There is a style of decorating called “Chinoiserie” that is a French term pronounced (shen’wäz-re’) “which pays homage to Oriental influences but expressed in such a way that the rooms have a very European flavor. Chinoiserie became wildly popular in the late 17th century and and peaked around the middle of the 18th century before Neoclassicism became all the rage.
Europeans and the English were fascinated with the Far East and as trade opened up with China and Asia, exotic silks, porcelains and fantastic tales of the way these peoples live inspired this decorating style. It could be seen in everything from landscape design to furniture to architecture and all through the decorative arts. It was embraced by the French as it blended so well with the Rococo style. Thomas Chippendale incorporated fretwork into furniture and the term “Chinese Chippendale” was coined. English country estates built fanciful pagodas and French chateaus and castles had entire rooms painted in the “Chinoiserie” style.
The style can be a bit formal and fussy for the way we live today, but nonetheless an elegant mix of pieces from the Far East and the old world can give any room you are decorating incredible flair.
Very often our monthly estate auctions feature many pieces of decorative Asian porcelain, furniture, art and decorative antiques. With all the current interest by Asian collectors these pieces often sell for very high prices and are out of reach of the average persons decorating budget. Surprisingly though, many are still very affordable, especially if they do not have a lot of antique value and were produced for the masses.
Your decorating style does not have to be Asian themed for them to work well. Asian antiques work with most decorating styles and add a bit of the exotic to any room.
Take for example this 19th century Chinese Famille Rose Vase that was in our February 8th sale, valued at $300-$500 it sold for $150.00 to a lucky bidder. Decorated in beautiful pinks and greens, with peonies and birds in a baluster form this vase would have huge decorative impact empty, or filled with flowers on an entry table, or in any room of the house.
Imagine this lovely piece on your foyer table or in a living room with forced branches of apple blossoms, quince or pussy willows this spring.
When looking at Asian porcelain the painting should be highly detailed and precise, the colors should be harmonious with the colors you have chosen for your interior.
Our estate auctions are the perfect place to start a blue and white porcelain collection in which you can mix many types, both Asian and European. Blue and white Canton pieces come up frequently and are very affordable and are the perfect pieces to start a collection. I love the look of many may pieces of blue and white together in any room.
All of these wonderful blue and white Asian pieces sold for $100 at our auctions,
with a few purchases like this you are well on your way to a fantastic collection….
Chinoiserie wallpaper is very popular and is a great way to dramatically change the look of a room.
An example of a dining room with Chinoiserie wallpaper
And a more modern interpretation of Chinoiserie wallpaper in a foyer .
If you don’t want to go “whole hog” with the “Chinoiserie” look in a room, Chinese artists often painted onto screens, panels and scrolls. They were prized for their detailed images and calligraphy brush strokes. Our estate sales often feature pieces like these that can easily create a focal point for a large wall space or behind a furniture grouping .
Screens also work very well in a bedroom and make wonderful decorative headboards.
Every month is different but you will often find Asian cabinets like these pictured, in our monthly auctions.
garden stools …
Beautiful Asian vases made into lamps
And decorative mirrors like this Chinoiserie mirror coming up this spring.
Curious about auctions, but too intimidated to attend? Let us demystify the process and introduce you to the fun, exciting, and addictive world of auctions!
Join us this spring for one of our evening programs on
How to Bid and Buy at Auction
Thursday, April 30th & Thursday, May 14th
Browse our gallery, and listen to an informative presentation on the art of bidding at auction.