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I hope this will become a valued and rich source of inspiration and knowledge. Please Leave comments and enjoy your visit.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Hunting lodge FALKENLUST in Brühl, Germany | German Rococo interiors | Schloss Falkenlust near Cologne

Hunting lodge FALKENLUST in Brühl

German Rococo interiors |  Schloss Falkenlust near Cologne
Already for many years I occasionally go with a few students ornamental woodcarving on a fieldtrip. Château Versailles is one of the places where they are looking the most forward to, but this time I have chosen for some beautiful German destinations. 
End of June (2016), it seemed to be a good idea to visit the castles of Brühl, 'Augustusburg Palace and Falkenlust hunting lodge'. Two fine examples of German Rococo with breathtaking Rococo interiors. These two castles are located not so  far from the Belgian border near Cologne. From my hometown Maaseik (in Belgium) it is 1:15h by car.

Hunting lodge Falkenlust

The Prince Elector and Archbishop of Cologne, clemens August (1700-1761), a member of the Bavarian Wittelsbach dynasty, laid the foundation stone for 'Schloss Falkenlust' in 1729. The main reasons for his choice of the site were its beauty and its favourable position for falconry. 
The basic floor-plan and elevations of the main building, and its overall concept, can be attributet to François de Cuvilliés, and the interiors to Michael Leveilly. The hunting lodge was ready for use as early as 1733.

Falkenlust Castle, garden side

A walk trough Falkenlust

The entrance from the courtyard leads into the vestiule. In the niches are statues of nymphes and satyrs, probably by Kirchhoff and Dierix. The nymphs bear symbols of falconry, and the satyrs appear as guardians of the herons which are important for falconry as quarry. In the ceilling: The coat oa arms of Clemens August.

Proceed straight ahead into the salon. The wall covering consists of Dutch wall-tiles from Rotterdam. Above the fireplace is a painting of Clemens August in the uniform of a falconer. The other paintings on the walls show members of the Wittelsbach family.
To the right is the dining room. The wainscoting paintings: Biarelle, around 1745. The plasterwork decoration of the ceilling: Morsegno and Castelli, around 1733. Above the fireplace is a painting of Karl albrecht, the brother of Clemens August and Prince Elector of Bavaria (born in 1697 and crowned as Emperor Karl VII in 1742, died in 1745). The furniture includes two card-tables in coloured scagliola marble.

Falkenlust Brühl

To the left of the salon is the (guest's) bedroom, with a ceilling by Castelli and Morsegno, around 1733. Above the fireplace: a painting of Maria Arnalia, the wife of Karl Albrecht.
Return through the vestibule and walk to the right. 
The wardrobe has a wall-covering in leather and dates from 1745. On the side opposite the window, there is a toilet niche behind the right-hand door.

Continue straight ahead, and you will come to the Lacquer Cabinet, which has wooden wainscoting with a lacquer painting of Chinese motifs, sometimes reffered to as Indian. 
Above the fireplace is a portrait of Clemens August in aristocratic dresing gown ( Joseph Vivien, 1725). The ceilling decoration: Artario 1733.

Falkenlust Brühl, Lacquer Cabinet

Returning through the vestibule, you will arrive at the staircase. The walls are covered by more than 10000 dutch tiles from Rotterdam, specially produced for Schloss Falkenlust. They display the Bavarian coat of arms colours of white and blue with initials C.A. on falcon hoods and varous other motifs relating to falconry. The ceilling decoration: Castelli and Morsegno, around 1732, the ceilling painting Laurents de la Roque, 1736.

The upper Apartment

Upper vestibule: 
In the niches: angelic figures (Putti) with falcons and herons. The plinths on which the groups of figures stand show the four Elements (artists: Dierix and Le Clerc, following a model by van Helmont, around 1733). Above the doors are stucco bas-relief figures of a river god and two river goddesses. The ceilling painting shows Aurora and Diana personifying the morning and the evening.

Upper Vestibule, Falkenlust

To the right is the Grand upper Salon, stucco work by Morsegno, 1731/32.
On the right-hand side of the salon is the Cabinet Chinois pour le Café.
The ceiling decoration: Castelli and Morsegno, 1733. Above the fireplace: a portrait of Johann Theodor, Cardinal of Liège and brother of Clemens August, in the uniform of a falconer.
On the left-hand side of the Salon is the bedroom, with a ceiling decoration by Castelli and Morsegno, 1731. In the corners are respresentations of good and bad falconers with their birds. In the middle of the ceiling is a personification of night, in a star-spangled mantle and bat wings, accompanied by bats. A small putto shows the morning star.

The portrait above the fireplace is of Clemens August's brother Ferdinand Maria, Duke of Bavaria.
On the wall opposite the windows is a painting of Pope Clements by Georg Desmarées.
Return through the Vestibule, and turn to the right.
Wardrobe with a wall covering in waxcloth, around 1730-40. Continue straight ahead to the mirror Cabinet, mainly designed by Cuvillliés. 
The ceilling decoration is by Artario. This room is mainly furnished with Chinese porselain. The cabinet is given particular mention in the diary of the young Moart, who visited Schloss Falkenlust in 1763.

German rococo, Falkenlust |  The Mirror Cabinet

The Chapel is located outside in the park. It is built in the style of a grotto and took ten years to its completitaion. It was dedicated to Maria aegyptiaca in 1740. The interior is the work of Peter Laporterie.

Schloss Falkenlust, the Chapel

Falkenlust | The interior of the chapel, in the style of a grotto


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Saturday, 11 June 2016

A overdoor ornament in cherrywood | Custom-made architectural carvings | A carved sopraporte

A overdoor ornament, a supraporte

A overdoor ornament carved 
in cherrywood

In this blog item I will show you several stages of the carving process for an overdoor (supraporte in Latin) with the help of some pictures. An overdoor is a decorative piece (a painting, bas-relief or in this case a carved panel) placed above a door and can also be incorporated within the cornice of a door frame,

The assignment
The assignment in this case entailed two overdoors in cherry wood, which were designed and created in the spring of 2016 for a client in Texas (US)

The preconditions
The client had a number of personal wishes, which he wanted to see incorporated in the overdoor carved from cherry wood. These decorations would become a part of the already existing wainscoting (or paneling), which was also made of cherry wood.

A carved sopraporte

The design
The eye-catcher is the oval cartouche placed at the center, depicting a cross with an open bible on top. On the left page, we see the letter Alpha and on the right the letter Omega. Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the classic (Ionic) Greek alphabet. For Christians, the two letters together symbolize God’s omnipotence.

On the left-hand side, we see a number of arrows come out from under the cartouche and on the right-hand side we notice a torch. All these elements were part of the personal wishes of the client. The whole piece is tied together by a bow, a ribbon and some foliage. This elongated trophy in cherry wood has a maximum thickness of 45mm. This type of wood is extremely hard and therefore quite difficult to carve


A supraporte or overdoor (Latin: supra=over; porta=door) is a decoration applied over a door or over a portal.
The term “decoration” is interpreted on a broad way. The decorations can be a painting, a fresco painted on the wall, a sculpture or a carved or plastered relief.
Sometimes the painting is made in “grisaille” style. That is, the 3D picture is in one color (black or brown) in different shades and is imitating sculptures in stone. A relief work, embossment, mostly to be found in the Rococo cartouche at the “supraporte”.
Embossment may also be found integrated with the lintel of the door frame.

A supraporte in the form of a flat triangle is called tympanum. 

A supraporte could be found –taking into consideration the height of the ceiling- in a horizontal or in a vertical position. For example, the overdoor of an exterior door or portal can even reach to the roof.
A supraporte for an inside door is not only adapted to the height of the ceiling, but can incorporate work that also represents the origin of the owner of the respective room or the building in which it is located.
In the old times it was extremely important to show the social position of the owner, and the supraporte was a good way to show it. 

The (self) glorification of the owner/resident could show his/her monogram or the family coat of arms, being the central role in the entire composition of the ornaments of the supraporte.
In de Palace of Versailles you could find several rooms that have the crossed L of Louis XIV or the three lilies of France, a glorification of the country and of the king. 

Custom-made architectural carvings | Patrick Damiaens talks about an OVERDOOR ornament

The decorations and ornaments of a (wooden) supraporte may be use in a different way. A door trim for a music room (some rich people has it), could be decorated with musical instruments. The same theme can also be incorporated in the over door, design that every visitor could instantly identify the function of the room.

Other government or secular buildings with their own and specific function, demonstrate again their own importance with the use of the supraporte. So the glorification or function will be shown in a central cartouche. 
For example, through the use of attributes in a trophy, like “law”, “science”, “army”, the supraporte works as a way to make emphasis and to be the focal point; the visitor will be aware where he is standing. 

Worship buildings have –of course- other themes; so there are religious images in bas relief carved, locating or not in an oval cartouche.
But there are also trophies with religious attributes, such as the following:  candles, candlesticks, chalices, bibles, censers… which are a central focal point in the composition.

In each style period, from the Renaissance you can find the use of the over door. Usually in castles and residences, and later in major civil houses and government buildings; but always adapted to the mentality and way of decoration and ornaments. 
For this reason, the decorations vary from country to country, and have its own characteristics.
Nowadays, it is possible to find a supraporte with a family photo, a religious sign or paintings; unconsciously connecting you to an ancient tradition of over doors. In that case, it is not functional but decorative in nature.   

Here are some pictures. 
The different stages of process. 
carved in cherry wood.


Custom-made architectural carvings | A supraporte ornament

Modelling the supraporte

Carving of the details in the supraporte

Patrick Damiaens | Carving a supraporte ornament

 A overdoor ornament in cherrywood | Custom-made architectural carvings

Last detail, leaves and berries on the oval cartouche


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Sunday, 1 May 2016

The Red house in Monschau | MONSCHAU | Rococo staircase carved in oak | 18th century interiors and rooms | Carved Wainscoting in oak

The Red House in Monschau

In this blog entry I'll give you a tour of the Red House in Monschau. This small German town located on the outskirts of the Eifel, only a fifteen minutes drive from Eupen . (Eupen is in German-speaking town in Belgium).
The most striking building in this picturesque town is the Red House, a building from the 18th century, an Rococo oak staircase, carved Wainscoting in oak  and sculpted period style furniture in Aachen Rococo style are the highlights of this wonderful Museum.

The Red House is an eloquent testimony of the flowering period of woollen cloth fabrication in Monschau during the 18th century. On the point of confluence of the rivers Rur and Laufenbach the high building neighbouring the protestant Church gives a dominating accent to the architectural lay-out of this small city.

The clothier and merchant Johann Heinrich Scheibler, founder member of the Monschau 'Fine Clothiers' Guild, had it around 1760 as his residence and office; a double building under one big curb roof with two richly sculpted portals crowned by escutcheons with the names: the left 'To the Golden Helmet', the right 'To The Pelican'.
Designed and decorated consecutively in late Rococo, French Louis XVI and Empire style, the Red House is an exquisite showcase of bourgeois living culture in the Eifel mountains between Aachen (Germany) and Liège (Belgium) in the time around 1800.

18th century interiors and rooms  | Red House Monschau

A carved house door

The entrance Hall in the left residential part offers a decorative ensemble of the 1760ies of admirable unity topped by the unsupported upgrowing spiral of the gracious wooden staircase; marble painted walls, crystal chandeliers, gold-framed mirroirs; above a settee the portraits of the first owner J.H. Scheibler and his wife Maria.

You can look through the spiral of the dark oak wooden staircase up to the 3rd floor. On its outside railing 21 reliefs show images of putti illustrating the domestic cloth-manufacture: from the grazing Merino-wool-sheep to the transport of the final cloth bales; on its inner railing other reliefs show allegories of the four seasons , starting with spring, of the day times and the four elements: fire, water, air, earth.

Rococo staircase carved in oak

The Study

The Study opens to the street; it is furnished with a set of writing-table and arm-chairs from the Cologne Pallenberg studio, done after 1900 in the 18th century rococostyle, and has a marble fireplace with castiron plates; an additional stove, formed like an urn, stands in a white tiled niche. But the most remarkable exhibit in this room is a picture tapestry, probably painted by artist of the Düsseldorf Acadamy, imitating a Dutch picture-gallery of Rembrandt's time whitch shows portraits, history paintings, landscapes, animal pieces- all living in illusionistic frames.

The Dining-room

The dining-room, opening to the river Rur, gives an undisturbed impression of the Louis XVI style around 1780; dark-toned oak-wood furnitue decorated with bas-relief carvings in front of a gren ground oil painted flower-tapestry. On the walls framed protraits of members of the Scheibler family in the different styles of their times of origin like they are to be found everywhere in the house.
In the basement below is the kitchen, equipped to provide a richly set table: fire-place, supplemented later on with a cast-iron stove-box, brass kettles, copper tools, hare-roaster and a spindle screw mangle.

The office-rooms

The office-rooms are on the ground floor of the house 'To the Pelican' connected with the residential area. They served the commercial administration of the clothiers home-industry. Several documents of the Monschau cloth manufacture are shown: a book of goods recieved, with color recipes and wool samples, cloth pattern books, of which the most important is the big pattern book of the 'Fine Clothiers Guild', used for the Aachen trade-fair in 1810 under the reign of Emperor Napoleon I. A big Aachen-Liège glass-cupboard in Rococo style shows earthenware with the family emblems of Scheibler-von-Mallinckrodt. In the front-room there is also an elegant horse sleigh with a back coach-box to be seen.

In this part of the house a second, smaller Rococo staircase leads to the upper floors.
Its wooden railing, like that of the big stairs, is decorated with motives of the four seasons and agriculture sumbolizing the diligence of trade embedded in the order and rhythm of nature.

The first floor is recerved in both parts to the family's living and banquet rooms:
In the blue drawing-room: A set of sofa, armchairs and seats around a table, to the left a glass-cupboard in aachen Rococo style with a curved pediment,  to the right a Liège Louis XVI corner glass-cupboard with straight cornice grouped with a bureau opposite the mirrormounted fir-place; on the backwall the big double ^portrait of the founder's son Wilhelm Scheibler and his wife Theresia, born Böcking. On the sidewalls boys portraits of three of their sons.

The following Yellow Room is dominated by an important house item: a stately Aachen linen wardrobe richly decorated with rocailles and crowned by a doublecartouche with the emblems of the Scheibler-Böcking family. Beside a massive French or Dutch baroque table with matching arm-chair; on the walls meteal framed mirrors.

The small cabinet following has a charming Louis XVI furniture ensemble: a two-seated rodgrid-settee and an elegant set of armchairs and table in front of a wainscoting showing emblems of war and music. Above one sees a painting linen tapestry showing one continuous landscape scenery and grotesque motives linked to a sopraporta (a over-door) in the hall inspired by ornament engravings of the 18th century.

Carved Wainscoting in oak

The Banquet room in the house 'To the Pelican' has been used by the family festivities and candlelight concerts. Its window front opening to the river Rur, its stucco ceiling with ornamental roses and the concert harp give it a well-balanced and festive character.
In front one finds the so-called anteroom to the banquet room, furnished as a vestibule or drawing-room with a set of noble Gobelin arm-chairs on a French Aubusson carpet and a rare example of a glass-cupboard with built-in pendulum clock.

On the second floor we find four bedrooms:

To the left the so-called Böcking room with oak furnish-ings in the pastel ambience of wall-surfaces, curtains and a new Nepalese carpet. Above the bed one finds the pastel portraits of the Böckings, the parents of Theresia Scheibler. The evensurfaced wardrobe displays in its gable a central cartouche (the Aachen bean), the low bureau has a Rococo ornament in relief. The two-tiered showcase corner-cupboard with decorative elements of Louis XVI is architecturally divided by means of continuous fillets with vase endings.
At the front we next find the small green bedroom with a broad oak-wooden bed, a cradle and a wardrobe with bas)relief carvings of about 1780; a washing-stand of about 1750 with a silverplated washing-set and a wall-mirror.

In the so-called Rococo bedroom stands a doublebed under pastel portraits from the late 18th cenury. Apart from that we see an Aachen wardrobe in the Rococo style, a baby's chair and toy horse, an embossed brass hot-water bottle and a bidet with flowery china pot.

We enter another era in the splendid Empire Bedroom at the end of our visit. The furniture dates from the late Napoleonic period, or rather the early Prussian eraa after 1815 and comes from the Schaaffhausen-Deichmann family estat at Cologne: it comprises highly polished mahagony veneer with gold bronze fittings. The broad, clothdraped four-poster stands between two pillar consoles; at the side a washing-stand with Chinoiserie washing-set; at the side a seating accomodation with floor mirror. The ensemble is set into the cool blue wall coloration decorated with a continuous handpainted palm leaf border.

The Red House of the Scheibler family was transformed in 1963 into a 'Foundation Scheibler Museum Red House Monschau' by the District Assembly of the Rheinland .

Opening Hours
Tuesdags-Sundays  Closed on Mondays

Entrance fees 
3Euro Adults
2Euro students childern and teenagers

Rotes Haus 
Laufenstraße 10 
52156 Monschau
Telefon: 02472 5071 

Here are some impressions of the Red House in monschau.

The Rococo staircase carved in oak

Rococo staircase carved in oak