This Welsh carved walnut dresser from the end of the 19th century is representative of the Neo-Gothic style.
The decor of this double bodied dresser is inspired by that of a cathedral. It is adorned with sculpted colonnettes that structure the piece of furniture and ressemble church pillars and their capitals. Semicircular arches, hanging keystones, and linenfold panels compose the dresser’s ornamentation which is largely based on the decorative repertoire of Gothic architecture.
The piece's originality resides particularly in the satyr heads carved in low-relief, situated on the doors of the lower part and at the top of the colonnettes and pilasters.
The neo-Gothic style started in England at the end of the 18th century, and during the 19th century, it became the major artistic style in Europe and North America. After the rediscovery of Antiquity at the Renaissance, artistic trends moved on to explore other historical periods. When Victor Hugo wrote “Notre-Dame de Paris”, the Middle-Ages became a fascinating era: architecture and furniture were inspired by Gothic art, especially the Flamboyant style from the end of the 15th century. Princess Marie d’Orléans had a major influence on the onset of this style.
The motif of the satyr heads is a reference to Antiquity and the Renaissance, as are the grotesques that surround them. By this combination of decorative and historical references, this piece of furniture illustrates Eclecticism, a mixture of styles widely appreciated at the end of the 19th century.