A Victorian walnut and inlaid pier cabinet with ormolu mounts.…
ormolu. Ormolu was popular with French craftsmen in the 18th and 19th century for ornamental fittings for furniture, clocks and other decorative items. True ormolu is gilt bronze, that is bronze that has been coated with gold using a mercury amalgam. Due to the health risks associated with using mercury, this method of creating ormolu was discontinued in France in the 1830s. A substitute was developed consisting of about 75% copper and 25% zinc, however it was inferior to the bronze version. It was often lacquered to prevent it tarnishing.
inlay. Decorative patterns inserted into the main body of a piece of furniture, generally in wood of contrasting colour and grain, though brass, ivory, ebony, shell and sometimes horn have been used. Inlay may consist of a panel of well figured timber inset into a cabinet door front, geometric patterns, or complex and stylized designs of flowers, swags of foliage, fruits and other motifs. As a general rule, in pieces where the carcase is constructed in the solid, the inlay is relatively simple such as stringing, cross banding and herringbone banding. Where more elaborate and decorative work was required veneer was used. Inlay has been fashionable from at least the latter half of the 17th century, when a variety of elaborate forms were developed
mounts. The cast-metal fittings in brass or ormolu (a form of gilded bronze) used on much of the quality furniture in the rococo and classical revival style
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