The Rite of Spring: Floral Decoration on Antique Furniture & Design

Detail of a carved flower head on a George II walnut armchair attributed to Giles Grendey Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

Detail of a carved flower head on a George II walnut armchair attributed to Giles Grendey
Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

Yesterday’s slightly warmer temperatures had us falsely lulled into a sense that ‘Spring had Sprung’!  The return of arctic temperatures has reminded us that spring is not here (yet), but it is not far away.  In honour of the warmer weather and blossoming blooms, here is a selection of art  and antiques from our collection that feature spring-like decoration.

A George II walnut armchair attributed to Giles Grendey Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

A George II walnut armchair attributed to Giles Grendey
Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

The lead photograph shows the wonderful carved flower head on a George II walnut armchair attributed to Giles Grendey.  Grendey was known to use flower heads on a number of his designs, including on the pediments of breakfront bookcases and on the aprons of tables.

One of a set of six Berlin porcelain plates with arms of the Holstein-Gottorp family Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

One of a set of six Berlin porcelain plates with arms of the Holstein-Gottorp family
Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

This charming Berlin porcelain plate is from a set of six that bears the arms of the Holstein-Gottorp family.

A set of six Berlin porcelain plates with arms of the Holstein-Gottorp family Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

A set of six Berlin porcelain plates with arms of the Holstein-Gottorp family
Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

Each plate features a different variety of flower arranged in a small bouquet with gilded rims and geometric patterns around the plate rims.

Top of a George I gilt gesso card table attributed to James Moore Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

Top of a George I gilt gesso card table attributed to James Moore
Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

The prominent sunflower on the top of this George I gilt gesso card table attributed to James Moore is boldy cut into the gessoed surface.

A George I gilt gesso card table attributed to James Moore Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

A George I gilt gesso card table attributed to James Moore
Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

Gilt gesso card tables are extremely rare–there are only several known surviving examples, including one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.  To read more about card tables and this particular gilt gesso example, click here.

Detail of the painted floral decoration on a pair of satinwood armchairs in the manner of George Hepplewhite Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

Detail of the painted floral decoration on a pair of satinwood armchairs in the manner of George Hepplewhite
Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

George Hepplewhite’s furniture represents the height of neo-classicism with his light and elegant designs.  The painted decoration of white oval panels with flowers and additional swags of flowers trailing down the front legs add a lightness to the satinwood design.

A pair of satinwood armchairs in the manner of George Hepplewhite Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

A pair of satinwood armchairs in the manner of George Hepplewhite
Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

With their vase-carved splats surmounted by Prince of Wales feathers and painted oval panels to the seatrail, the present armchairs relate to a design published by Hepplewhite and Co. in The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer’s Guide (3rd ed., 1794, pl. 1).

Detail of the top of a William & Mary marquetry chest of drawers Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

Detail of the top of a William & Mary marquetry chest of drawers
Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

We could not do a post on flowers and antiques without higlighting floral marquetry inspired by Dutch designs of the late 17th and early 18th centuries… but you will have to wait for a future post to read about these exceptional designs in more detail.

When it comes to flowers and antiques, we could go on and on… and on!  We have put together a Pinterest board highlighting a number of pieces from our collection that feature floral decoration.  We hope you will enjoying browsing through the collection.

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