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Superb RARE Hand Carved Figural Pillar or Wall Ornaments, Plaque, Queens on Horses - c.1600-1700s
Protected in a carved shell, these crowned Medieval queens are processional, as you can see, and ride behind the miniature horses drawing the shell through history. The carvings are 11" high, 4.5" wide and 3.15" in depth, with a rounded backside evidence of original mounting on pillars.
The old Chateau and Palace interiors often were richly paneled in hand carved and assembled decorative richness. Particularly a study, office, library would have shown such work from 1400s forward. The curved back of these 2 figural carvings show us they were mounts on pillars or round wall paneling, and from all my vast museum research and visits to such palaces and chateaus, I feel very comfortable dating these to 1700s, and perhaps even a century or two earlier. They have a very Medici feel to them, don't they. I found them in France, and have been fighting with myself about keeping them for myself. Alas, I can't find the right spot for them. They ought to hang on a wall, perhaps above a matching pair of carved console or wall shelf to show them off at their best. Perhaps flanking your antique mirror above a fireplace - you'll find the perfect way to display them. I love the figures, but I love those horses even more. Aren't they fabulous. A procession of Royals, two of what must have been a vast and historic depiction around an entire room. I wish we knew from what walls these were salvaged, and could tell you the story with accuracy. We can't know. Some day someone will come across old photos of an interior that was parted out, salvaged and replaced with new. Sad, but this is how these carvings come to market - someone wants the 1600s chateau to have a modern interior. Sigh.
Very good to excellent, with very little if any flaws to note. One of the queens has a chip to her nose, visible in our images. It seems there are nips to the ears on the horses, as well. Perhaps a few tiny pin holes of wood worm evidence despite their very advanced age. No active infestation at all, of course. A note: I would remark upon the wood worm damaged fragmental figures on display in the Louvre, the V&A and other museums. It's a very normal finding in old wood of Europe, particularly French pieces. So it's not the least of a deal-breaker for me when I'm out buying. In fact, if a carving has none, I question its authenticity. But this pair is a personal favorite.
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Susan Dean, San Marcos, CA
Antique French sterling silver, Georgian jewelry, sewing, Black Forest, etc 17th to 19th c. European
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