Design for a Valance with Thin Garlands and Bundles of Flowers and a Lyre Inside an Ornamental Frame with Scrolling Motifs Presenting Two Different Variations for the Design

Designer Anonymous, French, 19th century French

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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 garlands and bundles of flowers inside an ornamental frame with scrolling motifs, rendered with shades of yellow an ocre to simulate a gold finish, and presents two different variations for the design on the sides. On the upper part of the valance lies a large horizontal garland of flowers of shades of pink with a lyre in the center, and decorated by an undulating ribbon of blue color on top. The upper frame of the valance is flanked by a shell in the center, and the scrolls under the lyre join to form a heart shap with a carmine interior. The left side of the valance is thinner, decorated with small bundles of flowers, and the scrolls of the frame interlace to form a lozenge-shaped ornamental motif towards the bottom quarter. The right side of the valance is thicker, forming a D-shape that enlarges towards the bottom, and is decorated by two interlacing garlands running down the design to form a thicker garland on the bottom part; the scrolls of the frame interlace towards the middle and frame a small grotesque-like motif flanked by shell-like shapes. Inside the frame, a thin garland of small leaves forms a second frame, separating two different colors for the background: light green inside the frame of leaves, and purple outside. The background outside the frame of the valance design is colored with carmine.

Design for a Valance with Thin Garlands and Bundles of Flowers and a Lyre Inside an Ornamental Frame with Scrolling Motifs Presenting Two Different Variations for the Design, Anonymous, French, 19th century, Watercolor

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