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Fireplaces - Item 3230
Walnut Gothic Fireplace

Item 3230 - Gothic Fireplace

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Item 3230 Gothic Fireplace or Mantel in Walnut
Dimensions Width 63, Height 55, Depth 22 (in inches)

Opening

Width 42, Height 37, Depth 12
Wood Walnut
Country France
Date Circa 1880
Description

This fireplace is intricately hand-carved in the Gothic style, something rarely seen among antique offerings.  Unlike other forms of Gothic furniture faithfully revived by 19th century French designers, fireplaces were designed de novo.  In Medieval times, fireplaces were extremely large and relied upon to heat large, high-ceilinged spaces, and for cooking.  As a result, they were made of stone whose heat-conducting and fire-resistant properties were superior to wood.  By the 19th century, however, when stoves were for cooking and fireplaces took on a more decorative role, wood became the material of choice with walnut prized for its suitability for intricate carving.  Despite the lack of Medieval models, 19th century craftsmen simply grafted their repertoire of design elements onto the basic shape of the fireplace or mantel.  In this case, the emphasis is on fenestrage (tracery), referring to the intricate patterns of gothic architecture and stained glass featuring pointed arches and quatre feuilles (quatrefoils).  The side panels bear the linen-fold design, also characteristic of French Gothic, but in a particularly refined treatment.  Even the firebox reflects the Gothic theme with the center of the top coming to a point.  The origin of coat-of-arms carved into the central frieze remains a mystery.

Reference

Boussel, Patrice, Les Styles du Moyen Age à Louis XIV  (Baschet et Cie, Paris, 1979); Burckhardt, Monica, Mobilier Moyen-Age, Renaissance (Editions Ch. Massin, Paris, Undated); Viollet-le-Duc, Eugène, Le Mobilier Médiéval (Georges Bernage, editor) (Editions Heimdal, 2003)

Uses

This fireplace is ideal for any room where Gothic or Tudor style is evoked.

3230-crest
 

3230-top
 
3230-right
 
3230-side

3230-center
 

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