Monumental Chimney Piece
There is so much to say about this monumental and rare fireplace, we hardly know where to start; so maybe the beginning is best and what a beginning that was.
Recently removed form a hotel in France that was once a castle, this surround was commissioned by a French governor to Pondicherry, India – a French colony from around 1674 until 1954 – and, although Renaissance in style, was not created until the early 19th century.
As you can see by the photo, the surround – at almost eight feet tall and over eight feet wide – is unusually large by today’s standards although, in the Renaissance period, architecture and design was grand in scale and rich people spent lavishly to increase their status by owning fantastic pieces.
The complex carvings are a story in themselves. The recumbent dragons are the family crest and the Romanesque masks in lion headdress’ on the corner blocks symbolise strength and power, as Pondicherry (or Puducherry since being renamed in 2006) was once a large Roman trading point, and the upright monkeys in breast-plated armour on the jambs represent Lord Hanuman, “The Monkey God” whose symbolic significance is pure devotion.
Pondicherry is synonymous with French heritage in India and this unique surround is commemorative of the governor’s time spent there.
We can’t wait to see where the next resting place of this imposing piece will be but, wherever it is, you can be sure we will be telling you all about it.
View the product by clicking this link.