This example of antique furniture has all of the design elements that are typical of pieces from Normandy. However, the combination of a bonnetiere and commode as one piece, is very unusual. During the 18th and 19th centuries, they were almost exclusively presented as armoires. We purchased this piece directly from Normandy, where it had remained with its original family since its creation in the first part of the 20th century. The heavily carved cornice with love birds means that it was a wedding piece. The father of the daughter would have begun planning a dowry piece like this when the daughter was only a little girl. The felled Oak wood would dry for 10 years before it was axe split and readied for carving and joining. The furniture would be finalized after the marriage proposal, and the level of decoration of the carving often corresponded directly to the wealth and importance of the family.
This wedding cabinet atop a chest of drawers is full of motifs that have symbolism relating to love and marriage. Of course, the pair of doves at the top is symbolizing marriage, but they rest upon a crossed torch and quiver, which symbolize love and eternity. There are roses throughout the decoration. These also symbolize love. The rest of the carved decoration includes leaves, flowers, baskets of fruits, ribbons, and more. Norman carpenters and craftsmen have tended toward these motifs for hundreds of years. Today, this piece makes for a very practical and beautiful chest of drawers cabinet. The upper portion has four shelves on the interior while the bottom portion has two full depth drawers. Since it has remained in the same house without much handling, it remains in excellent condition.
CONDITION: Excellent condition with very minor wear
H=83 1/4, Width=37 5/8 (bottom section), D=20 1/4
Carved Oak Wedding Cabinet and Chest of Drawers from Normandy, Early 1900s