Italian Antique Furniture- Every piece has a unique story
A customer commented the other day that every antique piece of furniture in my store has a story. It’s true. Aside from the beautiful aesthetic of a unique piece I find on my antiquing trips in Italy, I always love discovering the history. It’s fascinating learning where a piece came from and how it was used.
This cabinet for example, no one else will ever have one exactly like it. It’s a beautiful cabinet and the story is that it’s a 19th century sacristy cabinet from a convent near Siena, Italy. The top and lower doors open and would have stored sacred vessels and church records. If you have ever traveled to Italy, you know that there are beautiful convents, monasteries and churches everywhere. There are even private chapels in many of the beautiful villas you see scattered throughout the Italian countryside. I love it when I see a room decorated with a special piece of furniture like this. In this case, the piece of furniture would be very reminiscent of Italian culture.
This pair of Tuscan 18th century walnut chairs have a story to tell as well. They are from a boarding school in Siena, Italy. The school educated young noblewomen and each student was required to bring furniture from home to furnish their room. There was a condition that they leave at least one piece of furniture to the nuns, who also lived there, after finishing school.
Inscribed on the bottom of each seat are the initials SVA, which are the initials of the student. There is an inventory label on the side of a chair that says "Conservatorio Femminili Reuniti Siena n. 2990.” This is the name of the school the chairs came from.
I was told by an Italian man once that I asked more questions about antiques than anyone he had ever known. He smiled as he said this and certainly didn’t seem to mind. Antiques and restoration work was his life, after all, and I really did, and still do, like to know about these things!