Item: Carved Wood Figural Bracket Shelf, Blackamoor in Venice Carnival Dress
Sold For: $1,995.00
Date: Jun 03, 2012
Description and Image By: antiquesuncommontreasure
RARE as can be, this one is one I’ll forever regret selling once it’s sold. It’s the kind of rare item we see only a time or two in a lifelong career of collecting beautiful old treasures, and it’s in remarkably fine condition for age and type. It comes to me from France, though I would almost bet it is either French or Italian in origin. And it is a hand carved wood form, entirely in keeping with those of 1700s Venice, with a layer of gesso on the wood and then rich enamel painted surface that rivals the Medici in richness of decoration. Seems likely to me this form would have once been in a grand Venetian Palace or Villa, as the feel of it is so right for those we’ve seen in Venice. But perhaps it spent it’s entire 300 or so years in France, the work of a French artisan. We’ll never know for certain, though I’d anticipate more worm holes in the wood if it were in France the entire time (so often it is the case out of France, sadly). The rich form is elaborately decorated as you can see. The Vernis Martin method of layering brilliant color with layers of varnish, a’ la the Brother’s Martin whose method of decorative surface gives us the generic term for the manner of work: Vernis Martin, and which was a favorite of Queen Marie-Antoinette, herself. You see this type of decorative surface treatment in the Palace at Versailles, and on small decorative objects from the period such as snuff boxes, as well as large furniture and even ‘sedan’ or enclosed carriages for a single person, large carriages of the era. I have just the one, though I’d imagine it was one of a pair in its origin. Isn’t it spectacular!