A Pretty George III Painted Pine Pelmet Board c.1780

Origin: English
Period: George III
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1770-90
Height: 5.5”
Width: 63.75” (at extremities)

The pelmet or cornice board of elliptical shape showing the original gold and green paint colourway with gesso gadrooning to the central oval reserve of three putto, two with musical instruments of the harp and pipes and the other bearing torcheres, the flanks of flowing garlands the whole once being part of a pelmet box with pulley system.

The overall condition of the pelmet is tired but wonderfully decorative, with some losses to the whole, especially to one end where there is a section absent. The gadrooning to the oval reserve is part lacking. There is loss to the gesso mouldings and flaking to the paint and there is old worm evident. We have added some eyelets for the purposes of wall hanging of the piece and have treated it for worm as a precaution and then waxed the whole.

There is some pencil annotation to the paint which is hard to decipher but the date of 1845 is clear. We believe this to be when the board would have been integrated into an early Victorian pulley system within a pelmet box (we have part of pulley system also and this can be sent with the board if of interest).

By the 1780s it became fashionable for ‘French-rod’ curtains to have draperies or pelmets attached above the window to hide the workings, of which this board would have been the facade for, and the operating cords often had tasselled ends. Drapery was the most fashionable type of curtaining in the Neoclassical period. It consisted of several pieces of fabric put together to give the appearance of one flowing piece. One or more swags would normally go at each end, with the joins disguised by trimming. Swags and tails often had contrasting lining such as crimson velvet against oyster silk. To soften the outlines of the window and diffuse the light, they were frequently combined with dress curtains instead of full working curtains. Irregular drapery, in which swags were attached at different heights, was also used at this time. In the 1790s Sheraton designed light, elegant curtains, caught back with rope tie-backs, ornamented with rosettes and topped with a cornice and valance which had been softened with the attachment of swags and mini-tails.

This simply must be placed over a doorway or some such to see it really sing. Beautiful.