A large and well carved case piece such as the example seen here was carved in the latter half of the 19th century. The style became popular as the French middle class rose in wealth and power. People desired a way to display their new status, and a piece such as this would have made a powerful statement. The buffet deux corps seen here is one of the finer examples we’ve seen. Unfortunately, many other cabinets were made during this period, but with lesser quality wood, skill, and imagination. It’s important to note the distinctly rich carvings, thoughtful details, and patina when buying a French “Hunt” piece.
The buffet is topped by a richly detailed crown featuring a stag surrounded by foliage, grape clusters, and logs with C-scrolled offshoots. On either side is a bulbous finial embellished with recessed gadrooning. Beneath the molded cornice is a foliate cartouche with a textured background. A pair of birds perched on the rinceaux carvings flank a French style shield (which is emblazoned with a sinuous carving), a scalloped shell and scrolls. Luxurious turned full columns with caulicole capitals frame two glass doors with thick rectilinear molding. Each door has an arched top adorned with lunettes infilled with foliage. Behind the doors are three full-length shelves whose edges are graced with a repeating geometric pattern.
Additional infilled lunettes can be seen at the top of the lower body, just above two drawers with iron pendant pulls. Both drawers have exquisite foliate carvings, expanding on motifs found on the upper body (and the side panels). A full-length shelf is revealed by opening the animal-themed doors. The left door depicts a pair of ducks standing in between some reeds, while the right door has two hares amongst foliate bushes. On each side of the doors are two more turned full columns, once again providing symmetry between the two sections. Beneath the columns is a crenellated apron above quarter round molding, carved with a repeating geometric pattern.
We have applied a fresh coat of French wax, allowing the intricacies of the carvings to stand out. This handsome French oak hunt buffet cabinet is perfect for a game room or gentleman’s office and would instantly become a statement piece.
CONDITION: Good antique condition with wear commensurate to age and use, including minor losses and age separations. Light buildup to glass. Two iron keys for functioning locks on the upper and lower bodies, but the lock for the pull-out drawers is not activated by the third key. Glass of left door was replaced after photographs were taken. Please see photos for details.
H - 111, crown W - 63 1/8, body W - 61 3/8, D - 24 1/4
Grande French Oak Hunt Buffet de Chasse Cabinet, Circa 1880
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