An ode to the “os de mouton” chair


The festival vide-greniers was back in the medieval square again this year.
So atmospheric. But I’m very glad we don’t live right on the charming Promenade de Château Fort ourselves; the stall holders literally set up right outside the doors and windows of the houses!! (So I felt for you, Chris, at “Our French Dream”)

It called to me, siren style across the square.
“Hello Gill”  it said “Take me home now please!”

It was early in the day, stallholders were getting what they wanted for their stuff, they could afford to wait it out.

I circled it like a prowling cat, I  approached whilst it’s owner was engaged elsewhere so I could poke and prod it in peace. I did just that….then Monsieur appeared and flipped it over deftly to show me that a couple of spring mounts were loose and one missing.

I feigned disappointment and asked the price. Thirty euros was very cheap even for a repro that needed attention.

I said  I would consider and sauntered casually off to retrieve Trev for a second opinion.
Needless to say he was not impressed by the dirt and the dozen worm holes and the upholstery and the price for the repairs.

But it was a classic “os de mouton” ( “sheep’s horn”) frame – so called because it is said the shape of the stretchers were inspired by the legs of spring lambs)
These chairs were one of the first to have  upholstered seats and backs. Designed in the Louis xiii period, so late 16th – early 17th century. How old is this one? Difficult to say but we can narrow it down.

Trev wandered off..why do I even ask the visionless one?
The shape and proportions were enough to convince me to buy and I knew it would scrub up well. “Go back and offer 25” said the Oracle.img_20160730_160947.jpg


I did, but I had to use all my aging charm and persuasive powers to get it knocked down.
I dragged it back down the street in triumph. This triumph increased measurably when I got it into the courtyard for proper inspection.
As it was a very hot and cloudless day I knew I could scrub it all over with dilute bleach in hot water as the sun would dry it before any damp damage might be caused.

I did just that; it cleaned up brilliantly. I even decided I could live with the 1940’s reupholstery for a while.

Then we sprayed it comprehensively with anti woodworm stuff. Our mantra is to spray everything wooden that comes into the house, new or old.

img_20160802_165025.jpgTrev began to show more interest as it emerged from tat to treasure. We noticed there were no screw fixings, not even covered ones. No visible nails. It had never ever been varnished and the patina was perfect.

It wasn’t repro. The newest the frame  might be is early 19th century. I would stake my antique furniture knowledge on it being older.
It might be pear wood.

I love it



About coteetcampagne

Artist, period home maker, renovator, restorer, Francophile. My mission is to save the old stuff, one beautiful piece at a time
This entry was posted in Art, design and inspiration blog, Renovation and restoration diary- France and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to An ode to the “os de mouton” chair

  1. Osyth says:

    I share your love …. It’s a beauty!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. gabriele says:

    I do believe that one doesn’t have to be religious to have a guardian angel (or two) in France that takes a hand in your goings, comings and doings while you’re there. I have no other explanation for the great luck I’ve experienced in my travels. If there is such a thing as reincarnation (I wouldn’t want to base my life on a system that works that way, thought), maybe some people have done good things in France in the past and they’re coming back in this life.
    Whatever the reason my first response to this story was that the chair was France (via the phantom angel) telling you it cares about you, is happy you’re back and doesn’t blame you for Brexit. So think of it as your own personal “You belong here” endorsement.
    Whatever the reason, the chair is wonderful and its lines are delightful.
    Is it possible that sometimes Trev is less than enthusiastic just so you can have a greater sense of accomplishment with a great find such as this? He may not have a lineage to go with a chateau worthy of the chair but he does seem to have a noble spirit….lucky you on all counts!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ellen A. says:

    A great find! I’m beginning to think that your house has a hankering to be at least part chateau!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. poshbirdy says:

    It has real presence (glad it turned out to be a proper old one too) x

    Liked by 2 people

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