Design for a Valance with Bundles and Garlands of Flowers and Musical Instruments

Designer Anonymous, French, 19th century French

Not on view

Rectangular sheet of paper with a design for a valance from the second half of the nineteenth century, inspired on the style of Louis XVI, forming part of the Neo-Classical Revival that took place in France and Britain from the 1850s on. The style was part of the Classical and Renaissance Revival that took place from about 1850, where the interest on the art and architecture from Ancient Rome and the 15th and 16th centuries was propelled by archaeological discoveries in Greece, Italy and Egypt. Through this style, Classical and Renaissance pieces of art and design were reinterpreted in a variety of forms and motifs, and classical figures, scrolling decorations, strapwork, and grotesques and moresques, became central element in design. This Revival was characterized by the use of design motifs that alluded to Classical Antiquity, including vases and trophies with pastoral attributes, classical figures and cameos, a mixture of real and fantastic figures, and swags and festoons. These swags and festoons comprised garlands of fabric and ribbon, as well as thin bundles and garlands of flowers and husks colored with pastels. The scale of this design is clearly not true to life and it is not unlikely that this drawing was made for a sample book of an upholsterer, to be shown to the customer as one of many different styles to choose from.
The design is made up of bundles of leaves and flowers over a cream background inside an ornamental frame, rendered with shades of yellow to simulate a golden finish, and decorated with acanthus leaves colored with shades of pink and purple. A large bundle of flowes and leaves hangs from the upper center of the valance design is decorated with a string musical instrument. The leaves are colored with shades of green, and the flowers are colored with yellow, orange, carmine, blue, and shades of pink and purple. The background outside the frame is colored with aquamarine.
The design contains an inscription in ink in the recto of the sheet of paper, which relates it to the style of Louis XIV, although the style seems to be closer to that of its successors, Louis XV and Louis XVI.

Design for a Valance with Bundles and Garlands of Flowers and Musical Instruments, Anonymous, French, 19th century, Watercolor

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