A forthcoming auction in Pasadena, California will feature French furniture in the opulent Belle Epoque style, with an antique cabinet by the master of the era, Francois Linke (1855 – 1946) expected to make in the region of $70,000 (£45,000).
The cabinet is one of several antique vitrines in the auction. Constructed from rosewood, it features finely crafted ormolu mounts and Wedgwood jasperware plaques, designed in elegant Louis XVI style. A number of other pieces in the Beverly Hills consignment are of similarly refined taste.
La Belle Epoche, or Beautiful Era, describes a period in French history that began 20 years after the Third Republic (1870 – 1940) and ended with the outbreak of WWI in 1914. This was a time of peace, optimism and scientific discovery, when the arts were allowed to flourish as they had during the Golden Age of the 18th century. The trend spread abroad. In late 19th century and early 20th century Lancashire, Victorian dining chairs , antique desks and other furnishings often copied the Belle Epoche style. In America, the Gilded Age embraced the concept even more.
Clothing an entire home in this way, as rich Americans often do, may seem a little extreme for our tastes. However, a single gilded antique balloon back dining chair in a Cumbrian home can work very well as a statement piece. Antique dealers in Lancashire often have Victorian dining chairs and antique chests in Belle Epoche style but without the heavy commission fees of auction houses.
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