Verentuil ~ Feather Bouquet

 Picture: Jan Verlinden Week-End Knack

The Verentuil is a unique design from the early 18th century probably around 1710.

Its uniqueness resides in the fact that the central theme is a bouquet of feathers. Strangely enough in the specialized literature this panel is hardly described. The panel is dated and dimensions are given only very few panels have survived. This is it.

Other designs give more readable info with grapes and insects, birds or flowers. Some designs are allegorical themes and these are also pretty easy to comment on.

My guess is that they have not seen it was a bouquet of feathers or that they didn’t dare to come with an interpretation of this design, its anyone’s guess.

When Lut and I came across this design at an antique shop in Ghent we were wild about it, we never saw this design, it was a revelation

We decided to reproduce this design and called it Verentuil as to us it was obviously a bouquet of feathers

Throughout the ages Feathers were used to in ceremonial and festive events when grandeur or respect was demanded or when one decided to stand out. Feathers did ornate helmets and shako’s as to add a touch of elegance and brightness in a poor attempt to compensate the brutality of the men wearing them.

Few years after we made the panel a booklet was published on the subject of gilded leather and in there was a picture of a room (pictured here above) in a small castle owned by a Flemish Knight 5 min from where we lived, I was blown. We have been there and put along the original panels a panel of our production in exactly the same color ways. The Knight couldn’t believe it, neither could we, it was a perfect match. Unfortunately no business spin-off, well at least not immediately.

Today the Verentuil is one of the classics in our collection

While doing some research for this article I came across a picture of a chair upholstered in the Verentuil and look the seat is upholstered in the correct way whilst the back is just some piece of a panel upside down, nevertheless it still  looks good.

I have seen interiors where some panels were hung upside down, and it looked very good, today this is unthinkable. Poor us.

This panel  is painted in a traditional way on a silver-gilded ground.

 Here a more contemporary version on a silver ground.

The picture here under is the same panel but with a different setting on the camera which shows you how difficult it is to make good pictures from gilded (or silvered) leather !

As always.

Fred

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