Saturday, June 5, 2010

Thanks, My Favorite French Antiques

Remember this from yesterday's post?

I asked Nance of MY Favorite French Antiques if she could tell us anything about the painted secretary. She was so kind to respond. Thanks Nance. Yall go check out her lovely blog....beautiful images and great stories! 

The top of the secretary throws me...but the paint makes me think Venetian. I saw a Venetian style painted secretary (early 20thc) on Ruby Lane...the drawers reminded me of the secretary used in the room.

I see they like a mix of French and Italian.

So now I'm on a quest!

Just what is Venetian style? 

It seems that the Venetian style of painting was developed in the 16th century from the Venice area of Italy, primarily by decendants of the Bellini family (and I thought they just made frozen peach girly drinks!)

The Venetian artisans and furniture makers developed their own style which became very popular thoughout Europe.  They were highly influenced by the Chinese laquered pieces, and chinoiserie. 

Their style centered around cabinets, shelves and mirrors.  Carvers used local woods like walnut or olive wood to shape simple legs and ornate uppers. 

The surface preparation using a gesso technique insured a fine ground for decoration and detailed work.  The Venetians had a fondness for pastels, and most of the pieces crafted during this time were painted and decorated with soft pastel tones. 

 Another favorite combination was black with pearl or silver handles.

This incredibly prolific, artist region of Italy also gave us Venetian mirrors....

 This is an antique Venetian mirror, circa 1700's

which we still copy and make new today.

The technique for authentic Venetian plaster walls came from the artists of the region...

Plaster Artistry
and we're still creating the finish in homes today.

Obviously, this period and region has been an influencer in design for hundreds of years, and is responsible for much of the classic designs that give character to our current homes.  

  Do you think they are responsible for Venetian Blinds as well???  I think that's a story for another day! 


  1. Oh Sally, My eyes are watering from your kind comments. The first time I did the antique show in Round Top and met the people in Texas, I fell in love with everyone. I can see you are true Texas!!

    It is wonderful how it all goes round and round...I learned so much from your post today, thank you.

  2. Sally, fabulous examples, I love Venetian mirrors and Bellini's too!! I may have to try painting a piece of furniture in this style!

    Art by Karena

  3. Oh Nance! It's not hard to be nice to you! I agree there are some lovely people here in the Lone Star State, and we're happy to have you whenever you want to come on down! I call this blog DivineDistractions because I love to follow a diversion when it seems more interesting than the plan. You sparked my interest, and there I go. Thanks for getting my imagination to take a turn.
    Karena, I've painted alot of of my favorite things to do. One day I might have to post some! Good luck...can't wait to see !

  4. Darling finds! Hope you had a fabulous weekend! x

  5. I adore Venetian mirrors as well1

  6. Stunning post! My Favorite really knows her stuff, doesn't she! This stuff is so gorgeous, I really would love to have an original but it's so beautiful I would be happy with a reproduction, too! XO!

  7. These are absolutely beautiful pieces! I also love the Venetian plaster. I have a plaster faux finish in my dining room that I did about 10 years ago and I still love it now. It's timeless, unlike some of the other faux finishes that used to be popular, like sponging.

    I owe you my recipe for snowball cookies, don't I? Will have to e-mail it to you, soon!


  8. Sally, what amazing pieces I love the Chinoiserie influence. Great post my friend, Kathysue

  9. Oh that antique mirror makes me weak in my knees. So glad I found you, another local Dallasite designer. LOVE your blog! off to go read more!

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Blogs are all about the dialogue. I'd love to hear your thoughts!