From antique desks to Victorian dining chairs , the “Golden Age” of Louis XIV had tremendous influence on 18th and 19th century design. If you want to make a Louis-XIV-style antique dining table , a Lancashire dealer will probably have an affordable Victorian copy. Buying a matching timepiece may be a different matter, however. Recently, a 17th century Golden Age table clock was sold at Bonhams for over £600,000. It was valued at £200,000 – £300,000.
Bonhams specialist James Stratton immediately realized the clock’s rarity, recognizing it as the work of Ahasuerus Fromanteel. A renowned Dutch-born clockmaker, Fromanteel moved to London in the 1650’s, where he continued making Baroque timepieces. He worked alongside compatriots Christian Huygens and Salomon Coster, and was instrumental in bringing the pendulum clock (which was patented by Huygens) to England . The Bonhams clock was made around 1655. Unrestored and in mint condition, it invited some heavy bidding from specialist dealers. Starting at £100,000, bids rose in £200,000 increments – until the hammer fell to clock dealer Carter Wright, of Gloucester.
At the time it was made, the Fromanteel clock – which carried a Parisian dealer’s label – would have stood in opulent surroundings indeed. European furniture of the period was dominated by the Baroque, and both comfortable and elaborate. Aristocratic homes sparkled with ornate antique balloon back dining chairs , and inlaid marquetry antique desks, created by craftsmen like André Charles Boulle.
Original Sun King furniture sells for enormous sums at auction. However, antique dealers in towns like Preston sell Victorian dining chairs and antique dining tables in the Golden Age style, at far more affordable prices.
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