Item # LFALO1598
Monumental 18th century Louis XV period carved armoire handcrafted of wild cherrywood by highly skilled rural artisans, having an ogee canted corner crown above a fruitwood inlaid frieze. The triple paneled doors, separated by a relief pilaster, feature long iron escutcheons with very large iron keys and open to reveal three shelves with a locking drawer. Serpentine carved apron resting on short cabriole legs ending in scrolled French toes on pegs.
The first armoires appeared in France during the latter half of the 16th century and were originally designed to store arms or armor. Most often the prominent feature of the home, these large cupboards were later used to hold a family's belongings – from linens to clothing to silver and even food. The French armoire had reached its height of popularity and possessed a distinctly French flair during the reign of Louis XV.
One of the most significant features of fine Provincial armoires are the locks and hinges. Because these cupboards were a very important part of the household, little expense was spared in outfitting them with the finest hardware. Long ornate hinges, elaborately scrolled escutcheons and even the keys with intricate scrolling designs were an integral part of the overall design of the armoire. Often, the hardware cost more to produce than the armoire itself.
The expense of such a grand armoire was enormous and it often served as an indication of a family's wealth and social standing. As their wealth and possessions grew, armoires were added to the household and it was not unusual for a rather wealthy family to have several armoires, though almost certainly not all of the high caliber and size as this fine example.
Louis XV period armoires are increasingly difficult to find in this condition, especially with their original hardware, for it was often removed and melted down for ammunition during the unrest of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
h - 98"
w - 75" with crown; body w - 66"
d - 23" with crown; body d - 19"
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