Over our many years retailing antiques in Australia, Wallrocks has been fortunate enough to see some of the most magnificent English and French antique cabinets of all shapes, sizes and styles, and each have been respectfully restored. We have detailed a number of the before and after photos in this restoration gallery, and it is apparent that each cabinet is entirely unique.
Cabinetmaking was absolutely an art form involving incredibly complex techniques such as creating ormolu, marquetry, parquetry, veneering and lacquering. In the 17th century, the term “ebeniste” was introduced to describe the craftsmen who hand tooled these wonderfully decorative pieces of furniture using exotic overseas timbers. The word itself was derived from the first use of the rare and expensive wood Ebony, which was imported into France for use in veneers and inlays. It was a highly specialised industry, and whilst the term has lived on and is still used in modern day Europe, most of these skills have disappeared.
Along with the beautiful examples of marquetry and parquetry inlays, French antique cabinets were often further embellished with elaborate metal mounts, and this was a specialised trade in itself. The ciseleurs-fondeurs were the craftsmen responsible for casting and finishing the mounts, whilst the doreurs were responsible for gilding the metalwork. The Wallace Collection in London has wonderful examples of how this process was achieved. We endeavour to buy pieces that retain most of their original gilt and is something we look for when establishing authenticity.
When all of the right elements of proportion, materials and workmanship are combined in a French antique cabinet, the overall effect is stunning, and results in a beautiful piece of furniture which can take pride of place in almost any room in a modern home.
To find out more about the restoration on any of our cabinets, please enquire.
We were thrilled with the results of our labours after cleaning and polishing this fine English 19th century side cabinet