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European Dressers & Vanities

During the latter part of the 17th century, European high society began to commission lavish furniture from craftsmen. The poudreuse, or "toilet table," served as predecessor to the vanities and dressers. These toilet tables featured a small bowl filled with water for removal of cosmetics. A century later, the vanity table was raised and a chair was added.

The epitome of luxury, vanity and dressing tables became synonymous with the upper class. Madame de Pompadour, the mistress of Louis XIV, is depicted at her vanity in a painting and often received visitors while applying her makeup in front of one. Jean-Henri Riesener's Mechanical Table, part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection, is one of the finest examples of French vanities from this period. Made for Queen Marie Antoinette's room at Versailles, the top slides back as the drawer comes forward to reveal a toilette mirror with two compartments at the sides.

Another popular European style that originated in France was the Art Deco design that became especially popular during the 1920s. Featuring clean geometric shapes and incorporating materials such as aluminum, inlaid wood, and stainless steel, these vanities and dressers are the epitome of modernity. They are also usually taller than previously dated dressers and vanities and often feature just one set of drawers.


Quick Facts

  • A French Art Deco Amboyna dressing table and matching back-stool sold at Christie's London in February 2011 for $2,825
  • A Northern Italian Fruitwood dressing table from the early 19th century sold at Christie's New York in September 2007 for $625
  • A 19th century North European mahogany lady's work/dressing table sold at Bonhams Chester in October 2003 for $574

Recommended Items at Auction

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FRENCH SYCAMORE VANITY MANNER OF ANDRE ARBUS
Oct 27, 11:00 AM EDT
FRENCH SYCAMORE VANITY MANNER OF ANDRE ARBUS
by Kamelot Auctions
Est: $200- $300
$2000 Bids
MCM DANISH DARK WOOD EIGHT DRAWER DRESSER
Oct 23, 10:00 AM EDT
MCM DANISH DARK WOOD EIGHT DRAWER DRESSER
by Ahlers & Ogletree Inc.
Est: $400- $600
$2000 Bids
A FRENCH FOUR DRAWER RATTAN DRESSER CIRCA 1960
Oct 27, 11:00 AM EDT
A FRENCH FOUR DRAWER RATTAN DRESSER CIRCA 1960
by Kamelot Auctions
Est: $500- $700
$5000 Bids
PAIR DANISH STYLE 4-DRAWER OAK DRESSERS C.1965
Oct 26, 11:00 AM EDT
PAIR DANISH STYLE 4-DRAWER OAK DRESSERS C.1965
by Kamelot Auctions
Est: $500- $700
$2500 Bids
SIX DRAWER DRESSER FIGURED DRAWER FRONTS C.1950
Oct 26, 11:00 AM EDT
SIX DRAWER DRESSER FIGURED DRAWER FRONTS C.1950
by Kamelot Auctions
Est: $600- $800
$5500 Bids
LABELED NORDISKA PARCHMENT COVERED DRESSER C.1960
Oct 26, 11:00 AM EDT
LABELED NORDISKA PARCHMENT COVERED DRESSER C.1960
by Kamelot Auctions
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$1,0000 Bids
COIFFEUSE - En bois noirci
Oct 25, 2:00 PM CEST
COIFFEUSE - En bois noirci
by Cornette de Saint-Cyr-Bruxelles
Est: €80- €120
€800 Bids
ITALIAN MID-CENTURY MODERN STONE-TOP DRESSER
Oct 24, 10:00 AM CDT
ITALIAN MID-CENTURY MODERN STONE-TOP DRESSER
by Austin Auction Gallery
Est: $600- $800
$5000 Bids
LOUIS XV STYLE CHEST OF DRAWERS DRESSER
Oct 24, 10:00 AM CDT
LOUIS XV STYLE CHEST OF DRAWERS DRESSER
by Austin Auction Gallery
Est: $200- $400
$1500 Bids
COIFFEUSE
Oct 23, 2:00 PM CEST
COIFFEUSE
by Côte Basque Enchères
Est: €200- €300
€2000 Bids
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Cómoda realizada en madera de caoba con encimera de mármol. España.
Oct 27, 4:30 PM CEST
Cómoda realizada en madera de caoba con encimera de mármol. España.
by Arte Subastas Bilbao
Est: €0- €0
€4500 Bids
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Cómoda realizada en madera de caoba. Época Victoriana.
Oct 27, 4:30 PM CEST
Cómoda realizada en madera de caoba. Época Victoriana.
by Arte Subastas Bilbao
Est: €0- €0
€4000 Bids
A VICTORIAN WALNUT CHIFFONIER
Oct 21, 9:30 AM BST
A VICTORIAN WALNUT CHIFFONIER
by Chiswick Auctions
Est: £100- £200
£100 Bids
French style desk/dresser (H:75 x w:175 x d:57cm)
Oct 22, 9:30 AM AEDT
French style desk/dresser (H:75 x w:175 x d:57cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD200- AUD300
AUD1000 Bids
FRENCH ART DECO BRASS PARCHMENT AND THUYA VANITY, CIRCA 1930
Nov 03, 10:00 AM EDT
FRENCH ART DECO BRASS PARCHMENT AND THUYA VANITY, CIRCA 1930
by Potomack Company
Est: $800- $1,200
$4000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell European Dressers & Vanities


Kamelot Auctions

Kamelot Auctions

Austin Auction Gallery

Austin Auction Gallery

Arte Subastas Bilbao

Arte Subastas Bilbao

Lawsons

Lawsons