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European Armoires

Many believe it was an inventive Frenchman who turned the chest on its side, creating the first armoire. Replacing easily-transportable medieval trunks as stay-at-home storage pieces, the earliest armoires had regal origins in the castles and stately palaces of European nobility. Until the end of the 13th century, the French armoire was primarily decorated with hand-painted door panels and elaborate hinges. Beginning in the 14th century, armoires began developing a more architectural look, with gracefully sculpted bodies enhanced by gilding and lavish embellishment.

In the Renaissance era, French armoires, like all furniture of the period, were heavily influenced by Italian furniture-making. It wasn't long before European armoires spread across the world and began taking on myriad forms.

One of the most important pieces of furniture in continental homes from the 17th through 19th centuries, armoires still have a prominent place in many residences throughout Europe and around the world.


Quick Facts

  • In the 18th century, the French armoire was considered one of the most valuable possessions of an estate.
  • In November 2003 at Skinner, a painted Italian Provincial armoire sold for below its estimate, only reaching $881
  • A British Arts & Crafts Movement Smee and Cobay Armoire rendered in oak (circa 1900) sold at Skinner in 2013 for $3,690

Recommended Items at Auction

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French faux bamboo miniature armoire in pine
Apr 27, 10:00 AM EDT
French faux bamboo miniature armoire in pine
by King Galleries
Est: $150- $250
$1000 Bids
French faux bamboo diminutive armoire in pine
Apr 27, 10:00 AM EDT
French faux bamboo diminutive armoire in pine
by King Galleries
Est: $150- $250
$1000 Bids
FRENCH PAINT DECORATED SINGLE DOOR ARMOIRE IN THE LOUIS XV STYLE C 1890 WITH ADJUSTABLE SHELVING.
Apr 25, 11:00 AM EDT
FRENCH PAINT DECORATED SINGLE DOOR ARMOIRE IN THE LOUIS XV STYLE C 1890 WITH ADJUSTABLE SHELVING.
by Kamelot Auctions
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$5000 Bids
FRENCH MAHOGANY GILT BRONZE MOUNTED TWO DOOR MAHOGANY ARMOIRE WITH SHAPED BEVELED MIRRORS
Apr 25, 11:00 AM EDT
FRENCH MAHOGANY GILT BRONZE MOUNTED TWO DOOR MAHOGANY ARMOIRE WITH SHAPED BEVELED MIRRORS
by Kamelot Auctions
Est: $1,000- $2,000
$5000 Bids
French Louis XVI Style Mixed Hardwood Armoire, 20th c., H.- 77 in., W.- 57 in., D.- 21 in.
May 11, 10:00 AM CDT
French Louis XVI Style Mixed Hardwood Armoire, 20th c., H.- 77 in., W.- 57 in., D.- 21 in.
by Crescent City Auction Gallery
Est: $400- $800
$3000 Bids
FRENCH BRONZE MOUNTED MARQUETRY ARMOIRE
Apr 25, 11:00 AM EDT
FRENCH BRONZE MOUNTED MARQUETRY ARMOIRE
by Kamelot Auctions
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
FRENCH EMPIRE STYLE BURLED WALNUT MIRRORED ARMOIRE
Apr 21, 10:00 AM CDT
FRENCH EMPIRE STYLE BURLED WALNUT MIRRORED ARMOIRE
by Austin Auction Gallery
Est: $800- $1,200
$6000 Bids
French Louis XV Style Cherrywood Armoire, 20th c., H.- 75 in., W.- 50 in., D.- 21 in.
May 10, 10:00 AM CDT
French Louis XV Style Cherrywood Armoire, 20th c., H.- 75 in., W.- 50 in., D.- 21 in.
by Crescent City Auction Gallery
Est: $400- $800
$3000 Bids
French Louis XVI Style Marble Top Armoire
Apr 21, 10:00 AM CDT
French Louis XVI Style Marble Top Armoire
by Leonard Auction
Est: $300- $500
$1500 Bids
ITALIAN WALNUT ARMOIRE CARVED WITH SYMBOLS OF THE ZODIAC
Apr 21, 10:00 AM CDT
ITALIAN WALNUT ARMOIRE CARVED WITH SYMBOLS OF THE ZODIAC
by Austin Auction Gallery
Est: $400- $600
$3500 Bids

Sellers Who Sell European Armoires


Kamelot Auctions

Kamelot Auctions

Austin Auction Gallery

Austin Auction Gallery

Crescent City Auction Gallery

Crescent City Auction Gallery

King Galleries

King Galleries