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History of Gustavian furniture

In recent years, the classic clean lines and true elegance of Gustavian Swedish antique furniture have become very popular. They have a life and refinement that excite the eye and the patina that has built up as part of the finish over the years of use gives them a sense of authenticity amongst the mire of today’s reproductions. So how did it start and where did the influences come from? of? The Gustavian period (1772-1792) followed the more flowery excesses of the early Swedish rococo styles under the patronage of King Carl Gustaf III, who had returned from an extended stay at the court of Louis XVI at Versailles. He traveled there as a young man and was heavily influenced by the pomp and glamor associated with the court of King Louis. In typical Swedish fashion, the excesses of the French court were toned down, creating a much more understated and elegant style that we see so much of today.

The classic grays and off-whites of the Gustavian color palette highlight the striking use of golden gilt in the most elegant way. While most people are familiar with Gustavian gray minimalism, Gustavian public entertainment rooms were awash with incredible giltwood sofas, chairs, mirrors, chairs, and cabinetry in a Swedish interpretation of the more ostentatious French Louis XVI style. You may also recognize the classic ribbed front pattern that appears on many gray/white Gustavian cabinets as an intricate part of the design. Also the classic Gustavian sofa is heavily based on the French Louis XVI style. Most often in gilt or white gold and gold, the sofas would be highly detailed in appointments and wonderfully hand carved.

As they were on display in public entertainment rooms, they were upholstered in sumptuous fabrics and stuffed with horse hair which made them exceptionally comfortable. They can be found in sizes from 2 to 8 seater if you look at the Gustavian dressers, while they are thick in build and usually painted. They have fairly simple handles and shields and are often made of pine. Unlike modern pine, this wood is heavy and you get good drawer storage space.

The traditional 3-drawer version measures approximately 110cm wide x 92cm high, finally the Kurbits style of folk art developed in the Dalarna region of central Sweden around 1700 to the mid 1800s. Its style Decorative and floral motifs adorned a variety of rustic pine furniture, beds, Moorish clocks and cabinets. Often given as wedding gifts, they would be a place of honor in small village ‘stugas’ and provide a riot of color and detail in the otherwise crudely carved pine of village life. The ‘Kurbits’ style is a freehand pattern to which each artist brought their own individual feeling. It is now very difficult to find someone who can master the intricate swoops and swirls created by these 18th century craftsmen. Generally painted in a variety of browns, ochres, yellows, reds and oranges, you can also occasionally find it in aquamarines and shades of blue and turquoise.

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