Design for a Valance with Bundles and Garlands of Flowers and a Monogram Presenting Two Design Variants

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 has thin garlands of roses and small rose buds colored with various shades of pink and leaves colored with shades of green, decorated with interlacing ribbons that form bows in the upper part of the valance. The garlands are framed by scrolls rendered in yellow to simulate a golden finish over an aquamarine ground. In the upper part, the center of the design contains an ornamental frame with a monogram, flanked by a crown decorated with what seems to be simulating emeralds, rubies and pearls. Tassels of golden color hang from the inner edge of the valance. The background inside the scrolling frame of the valance is colored with different colors on either side: cream on the right side, and dark red on the left side. This reveals that the drawing was a presentation design from which the customer would chose his preferred option; the monogram on top would also be customizable.

Design for a Valance with Bundles and Garlands of Flowers and a Monogram Presenting Two Design Variants, Anonymous, French, 19th century, Watercolor

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