish would be applied to make the surface somewhat shiny. To make it a real gilt armchair, a thin layer of gold or gilt would be applied to the wood. However, before that, the surface was polished to get rid of any blemishes.
The final work is done by the upholsterer. His or her work is to cover the chair with velvet, silk, leather or other materials. In carrying out this task, he or she had to ensure that the trimmings were done in a fine and delicate way.
Once it was finished, the chair maker will sign off his name. That’s why you can hardly tell who else was involved in making the chair. The cost of a gilt armchair was mainly determined by how it was gilded or upholstered.
Styles of Gilt Armchairs
It is important to note that gilt armchairs were made in different styles, spanning centuries. So you are not going to find just one style of gilt armchairs. They include the following:
1. Baroque and Regence
(Above photo - Pair French antique gilt armchairs )
In this period, the chairs were mostly formal in nature. It was during this period that great effort was made to make the chairs more comfortable. Slowly, the rectangular form was abandoned during the Regence period. The arms were set further back from the legs and the frame featured rosettes, shell motifs, diaper patterns, and other ornamental features.
The rococo style had even more carvings that what had been seen during the Regence period. The chairs had rock and shell-like fanciful elements. These were complemented by C-shaped and S-shaped scrolls. The seat was overstaffed and the back curved to provide extra comfort.
By 1760, chair makers were developing a resurging interest in the classics. Even though the shape of the chair didn’t change so much, new ornaments were introduced. They were in the form of urns, acanthus leaves or interlaced bands. During this period, most chairs had oval-shaped, rectangular or square-shaped. The backs had their frames carved or molded for extra comfort.
With this simple guide, you should be able to know from which period a gilt armchair comes from. That way, you can be sure of buying a genuine piece of furniture.
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