Decorative sculpture was an essential part of interior decoration in the first half of the eighteenth century. The Genoese artists Filippo and Domenico Parodi infused it with the baroque spirit of Bernini, reflected in their Four Seasons sculptures. Two spectacular furniture pieces – a large, gilt wood console table and a waxed oak buffet and hutch – illustrate the importance of ornamental carving in France, with decoration in low relief and in the round combining chimerical creatures and faces. The woodworker Charles Cressent was perhaps the most highly skilled artist in this field; he interwove these motifs in masterful pieces such as the large clock in which the bronze worker’s art takes pride of place over that of the cabinetmaker. A selection of wall consoles and frame surrounds reflects the popularity of gilt wood in this period.
Display case with glasses
The history of seventeenth-century French glassware is dominated by an Italian-born Frenchman, Bernard Perrot (1619-1709), who settled in Orléans and whose successors remained in the region in the eighteenth century. This room displays some innovative forms and materials attributed to him – such as the table centerpiece element in the form of a dolphin – alongside other forms attributed to French manufacturers, confirmed by archaeological excavations or recurrent in iconography.
Although recorded in many other cities, the production of lampworked enamel figurines is traditionally known as verre filé de Nevers (“spun glass from Nevers”). Objects of popular devotion were mass-produced using this technique and veritable miniature sculptures were created, like the figures in this display case.