We're thrilled to have our sponsors EBTH join us this week as a guest blogger! Read on to learn more about this great company that grew out of the Cincinnati antiques market--something near and dear to our hearts!
The Chinoiserie movement started in Europe in the 17th Century, growing out of a fascination with Chinese artistic traditions in design, architecture and the decorative arts. As trade with China developed during the 18th Century, Chinoiserie pieces became even more popular, as they mixed well with the Rococo design style that was already flourishing across Europe. For nearly 400 years, the Chinoiserie movement has played a major role in Western interior design and has produced some of the most sought after pieces for antiques collectors across the world.
Everything But The House (EBTH) decided to celebrate this year’s Design Cincinnati theme by digging into our vaults and highlighting a few of the most interesting Chinoiserie pieces that have passed through our auctions since 2008:
1.Janssen Upright Piano With Chinoiserie Design (Winning Bid: $3,655)
This unique upright piano, though manufactured in 1950, features classic Chinoiserie details that turn a basic musical instrument into a piece that can easily act as the design inspiration for any room.The black lacquered finish, gold painted trim and beautifully designed images of Asian figures, butterflies and Chinese landscapes transform this modern piece with the hallmarks of Chinoiserie decor.
2.Antique Chinoiserie Secrétaire (Winning Bid: $1,850)
One of the most popular pieces from the Chinoiserie design movement is the classic secrétaire writing desk.A number of these intricately detailed desks have been featured in our online auctions, but this particular model stands out as one of the best examples of traditional chinoiserie design.Though the black lacquered finish and gilt detailing immediately grab your attention, the most striking and delightfully surprising feature is the bright red interior.
3.1880 Gilt Bronze Ormolu Porcelain Foo Dogs Mantel Clock (Winning Bid: $1,051)
Chinese Guardian Lions, or “Foo Dogs,” are a common motif in Chinoiserie decor.The first appearance of these familiar lion figures dates back to the Han Dynasty in 206 BC.Amazingly, the guardian lion remains a popular element of Chinese art, architecture and decor.This ornate 130-year-old mantel clock, sold on EBTH last year, is a magnificent example of the lasting decor pieces that grew out of the 19th Century Chinoiserie revival.
4.Hand-Painted Chinoiserie Wooden Room Divider (Winning Bid: $2,375)
One of the staples of Chinoiserie decor is the Asian room divider screen.These screens, traditionally hand painted with intricately detailed scenes of Chinese landscapes, buildings and people, offer both an eye-catching work of art and a functional piece of furniture.This 8-panel screen auctioned earlier this year offers a look at the craftsmanship inherent in a true Chinoiserie piece.
5.Ornate Carved Resin Chinoiserie Sculpture (Winning Bid: $675)
Some of the most beautiful works we’ve seen come out of the Chinoiserie movement are the sculptural pieces.One piece that immediately came to mind was this carved resin sculpture, which features many of the most common points of inspiration for Chinoiserie artisans - Chinese architecture, wildlife and cultural iconography. The sheer detail of this piece is a marvel to behold.
6.Hand-Painted Gracie Watercolor Wallpaper Panels (Winning Bid: $1,850)
One of the most interesting trends that grew out of the European Chinoiserie movement in the 1700s was the increased popularity of wallpaper.European aristocrats began decorating their homes with beautiful hand-painted wallpaper panels from Chinese artists.These same motifs remain popular in wallpaper design today, but nothing can match the level of skill and patience necessary to create wallpaper by hand.These watercolor painted panels were auctioned by EBTH earlier this year, and are an astonishing example of the artistry of Chinoiserie designers.
7.Antique Russian Chinoiserie Silver Decanter (Winning Bid: $410)
Though popularized across Western Europe, the Chinoiserie movement also made its way into Russia, where palaces were regularly designed using Chinese elements.The influence of Chinoiserie design is evident in Russian decorative arts from the 19th Century.Made in 1882, this antique silver decanter stands as a memorable piece.
8.19th Century Chinoiserie Papier Mâché Writing Desk (Winning Bid: $1,050)
The beauty of this piece is that it’s a perfect marriage of 19th Century European design and Chinoiserie inspiration.Chinese design elements are incorporated into a French papier mâché writing desk with a hand-painted European village scene embellished with inlaid abalone and mother-of-pearl accents.
Everything But The House grew out of the Cincinnati antiques market, where seasoned vintage sellers, Jacquie Denny and Brian Graves, kept crossing paths and trading notes about people, the pieces they collect over a lifetime, and the stories those items tell. Formed in 2008, EBTH.com sells furniture, jewelry, art, coins, cars, collectibles and more in 27 cities and counting. With over 300 sales a month, EBTH is still guided by Jacquie and Brian’s belief that there’s a one-of-a-kind piece waiting inside of every house.No matter what your taste or decor style, you’re sure to find truly unique pieces at Everything But The House.