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Walter O'Bannon

Cremonese Furniture?

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I have always wondered if there are similarities in finishing methods between the classical cremonese makers and furniture makers of the same period.  Many people have theorized that regional varnishes are owed to makers purchasing from local chemists.  If this is true, would the same varnish not wind up on end tables, picture frames, and the like?  Does anyone have any insights on this?

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I do not know about italian furniture of the period.  However English and French furniture of the perion [at its best] was done with copal and amber varnishes.

Even if the same varnish was used it would not be the same without the ground.

Joe

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None of these are specifically Cremonese, but I find them to be interesting.  The first is an early 18th century table with bone and a purfling like freehand inlay.  It is made of fruitwood.  The second one is a late 18th century pine credenza.  You can see a golden undertone to the red-umber varnish.  It has a greenish cast in places, but the varnishing on some panels would not be unpleasant on a fiddle.

 

https://www.1stdibs.com/furniture/tables/center-tables/18th-century-italian-walnut-two-drawer-table-fruitwood-bone-inlay/id-f_2351283/

 

https://www.1stdibs.com/furniture/storage-case-pieces/credenzas/18th-century-italian-credenza/id-f_2141292/

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I have always wondered if there are similarities in finishing methods between the classical cremonese makers and furniture makers of the same period.  Many people have theorized that regional varnishes are owed to makers purchasing from local chemists.  If this is true, would the same varnish not wind up on end tables, picture frames, and the like?  Does anyone have any insights on this?

Sacconi mentions that it is the same basic varnish as on the church choir woodwork in the main church (Duomo). I wouldn't have any reason to doubt this but any varnish found there is essentially transparent (no color) and we have no way of knowing how many times it may have been refinished, waxed, and who knows what else.

 

I do not know of a study that has been carried out on varnish found on furniture and carvings from the time of the great Cremonese makers. This doesn't mean that one does not exist.

 

Bruce

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Church furnishings see a good avenue to explore.

How usefully is another question.

 

Cupboard, by Fantoni Andrea, Fantoni Grazioso, 1679 - 1680,, carved walnut. Italy: Lombardy: Bergamo

 

YooniqImages_100697575.jpg

 

Confessional, by Unknown artist, 18th Century, carved wood. Italy: Lombardy: Bergamo

 

YooniqImages_100698822.jpg

How many times has it been re-varnished?

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Wow, I can't imagine what a job it would be to refinish either of those - just the initial stripping.  Nevertheless, the total effect of the finish itself is not particularly violin-like.  The one exception could be the trim work on the front panel of the confessional where hands have eroded through the top layers. 

 

The Bolognese cabinet from post #5 however seems to have an attractive underglow and the patina around the angels in particular is convincingly original.  I might of course be swayed by the presence of all of the compass and scribe marks to just want to see violin varnish on it.  The decorative style is also quite a bit like the surviving leather cases by Strad.

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Sacconi mentions that it is the same basic varnish as on the church choir woodwork in the main church (Duomo). I wouldn't have any reason to doubt this but any varnish found there is essentially transparent (no color) and we have no way of knowing how many times it may have been refinished, waxed, and who knows what else.

 

Bruce

That's probably what I'm remembering.

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