Art Nouveau is my favourite decor period; it has the more restrained elements of the Edwardian period, after the excess of the Victorians, but still maintains beautiful, intricate details. The decorative style wasn’t as commercial as the aesthetic it’s ofen confused with, Art Deco, primarily because the latter is more easily mass produced having cleaner lines. However where I find Deco too sparse and clinical (sorry to you Deco fans), for me Nouveau communicates the romance and, perhaps, innocence of the prewar period.
I naturally gravitate to the colours of the period too and have found, having researched it, that many of the decor items I already owned are of this time. In fact if you look in my wardrobe it reflects this tableau of era’s colours.
The tones are far lighter than the Victorian palette, primarily because of new technologies. The Victorians had acquired wealth, so their decor was opulent with lots of fuss and nicnacs in order to show that new found money, but due to the gas lighting a lot of the textures and colours were sought for their capacity to hide the resulting soot marks. With the introduction of electricity this wasn’t such a necessity.
I say all this to introduce you to a find I fell for today – hook, line and sinker. This little Art Nouveau stove. It’s dirty and I doubt I’ll be able to get it to work, but I still couldn’t resist it. The beautiful intricate metalwork, that soft Art Nouveau blue – heaven.
I naturally did a little research on it as it’s name was proudly emblazoned on the top. I found this website of a company near Fareham, coincidentally my old stomping ground, where they refurbish old, French stoves. They’re a mine of information.
The company, Deville & Cie of Charleville in the Ardennes, called the model ‘le non pareil’, or the none equalled. The French Antique Stove refurbishment company found it advertised in Deville’s 1930s catalogue with the subsequent information on it.
The stove was manufactured in the early part of the Art Deco movement, with production between 1925-1935, however the style is evidently Art Nouveau.
The design, described as a ‘pôele à bois’ visible et continue’ by the manufacturers, was revealed at the 1925 Paris exhibition. It was developed with style conscious Parisians in mind. The site continues that if you look carefully at the film Chocolat, you can see a honey brown “le non pareil” in Judi Dench’s character’s parlour, but I’ve done an internet search and can’t find any images (not even on one of my favourite sites Hooked on Houses),
Here are some close ups of the working stove on the refurbishment site, just to give you a taster of what mine will look like when it’s been cleaned up a little. Mine won’t be in situ for a while; I have to finish the kitchen first (as well as the finishing touches on the dining room and the soft furnishings in the living room) and then move to what will be the family dining room. So, lots of work. Can you tell I’m loving it?
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