The Antique Renaissance Fireplace...A short narrative...January 2010.

18 January 2010

THE EXPRESSION "RENAISSANCE" …meaning in French “Rebirth” , was coined in the 19th century and variously covers a period from the 14th to the 17th century…different schools of thought give different dates.

It originated in Florence in Italy and was a broad cultural movement including style and design which drew inspiration from Classical Antiquity…Ancient Greece and Rome and the Etruscans in between….and spread through all of Europe, where it gained further impetus …the French even claimed it as their original creation at one point.

9902...An antique Marble Renaissance Revival Fireplace Mantel , 19th century...typical of the genre...Available.


ELEMENTS OF THE RENAISSANCE STYLE of design in fireplace mantels were again revived at later periods …notably the 19th century in Europe and North America, and called Renaissance Revival or Neo Renaissance..... 10837 is another typical example of a Venetian Renaissance Revival Inglenook fireplace mantel in this case it is richly carved in oak and was recently removed from what had been Sir Walter Raleighs still existant 15th century house in Ireland....Sold.


RENAISSANCE , HIGH RENAISSANCE and NEO RENAISSANCE style fireplaces and design generally were and are mostly found in prestigious buildings of Grand Scale…both Palaces…. Palazzo ...Chateaux…. Castles and more recently in Municipal and State administration institutions…even Railway stations.

9856 on the right is a very early 16th Century Antique Italian Period Renaissance chimneypiece from the North East Venetto ...Verona / Venice region of Italy and was possibly the work of Jacopo Sansovino , 1486 -1570...and carved from intensly rich Fossilised Lumachella Bigia ...translates to Snails....marble....Sold.


THE STYLE IS BEST DESCRIBED AS RICH AND INTRICATE , and while not appealing to all tastes or suitable for all locations or decors it is universally appreciated for its sophistication and quality of craftsmanship and materials essential to its proper execution.... incorporating as it does linear and geometric shapes and forms scrolled and intertwined with motifs from the natural world…frequently symbolic plants Vines , Palmettes, Oak & Laurel leaves , Acanthus etc….And floral … Anthymion / Honeysuckle , Fleur de Lys , Roses….. also Mythological, and Heraldic Animal forms…Griffins , serpents ,Dragons, Lions ,Panthers Unicorns and so on.....many of these motifs are to be seen on 7030 a period Italian Renaissance fireplace mantel in richly carved white marbleon the left ......Sold.


APART FROM THE MANY EXAMPLES OF RENAISSANCE Chimneypieces in Florence…home of the Medicis and their rivals the Strozzis … L’Alberti …L’Albizzi , many Renaissance fireplaces are to be found in Venice…in the Palazzo Ducale in Piazza San Marco of course , and in many waterside Palazzos and Villas in that great former Maritime City State....4721 on the right being another very rare example of a period Italian , Venetian antique fireplace mantel finely carved in Pietra D' attractive hard limestone...also considered to be a marble... which has sculpted characteristics from the 15th century Dalmatian Sculptor Giorgio de Sebenico who carved very comparable high profile imagery on the facade of Il Duomo D'Ancona....Ancona's Cathedral.....Available.


IN ENGLAND THE RENAISSANCE ERA STARTED much later than and was mostly different from the Italian ...being heavily influenced by the Flemish and German...the evolving Northern Renaissance Architectural style.

It included the Elizabethan Tudor and Jacobean eras and other examples in the preceeding reign of Henry VIII... during which Hans Holbein from Augsburg in Bavaria was gainfully employed at the court doing highly acclaimed portraits of the King and Thomas More, and actually produced a design for a large Chimneypiece in the style.

Fine examples are to still to be seen in the Great houses or Palaces even, of Hampton Court, Hatfield House , Hardwick Hall and Burghley House….9061 ..this superb antique English fireplace mantel removed by us with the partly 17th century panelled room from a great house in Yorkshire , is an exact 19th century Renaissance Revival replica of a large English Jacobean Renaissance mantelpiece now in the Victoria & Albert Museum…but originally from the Hunting Lodge of King James Bromley by Bow…Sold...


REFLECTING ON THE ABOVE AND IMPORTANT to acknowledge….the Antique Renaissance Fireplace mantel….especially the typical Italian example.. can be said to frequently embody the Sophistication, the style , prestige , opulence and.. not least..the symbolised nature which when stylistically portrayed epitomised the emergence of civilised society from the gloom, ignorance…and repression of the aptly named Dark Ages…revealing the joy , beauty and fascination with the planet…the heavens…the liberated human mind and body……the rediscovery of the facts and exotic wonders of life and the Universe… such as Perspective in the Graphic arts… and the spirit... known to the Ancient Romans and Greeks but squirreled away theretofore by those Latin Scribes the Know.

10321 is another 19th century Renaissance Revival Fireplace mantel in polished Namur Black Marble.... architectural , smart and imposing…with a Palladian element in the design.


11233. AN EXTREMELY LARGE AND RARE INGLENOOK CHIMNEYPIECE OF THE TUD0R RENAISSANCE PERIOD.The richly carved limestone detail on the top frieze depicting mythic deities, oak leaves and birds interspersed with drapes and floral decoration. A Wood Nymph or Dryad is carved on the left and a Dolphin on the right spandrel. Bead and reel, Bellflower and lambs tongue decoration are carved around the perimeters. The very broad arch has three central Joggled Voussoirs or keystones.

PROVENANCE : Removed from a 19th century hostelry in North London, original provenance not known, but probably from the Great Hall.....rather than the kitchen....see the Jack and the Beanstalk one at Hampton Court Palace below...of a large Tudor / Jacobean Manor House or Priory. English circa 1600. SCALE : Immense.

10419. A RARE & LARGE PERIOD VENETIAN RENAISSANCE Camino in carved limestone. The substantial top section with a stop-fluted gallery over the Vitruvian scrolled carved Lintol supported on scrolled brackets over fluted jambs with lion paw feet on baluster footblocks. Italian circa 1660.

9807. A RARE, PERIOD VENETIAN RENAISSANCE CHIMNEYPIECE richly carved in Istrian Stone. The carved detail on the frieze centered by a Stemma Nobilare or Family Crest as yet not identified, flanked by a profusion of sharply defined scrolled foliage, urns of fruit and winged birds symbolising Peace and Abundance. The upper part sits on two typical scrolled Venetian Capitals and the supporting jambs are carved with flaming urns over ears of wheat on their leaved stalks in tall planters below.

Italian 16th to 17th century. Photo before restoration.

COMMENTS : Renaissance Venice, The Lion City, The floating Republic, Imperial Venice where commerce ruled, which challenged the Pope and Islam but absorbed qualities from both. The City of Titian and Palladio...

9123.CAMINO IN LEGNO DI NOCE, STILO SCOLPTORI SALVATORE VALENTI , PALERMO , SICILIA... : A richly carved Neo Renaissance Walnut chimneypiece in the manner of Salvatore Valenti , an Italian sculptor active in Palermo, Sicily 1835-1903.The boldly scaled decorative features of florally scrolled Griffin panels either side of the central coat of arms under a seated male griffin, with Bacchanalian Satyr masks on either end over maidenheaded scrolled caryatids.

Italian late 19th century, ( photo before restoration). CAMINO IN LEGNO DI NOCE SCOLPITO A MOTIVI FLOREALI

11217. A large carved oak Italian Renaissance chimneypiece richly carved in oak. Of typical North Italian / Venetian format, the frieze centered with a mask of Bachus the Roman wine god, within a scrolled cartouche flanked by foliate / fish tailed amorini and scrolling foliage on the side panels , and bearded horned Satyr masks within draped cartouches on the endblocks. This is supported on Ionic capitals over male and female Atlanteans, with further grinning Bacchic horned masks centerfield. Images before restoration, and fitted with 11135, steel brass and copper insert altered to fit. Italian 19th century.

4721. A rare Venetian Gothic Renaissance antique fireplace mantel from the fifteenth century. This extremely rare chimneypiece is carved in Pietra d’Istria marble from the Istrian Peninsula near Venice and is attributed to Giorgio da Sebenico, sculptor of the Duomo San Francesco, Cathedral of Ancona, which features nearly identical images on the portale.

Italy, circa 1460.

Scale : Large

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