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The emergence of period provincial furniture – a play in three acts:

The provincial furniture of the rural populations

In the second half of the 18ᵗʰ century, the country folk began to take an interest in plush hand-crafted furniture, frequently offered on the occasion of a marriage:

  • Wedding gift wardrobe
  • Wedding trunk
  • Bahut vaisselier

Two families got together to celebrate the union of their children. Which of them would show the most generosity? Which one would be the most demanding? One family would order a sideboard or a wardrobe from the cabinet maker, while the other family would ask a renowned blacksmith to make the finest horseshoes. The furniture produced in this way reveals the excellence of the local craftsmen and the originality of the regional culture, different in Cantal and Provence, for example.

The furniture created for these occasions, when the whole village community got together, was inspired by the Louis XV style which was all the rage at that time. A charming, flowery style which reinvented the curve. The curvilinear exuberance of the Renaissance period was well and truly back. This peasant tradition, celebrating the Louis XV style in all its forms, continued right up to the end of the 19ᵗʰ century.

A fine example of provincial country furniture

Oak wedding wardrobe – 19ᵗʰ century – Brittany
Oak wedding wardrobe – 19ᵗʰ century – Brittany

Oak wedding wardrobe – 19ᵗʰ century – Brittany

For the most part, popular art furniture was specially ordered for weddings. The families deployed considerable means so that their children’s union would be fertile, prosperous and everlasting. The symbols that were used were understood by everybody, since they were rooted in a shared religious iconography. Beside the wardrobe, the other piece of furniture standing for this popular art was often the chest and sometimes the sideboard.

Reference number: MP001

Below you can see a few samples from our vast collection of popular art furniture. Please do not hesitate to consult us.

Cottage chest, a folk art chef-d’œuvre – 17ᵗʰ century – Gers [MP006]

Cottage chest, a folk art chef-d’œuvre – 17ᵗʰ century – Gers [MP006] Highly original and cleverly designed, this wedding gift chest, the work of a provincial cabinetmaker, shows an inventive and “no-nonsense” approach with special attention paid to the choice of wood species. This chest is made up of six strong boards, all from the…

Cherry kitchen table – 18ᵗʰ century – South West [MP011]

Cherry kitchen table – 18ᵗʰ century – South West – Reference: MP011 – This small kitchen table was custom-made by a resident carpenter. In the eighteenth century, the sponsor invited the craftsman to stay at home time to accomplish his work, offering him for this period the lodging and the cover.  

Grand fir fireplace bench – 19ᵗʰ century – Pyrénées [MP010]

This large fir-tree bench from the Pyrénées was placed in front of the hearth to warm up while contemplating the flames. It is comfortable because of its large size and generous backrest. The disproportionate armrests are a pure creation of the farmer-woodworker who shaped it. The curve that overhangs the backrest brings roundness and softness…

Shop counter – late 19ᵗʰ century – France [MP009]

This shop counter shaped in the late 19ᵗʰ century still bears the trace of its original white paint that emphasizes the moldings and console legs, treated on a neoclassical model. On its back side appear two shelves and a small drawer where was stored the change; the ancestor of the cash drawer on the eve…

Pinewood seed measuring device – 19ᵗʰ century – Auvergne – Massif Central [MP008]

Pinewood seed measuring device – 19ᵗʰ century – Auvergne – Massif Central Designed for a specific agricultural function, measuring seeds, this unique piece combines traditional workmanship and the artistic touch of the peasant farmer who created it. The dovetailed corners have been carefully fitted together and adorned with rosettes and fingernail notches on the sides.…

Natural oak, popular art chest of drawers – 18ᵗʰ century – Pyrenees [MP007]

Natural oak, popular art chest of drawers – 18ᵗʰ century – Pyrenees The rusticity of countryside furniture and the elegance of the Louis XV style come harmoniously together in this natural oak chest of drawers made by a cabinetmaker in the Pyrenees. The medallions in the centre of the three drawers are decorated with three…

Oak storage wardrobe – from a monastery – 17ᵗʰ century – Burgundy [MP005]

Oak storage wardrobe – from a monastery – 17ᵗʰ century – Burgundy A veritable masterpiece created by a 17ᵗʰ century “image maker” (the name attributed to wood carvers), this storage wardrobe stood proudly in a monastery that used to produce Burgundy wine. It bears witness to this noble activity with an abundance of symbols: Four…

Louis XIII kitchen cupboard 17ᵗʰ century – Haute‑Loire [MP002]

This softwood cupboard used to take pride of place in the kitchen. A unique feature is its spacious drawers for storing bread. Beneath the drawers there is a pull-out breadboard. More info

Oak wedding wardrobe – 19ᵗʰ century – Brittany [MP001]

For the most part, popular art furniture was specially ordered for weddings. The families deployed considerable means so that their children’s union would be fertile, prosperous and everlasting. The symbols that were used were understood by everybody, since they were rooted in a shared religious iconography. Beside the wardrobe, the other piece of furniture standing…

Walnut sideboard with tabernacle – 19ᵗʰ century – Provence [MP004]

This Provençal sideboard has a rich floral ornamentation. The upper part has sliding doors called “glissants”. Finely crafted iron fittings. The lower crosspiece is decorated with a soup tureen and olive branches. Scroll feet.

Draper’s table – 19ᵗʰ century – Pyrénées [MP003]

Ideal for entertaining. Dimensions: length: 3m40, width: 1m38, height: 80cm.