M. Markley Antiques
French Antique Fireplaces
fireplaces made of wood are difficult to find and expensive to acquire. There are several reasons for this. First of all, unlike other items of
furniture such as cabinets, armoires, etc., fireplaces were commonly made of
stone rather than wood. Secondly,
removing a fireplace from a building is tricky because they were designed and
built in-place. Frequently, the only
way to remove them is to destroy them in the process. As a result, we rarely see fireplaces come on the market and so
we have fewer to offer than in other furniture categories.
only are wooden fireplaces rare, but those in the styles we favor - Gothic,
Renaissance, Louis XIII and Louis XIV - are rarer still. The underlying reason could be the lack of
fireplaces from the Middle Ages and Renaissance to inspire 19th century
designers. During those earlier
centuries, fireplaces would have been made exclusively from non-combustible
materials such as stone. But since 19th
century enthusiasts of the Gothic and Renaissance styles wanted contemporary
pieces evoking design elements of the earlier periods, some fireplaces were
made during the revival of interest in things Medieval and Renaissance.
fireplaces we have offered as part of the Château des Bois CollectionTM have
been made of walnut and hand-carved in what the French describe as the Henri II
style - combining elements of both Gothic and Renaissance vocabularies. Characteristics include architectural
features such as columns and arches as well as fanciful creatures such as lions
modern buyers of 19th century fireplaces there is not only the problem of
scarcity but size. Custom-built wooden
fireplaces were designed with one location in mind and can create challenges
when needing to accommodate the fire-box of a modern edifice. While we recommend that clients acquire the
fireplace before the construction of a fire-box, this is not always possible.
With all these limitations in mind, we continue to search for fireplaces, especially those with armorial features and additional pieces above the mantle. Such fireplaces create a commanding presence in a room while enhancing the warm and inviting atmosphere created by a roaring fire.