Thursday, August 4, 2011

Empire Dressing Table

I am looking for nightstands and end tables for the casita we are building for my parents.  After combing all the antique stores in the area, I've come up with -- nothing.

The bedroom is a bit of a problem as I have two twin beds, and would like to put a table in between the two beds.  I really don't want to use a chest of drawers--they tend to be too deep.  I spotted this little dressing table, and decided it was perfect.  It is 18" deep, 52" to the top of the mirror, and about 29" wide.

Empire furniture dates from the early 1800's.  It originated in France and refers to
Napoleon's Empire.  Most Empire pieces you see are from 1810-1830.  Federal
pieces from the U.S. have an Empire influence. 
I was going to look for something more rustic, but then I realized my dad has a federal chest of drawers, and this could work.  OK, I was a sucker for the ormolu cherubs above the front legs.   It's not in the best condition, some chipping of the mahogany, but I really don't get too excited about that.  It can always be repaired, and I didn't pay a museum quality price.

Dressing tables tend to be huge, and the little ones are hard to find.   I took a spin through the auction houses, and found Christies had the following in past sales:

The wood is beautiful, but that ormolu is way too gold for me!

This one is a bit more like mine, not size-wise, but it has the same kind of ormolu around the mirror, and the smaller cherubs.  Mine also has some on the side of the piece.

Live Auctioneers had these:

The gold heads and gold paw feet are way over the top for the room.

I'm happy with my purchase-- I like the crusty ormolu on mine.  

I can't wait to get the bedroom pulled together.  I don't think the beds I have will work with this.  

Now what have I done?  Empire headboards?   Upholstered?   AGGGH, the one thing worse than making a decision is having an idea that I can't execute because I can't find what I am looking for!   The biggest problem in using antiques to decorate is that you are limited to what is available at that very moment.


  1. What a wonderful find. I think you done really good. Richard at My Old Historic House.

  2. Well you have an excellent findings of the small dressing table for your parents, and attain the collection of a beautiful dressings and drawers with golden depictions emerging from the furniture. Amazing collection and an amazing gift. Wish you best of luck.