This magnificent and rare period French Regence (1715-1723) buffet is made from French oak. It is referred to in France as a buffet deux corps (2 bodied buffet, upper and lower), and also a buffet de presentation. This large piece was used to house valuable faience, porcelains, dishes, and silver objects. During receptions at the Chateau, the doors would be left open to reveal all of the treasures inside. Many other buffets de presentation had double hinges on the doors, which would permit them to open widely. However, with very large pieces, such as this one, they were not necessary. FIVE separate upper compartments could open displaying a total of 24 large surfaces for objects. The lower body has 5 doors that open to show an additional 10 surfaces for display.
From the style of carvings, it can be considered a piece from the Ile De France, in otherwords, the Paris region. After the death of the Sun King in 1715, noble families were now free to return to Paris and build many luxurious homes. Others returned to the nearby countryside, where they filled their Chateaux with furnishings in the Parisian taste. A new category of furniture evolved, with more sumptuous lines, symmetrical shell carvings, more simple than that of Louis XIV, and in solid regional woods (no inlaid or veneered pieces). During the French Regence period, solid French Oak was a premier wood for furniture making.
Overall, furniture design compositions remained quite symmetrical. When there were decorative asymmetrical motifs, they were always one of a symmetrical pair. Profiles were curved and undulating, as is the case with this piece. The center door with its lower cabinet is concave while the two adjacent doors are convex. The concave curved side doors are more indented than the front center three. The only straight panels are on the outer sides. Regence motifs were more delicate and featured the scalloped shell or coquilles, which are shown in a variety of shapes on this piece. Beneath the crown at the center top is the largest motif, a symmetrical pierced shell rising from two acanthus leaves and C-scroll acanthus leaves. Other motifs throughout this piece are stylized acanthus leaves, floral vines and c-scrolls.
This period Regence, grande buffet deux corps once graced the large dining room of a Chateau in the Ile de France Region. It's sheer size, form, and beauty make it a true rarity. We believe it has been in the United States since the 1900's and more recently from a dealer in Los Angeles sometime during the 1970’s (based on shipping stickers, etc).
CONDITION: Good antique condition with some restorations, age separations, minor losses to motifs and wood, rubs, nicks and scratches, all commensurate with age of early 1700’s.
Height=126, Length of Lower Section=113 3/8, Crown Length=117 1/4, Crown Depth=32, Lower Section Depth=30
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