Sunday, December 17, 2017

Decorating With Barley Twist Furniture

And you thought this blog post was going to be about furniture. Just kidding! However, there is a connection between these tasty old fashioned candies and the beautiful interiors and furnishings that are spotlighted in this post on the barley twist design element.

Barley-sugar twist candy is an ancient sweet originally made from hot sugar syrup and an extract of barley to color it that was popular from the 1600's. At the end of the post is a recipe for the candy if you are interested in trying some.

This well known design feature on furniture has been with us for many years The shape dates back to 333 AD when Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor, brought back a pair of helix shaped columns from Jerusalem to be used in the altar of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. According to tradition, these columns, known as Solomonic columns, were originally used as structural pillars for the roof of the Temple of Solomon. In France, the twisted column or torsade was a major element in furniture design during the reign of King Louis XIII 1610 to 1649. The design element came to England with Katherine of Braganza in 1661 when she married Charles II.

While English collectors and dealers often refer to the twisted shape as barley sugar twist after the sweet barley sugar twist stick candy that resembled the 17th and early 18th century leg, the French prefer just torsade or barley twist.

Whether your style is French or English a piece or two of barley twist furniture will supply instant old world flavor to your interiors.

via Pinterest

Because of the legs, the table is the piece of furniture that I think usually comes to mind when barley twist is mentioned.

via Pinterest

18th century French walnut table with barley twist legs. Serpentine columns and barley twist were especially predominant during this time.

During the reign of Queen Anne (1702-14) cabinet makers predominate style of leg was the popular barley twist turned leg. 

There are fabulous little tables out there with barley twist legs. Search for them at auctions, Craigslist, antique malls and fairs.

via Pinterest

A rare French Antique Louis XIII style open barley twist writing table.The ability to carve open torsades or spirals such as the four comprising the legs of this table was considered the height of professional accomplishment achieved by only a few artists.
This lovely room features a desk with barley twist legs.
via Pinterest

An antique French Henri II carved oak barley twist table/ library desk.

Inessa Stewart Antiques

A 19th century French Renaissance barley twist etagere buffet. 
The barley twist design has embellished many fine antique cabinets, side tables, and chests over the centuries.

The barley twist design was originally hand made and hand carved. Here my friend Patrick Damiaens, who is a Master Ornamental Woodcarver from Belgium, works on a large barley twist.

 English craftsmen soon learned to create the intricate twist on a lathe. This led to more variations of the barley twist being made such as double and open which involved hollowing it out.

via Pinterest

via Pinterest

After tables, I think chairs are commonly associated with the barley twist design. I adore antique French needlepoint upholstered chairs, and if they come with barley twists it's icing on the cake.

via Pinterest

Barley twists became a much desired design element as part of the revival of interest in Gothic and Renaissance style. Here the chair legs are connected by a barley twist trestle to provide support.

I love the medieval look of Gothic style dining rooms with barley twist legs, etc.

The Dining Room, Hughenden Manor, Buckinghamshire

A great French carved server with stunning thick barley twist posts

Inessa Stewart's Antiques

Before long, people were using the barley twist as an ornamental feature, instead of a structural one. Here is a 19th century oak French Renaissance armoire with barley twist 

This tall and beautiful antique Welsh dresser, complete with barley twist columns,will make a statement in any room! 

An antique 1880 French hunting style carved buffet beautifully enhanced by the barley twist design element. 

via Pinterest

This beautiful piece reflects the French tradition of massive and sturdy furniture. Beautiful foliage in the form of leaves, fruit, vines, tree branches or barley twist were often carved along edges of buffets.


A Henri II style buffet with exceptional carving and barley twist.
Hunting style furniture was produced in 19th century during the Industrial Revolution in France better defined as the Renaissance Revival.Furniture makers specialized in detailed carvings of winged griffins, lion’s heads, and trophies of the hunt, including deer, fish, eels, rabbits, birds, and dogs. 

The glamorous bed with carved barley twist posts add stunning design to any bedroom.

Here are a few other lovely bedrooms with barley twist bedposts.

What a fabulous bench standing on four barley twist legs connected by a barley twist stretcher.

You don't have to have a big presentation of barley twists to give and old world feel to your room. A hint of it here and there does the trick. 

It's funny how just a sampling of the barley twist design element can manage to provide instant medieval flair to a room.

Small tables with barley twist legs will work with a variety of styles if you like an eclectic look.

Here a bit of barley twist on the arms of a lovely little cane back seat gives an English feel to an equestrian style space. 

via Pinterest

via Pinterest

Bring country charm to any tabletop with a collection of Barley Twist Candlesticks.

Barley twist balusters create beautiful staircases with a very old world flavor.

Either natural or painted, barley twist embellishment on a kitchen island is another way to incorporate them into your interior.  

I'm loving this painted barley twist column with it's wonderful gilded capital.

Joss and Main

Painted furniture pieces featuring barley twists are quite appealing as well......especially when done in shades of ivory.

Recipe as promised.

Sugar - 2 1/4 lbs warmed
Barley - 9 oz (hulled)
Water - 9 pints

Stir barley and water over gentle heat until dissolved. Cook the barley for 5 hours in water.
Strain the water and barley jelly like liquid and return it to the pan.  Add sugar and cook at 300 degrees until hard crack stage, being careful to not burn the sugar.  Pour mixture onto an oiled marble slab. As soon as mixture begins to cool, cut into long strips and twist them.

Click here to see the previous post

This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Decorating Under Glass With Cloches And Domes

I am a bit late in publishing a blog post about decorating with glass cloches and domes. There have been so many others I just stayed away from this topic even though I loved vignettes that feature them. However, I recently received a beautiful gift from a lovely friend in France that has been the inspiration for this post about displaying treasured items under glass cloches.

 Imagine my delight when, upon opening the package, I discovered a gift wrapped in a delicate handkerchief and all tied up with a burgundy ribbon. Inside was an exquisite lace and hand beaded baby's cap. The note enclosed stated she had found it in an attic sale in Provence and determined it to be from the 18th century. Needless to say this will be a treasured item for the remainder of my life and hopefully a family heirloom for generations. I decided nothing would be lovelier than to display it, along with handkerchief and note, in a glass cloche. Daniele, again I say thank you for your thoughtfulness. I hope you enjoy the blog post.

My vignette with dome and French baby's cap gifted from my friend Daniele.

Even in this close-up it is hard to see the green and blue beading and gold bead star on top. The lace and ribbon are so delicate. I am still looking for the perfect unique base.

I prefer vignettes that are old world and antique in nature so this post will spotlight cloches used in this manner. Bringing cloches and domes inside for display purposes is nothing new. However if you like them you can't really get enough so I am adding my blog post images to the many others out there that pertain to this topic.

In 1623 the glass cloche was introduced and this brilliant invention took the gardening world by storm. The French immediately adopted the cloche, and 9th-century French market gardeners placed cloches over plants in spring and fall to act as portable miniature greenhouses to protect against inclement weather. English and Dutch gardeners soon followed their French counterparts.
Cloche is French for bell thus the term "bell jar"  was often used for these eye-catching bell shaped glass domes. Today we tend to lump all styles of glass domes into the the same category even though they are not bell shaped.

Originally protecting delicate plants the cloche has been brought inside our homes and are now protecting a wide variety of objects that we hold dear and want to display in vignettes for all to see. If you haven't tried using one in your decor yet maybe this will ignite creative juices for making a cloche or dome display of your own.

Even though these are glass domes I am going to refer to them as cloches too since they are now accepted as cloches. The cloche is considered a mainstay of faded French decorating.They’re incredibly versatile and elevate almost whatever you display, from books.......

Janet Copeland via Pinterest pastries.

via Pinterest

Eventually the French brought cloches and domes indoors to protect their treasured items. A trend developed and  the globe de mariée (marriage globe) became extremely popular.

Traditionally this decorated cloche/dome was given to a bride and groom to commemorate their wedding day. ( Stay tuned for a blog post all about these fantastical creations.)

Victorians loved glass cloches and domes. Collecting was a major part of Victorian life and their collections often contained “curiosities” such as zoological, botanical, geological, or archaeological finds. In the Victorian home everything from butterflies to human body parts could find their way under a glass cloche or dome.

Entire Victorian rooms were filled with cloches, domes, glass cases and collections.

Today we are revisiting the Victorian era trend of displaying oddities as well as memorabilia and collected treasures. And like them, we have realized that the glass cloche is the perfect display piece.

Putting a glass dome over something instantly elevates it to a treasured piece of art. Cloches were originally only used by the wealthy because glass was expensive.

Timeless and elegant, shades of white look especially pretty in a glass cloche.

via Pinterest

A cloche or dome is a favorite way of calling attention to groupings of small treasures.

This is my favorite use of a cloche, a simple display of a few old world treasures. If you are trying to create an authentic French Provincial or French Nordic interior be sure to search for pieces of French brocante.

It is the elegant shape of a glass cloche that makes it a perfect display piece that also doubles as a work of art suitable for any tablescape.

A close-up of the glass cloche in the interior above. Something about a display in a cloche or glass dome allows you to magically capture a moment in time. 

via Pinterest

Antique books always display well in a cloche. Coral is a nice addition......... is a crown or laurel.

A glass cloche or dome always looks stunning when used in a creamy white and French gray vignette.

They are equally beautiful in a more classically French interior where there is normally a bit more color. The cloche can stand alone or be stunning in groups. 

They really shine when used in front of ornate French mirrors!!

I love using a cloche or dome for display because you get alot of bang for the buck. They add visual interest to your space while allowing the eye to see through to your treasures.

via Pinterest

via Pinterest

An urn makes a fabulous base for a cloche. Be creative and look for something other than the usual base.

Cedar Hill Farmhouse

Plants always look stunning under a cloche. After all this was the original purpose for them.

A nature themed cloche is always pretty mixed in with plants and weathered containers of flowering bulbs.

When decorating a French style home you simply can't go wrong with crystal, weathered wood, and a cloche or two.

Try your hand at creating a cloche or dome display. Whether you showcase one item or fill the cloche with beaucoup treasures, you will enjoy this lovely addition to your decor.

Click here to see the previous post

This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...