FURNITURE OF THE SPANISH RENAISSANCE S Gothic ornament was largely dominated by Saracenic influence, so it was with the ornament of the Renaissance. Through all the work of Spanish craftsmen runs a vein of Moorish feeling. It is shown in all the arts, especially in that of the wood-carver. Many pieces of furniture of this period are distinctly Moorish; others combine a strong Italian or Flemish influence.

Furniture was imported in quantities and the fact that an old piece is found in Spain does not always indicate that it is of Spanish origin. Charles V, anxious to equal his royal brother-in-law in the splendor of his court, invited workmen from the important cities of Europe to establish their crafts in Seville, Toledo, Valladolid, and Vargua. Among the foreign workmen who took up their residence on Spanish soil were wood-carvers, tapes try-weavers, marqueters, inlayers, and goldsmiths. Moorish inlaying was already a perfected craft and visiting artisans in this branch learned more than they gave. The metal-work of the peninsula had been for centuries of a high order, especially in the way of damascening and niello work.

Rare and beautiful woods entered into the composition of Spanish furniture during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. From her possessions in the east Spain imported ebony and ivoty which were utilized in the making of coffers and cabinets. Many of the latter were plain on the exterior, except for beautifully wrought locks and hinges. The ornament was confined to the interior and was of exquisite workmanship. The connection between the chest and the cabinet seems to have been a close one in Spain. The massive cupboards and presses of the north found little favor among native designers. The typical Spanish cabinet was an elevated chest supported by carved or turned columns. Instead of doors there was a drop lid which could be lowered by a turn of a key. Inside were many drawers and compartments ornamented in gold and vermilion, or showing the characteristic combination of ivory and silver. Miniature arches, colonnades, and doors were revealed by the turning key. "All somewhat bizarre," says an English critic, "and altogether rather barbarous, but a rich and effective treatment." Silver was used to such an extent in the making of furniture that it was forbidden by a royal edict in the latter part of the sixteenth century. "No cabinets, desks, coffers, braziers, tables, or other articles decorated with stamped, raised, carved, or plain silver should be manufactured."

The influence of the Flemish cane chair on furniture-making of other nations has been mentioned. The leather chair of Spain almost equaled it in importance The Spanish design consisted of a sturdy frame of oak or chestnut, a back completely incased in leather, turned stretchers, a carved under-brace, and feet which have been termed "hoof" by collectors. The leather was of decorated Cordovan held in place by large nails. An interesting fate pursued this chair, together with the celebrated Flemish model. English furniture-makers combined the back of one with the feet of the other, sometimes using cane, sometimes leather. The composite chair which reached America late in the seventeenth century, usually had Spanish feet grafted upon a Flemish framework. The intermingling of the two designs worked for good in many cases, for in the hands of skilful craftsmen the best points of the two were retained. The Spanish foot was undoubtedly more graceful than the Flemish, while the general outline of the Flemish chair was better than the Spanish. The Italians combined the various characteristics with marked success. The English were less successful in their treatment. In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston is a beautiful high-backed leather chair. It has the scrolled under-brace, the fine hoof feet, and other distinctive marks of the pure Spanish type. It is one of the best examples of its kind in America.

A characteristic Spanish-Flemish design may be found in the chapter entitled Colonial Furniture, page 172. This chair shows the mingling of the two styles, and is of English origin.

spanish chair, museum of finte arts, boston
How To Sell Furniture

How To Sell Furniture

Types Of Furniture To Sell. There are many types of products you can sell. You just need to determine who your target market is and what specific item they want. Or you could sell a couple different ones in a package deal.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment