Antique Fireplace Mantels: What style to choose from?

Reclaimed Limestone Fireplace Mantle Salvaged from Belgium
Reclaimed Limestone Fireplace Mantle Salvaged from Belgium
Antique Reclaimed Fireplace Mantle in California
An Antique fireplace mantel is possibly the most important piece of furniture that you’ll purchase for your house because it’s a permanent fixture that will survive the perpetual remodeling(s) and style changes a home will have to endure over its lifetime. This mantle above was salvaged from France and was raised by a hearth to be custom fitted for an existing fireplace box in California. Most antique mantles could benefit from a hearth or surround stone pieces that will position them better with their boxes and rooms they are in for more information about our antique fireplaces visit:
Antique Reclaimed French Fireplace Mantle in the Backyard
Antique Reclaimed French Fireplace Mantle in the Backyard

They project a classic look to a living room, warmth and coziness in a bedroom, or a meditative and unwinding therapy by the poolside patio. Running Bond Reclaimed Limestone inside the Firebox. These mantels have stood the test of time unlike their brand new counterparts. A good antique reclaimer would also offer an arsenal of refurbished antique accessories to complement the whole antique mantels ambiance that you’re trying to create in your home. Such items include ancient metal gates, antique herringbone bricks used to line the insides of the fireboxes, to the simple yet elegant hearth & surround stones, classic andiron, fire backs and baskets all salvaged from the 17th to the 19th century. Please visit our fireplace page for more information—>

Antique Reclaimed Italian Countryside Fireplace
Classic timeless pieces from the Norman and Medieval, Italian and French Renaissance or Edwardian and Victorian eras are some of the best fireplace school of styles to choose from. This fireplace above was reclaimed from Italy and is of a classical Medieval Italian countryside design. See more at—>
Antique Reclaimed French Fireplace Mantle with a Bolection Simple Frame

While picking from a variety of ancient hand carved stone mantels, generally, those offered by dealers are mainly simple with the occasional corbel legs to them like the French countryside fireplaces, or simple English Jacobean mantels with a nice bolection frame common during that era. To learn more about those types of simple fireplaces please visit our website at—>

Antique Reclaimed French Fireplace
Antique Reclaimed French Fireplace
Various kinds of stone such as dolomite limestone, brecciated marble or even basalt rock in some instances were used by past carvers to create some of Europe’s most elaborate fireplace mantels for the past ten centuries. The best kind of stone to carve fireplaces out of in Limestone. Uncontested, it helps provide mantles with an eternal beauty and great heat conductivity while achieving a legendary level in hardness and durability. It’s no surprise that most well-preserved stone fireplaces in the world were once carved out of this highly prized natural sub-class called ‘Oolitic Limestone’ also known in French as ‘La Pierre Froide’.
Antique Fireplace 'A Clef Vouttee'
Antique Fireplace with the Keystone

As for the style of mantles goes, the most popular kind of fireplace mantel today are South European or the Tuscan or French Bastide and Normandy style that are based on one simple philosophy of the simpler the better as long as that simplicity didn’t stand for losing the fireplace’s personality and character like few minimalistic modern design suggest today.

Antique Reclaimed Louis XV French Fireplace
Antique Reclaimed Louis XV French Fireplace

Mostly sculptures realized in this style were a way for lesser wealthy individuals to afford a hand carved stone fireplace which still struck a chord with its viewing audience. They still offered a perfect balance of design and proportion based of the utilization the ‘Golden Ratio’ and ‘Golden Mean’. For example look at the fireplace mantle named AF-1100 shown above.

Antique Fireplace Cared Using the Golden Ratio
Antique Fireplace Cared Using the Golden Ratio

You can feel and see its beauty and proportionality despite the simplistic carving lines it features. This is because it was design and engineered hundred of years ago by a French master carver who planned every ligne, every curvature , and every proportion using specific geometric formulas that puts any modern university math professor to shame!

Antique Mantle in a French Abbaye
Antique Mantle in a Medieval Manor

Many European master carvers during the late Medieval and Renaissance periods utilized many other carving and visual techniques such as the play on the visual perspective, ‘Chiaroscuro’ shade manipulations, ‘Foreshortening’ the play with lines, and ‘Sfumato’ which consist on blurring or not fully carving a section to give it a perception of distance.

Antique Reclaimed Fireplace with Vegetation and Leafage Carvings
Antique Reclaimed Fireplace with Vegetation and Leafage Carvings

Just as in paintings all European eras have been splendidly depicted in these hand carved mantels that speak volumes of Europe’s glory days & fall from grace. If anyone desires to design a house keeping a particular style in mind then European mantels offer such a versatile outlet for you.

Antique Reclaimed Medieval Mantle

The earliest known mantel piece is the one in the Kings House in Southampton. It was carved in the 12th century and is a classic example of splendid old masters craftsmanship. A very wonderful example of the early Renaissance style fireplaces is the mantelpiece of the ‘Palais de Justice at Burges’ or the main fireplace mantle at the Versailles castle.

Antique Reclaimed English Mantle with an Italian Influance

Seventeenth century English era saw the introduction of pure Italian style of fireplace mantel pieces. These mantels were very simple in style but had an elegant look. It was only in the latter part of the 17th century that bolder and molding styles were introduced.

Antique Reclaimed 18th Century French Fireplace with Trumeau
Antique Reclaimed 18th Century French Fireplace with Trumeau

In the 18th century the rise of French style of architecture was seen and the designs of the mantels too were influenced by the French style.

Antique Reclaimed Fireplace Mantle from the 17th Century
Antique Reclaimed Fireplace Mantle from the 17th Century

The other different but very elegant styles of fireplace mantels include the Classic Tudor, Jacobean, Victorian, Georgian, Gothic, Louis Style, Pompadour, Directoire… Antique fireplace mantels of the above mentioned eras and designs have gained a lot of popularity nowadays.

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