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This is a place where the visitors are confronted with their search for a personal touch and where they have an opportunity to get acquainted with a skilled expert, who has turned durability and tradition into a personal passion.
I hope this will become a valued and rich source of inspiration and knowledge. Please Leave comments and enjoy your visit.

Monday, 24 November 2014

The antiques fair ANTICA Namur 2014 in Belgium | Liège-style Furniture | An 18th century Liège corner chest

Antica 2014
The Art & Antiques Fair in Namur  (Belgium)

Source of inspiration
A visit to the museum, a castle, a church or an antique fair is probably the most important source of inspiration for a woodcarver. 
These are the places where a craftsman gets his ideas from, where he looks for new challenges and often finds something totally unexpected, and even after 25 years  as a woodcarver, you can still get the sense of learning something new.
We tend to go there to take a closer look at how our fellow woodcarvers solved certain problems back in the day and how they applied their knowledge of tasteful proportions to interior decorating and to analyze the way they shaped things as well as the woodcarving techniques they applied.

Antica Namur
Antica Namur is a must-see event for Belgian and foreign antique dealers. Antica Namur is where everyone from the world of antiques meets up. With over 125 Belgian and foreign antique dealers, 28.000 professionals, collectors and art lovers, it was the place to be this autumn!
Antica Namur combined quality, charm, tradition and conviviality to make sure that we had the experience of a lifetime, surrounded by art and antiques.
The authenticity of the pieces on display is always verified by a team of experts and therefore guaranteed.
This year, the theme of the fair was “Gastronomy”, with a special guest appearance by Gerald Watelet, who took care of the menu in the restaurant at the fair and who also occupied a stand to give free rein to his decorative skills in an exceptional atmosphere, completely devoted to the theme of the fair.
In and around the exhibition space, antique dealers used art to present this year’s theme of “Gastronomy” by means of paintings, engravings and art objects and also shed some light on the art of the table, using furniture, porcelain, glass, silverware and fabrics from renowned collections.

An 18th century Liège corner chest

An 18th century Liège corner chest
During our visit to Antica Namur 2014, this remarkable 18th century Liège corner chest caught my eye. I thought it was a thing of exceptional beauty and it immediately drew me in for a closer look. The exhibitor explained to me that this corner chest used to be a component of wainscot paneling – a wall cabinet, and that the interior (shelves, back panel) were from a more recent period.

The person who created this, surely understood his craft; beautifully quartered oak and an amazing frame, which is not uncommon for Liège furniture. What struck me in particular were the compositions of the ornaments and the quality of the woodcarving on the three-piece door frame, which, in my opinion, was incredibly well-finished. The beautiful and elegant compositions were quite creative and completely reflect the style period. The rocaille was shaped with much devotion and great attention to detail. 

Upon closer examination, I drew the antique dealer’s attention to the fact that this is a so called “composite piece of furniture”, to support his earlier claim about the interior of the chest, which probably consisted of the original door of the wainscot paneling and the later addition of the rest of the corner chest. The cabinetmaker used original 18th century parts from other cabinets or wainscot paneling. The latter seems to be the more obvious possibility, seeing as the balusters are very broad, too broad even, to be able to come from a Liège wardrobe or bookcase.

The length of the asymmetrical decorative “Liège-style” motifs reveal that they were most likely taken from wainscot paneling or a wall cabinet. The balusters are decorated with three motifs: a lower, middle and an upper motif. I deliberately refer to this as “Liège-style”, because these compositions of motifs could stem from two Liège style periods, being the “Liège Regency”-style and the “Liège Louis XV”-style. For an exact determination of the origin, we would have to be able to take a look at the entire chest or paneling. It so happens that looking at the original chest or configuration tells us something more about which period it stems from: Liège Regency or Louis XV.
If you look closely, you will also notice that the balusters were sawn horizontally, (picture of middle motif). The charming elements with carvings on them were reused to serve as a decorative whole.

It would, however, seem that the cabinetmaker was not completely aware of how to use Liège woodcarving or how to apply compositions of ornaments on furniture. He seems to have reversed the compositions of the Liège ornaments, which are thus upside down. A mistake you immediately notice if you know a thing or two about Liège furniture and compositions.
Despite this, it’s still an intriguing piece of furniture.

Compositions of ornaments, reversed (Liège furniture)

Liège style furniture


A visit to the antiques fair is definitely worth your time and if you combine it with a cultural visit to the city of Namur, you’re sure to have a wonderful day.
 I also took a number of pictures during
ANTICA Namur 2014.


Painted wooden panelling

The antiques fair ANTICA Namur 2014 

The antiques fair ANTICA Namur 2014 in Belgium

A beautiful carved and gilded mirror on one of the stands, Antica 2014

Rococo style mirror carved and gilded

Beautiful panelling with ornaments

Beautiful carved ornaments polychrome


Monday, 10 November 2014

CARVING A ROSETTE IN WOOD | Louis XVI-style rosette ornament | Decoration and Wood Carved Appliques | Hand Carved Wood Rosettes

 Patrick Damiaens
Ornamental Woodcarver


Rosette, Ornament

A rosette is a practical ornament, for which the possibilities for application are nearly endless. This ornament can already be found in the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans, where it is mainly used as an architectural decoration.
In the Netherlands, the term rosette is commonly used, but in Flanders, people also tend to refer to the rosette as “Rosace”, a word originating from France. 
In the Gothic style period, this ornament can be found, for instance, as the keystone of ribbed vaults. The rosette can be found throughout almost every style period in history, each time embodying the specific features and characteristics of these periods. But the period between 1750 and 1850 marks an era in which this ornament became even more popular, resulting in a wider use and a more imaginative variety of combinations and applications. It became a distinguishing feature for the Louis XVI style.
Rosettes come in all shapes and sizes. Most common is a round-shaped rosette, but square, rectangular or even diamond-shaped rosettes aren’t that uncommon either.

Several rosettes, Don Bosco Liège

As I mentioned before, this ornament was widely used during the Classicistic period (1750-1850). Classicism is a reaction to Baroque and Rococo and combines elements of Greek and Roman art or elements from the classical antiquity in general. The rosette is a separately placed flower-shaped ornament, with flower petals, acanthus leaves, oak leaves or even laurel leaves stretching outward from a central point. 

There are more sophisticated rosette designs, which consist of a combination of several motifs (e.g. a combination of acanthus leaves and laurel leaves) and then there’s the twisted rosette design, which consists of various types of leaf motifs as well.

 Rosette ,this ornament is typical Louis XVI style, Versailles
From the 17th century onward we notice that rosettes are often used as a decorative ornament on tables and chairs. They can particularly be found on twisted wooden designs or on baluster-shaped legs and form the central part of the H- or X-shaped joints between the legs of tables or chairs. (See picture) 
By the end of the 18th century, during the French classicistic Louis XVI style period, this ornament is widely applied to furniture and other interior elements. It is used so often that it becomes a characteristic feature of this period. 

Below you will find a short impression of the carving of this ornament. The design for this rosette was provided by the client, which is quite common practice. The design is inspired by an existing piece of furniture, which was carved in walnut.

CARVING A ROSETTE,various stages

Rosette in wood | First a design is created

Rosette in wood | The design will be redrawn on tracing paper and transferred to the wood

Modeling can begin

Rosette | With a pencil, the correct contour and details are applied back on to the wood

Rosette in wood | Finishing, the application of the detail

A Rosette in wood | Hand Carved Wood Rosettes

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Rolandus-Hagedoorn Family COAT OF ARMS carved in limewood | Netherlands | A Coat of Arms-Crest carved in wood, painted and gilded

Rolandus-Hagedoorn Family COAT OF ARMS carved in limewood

Carving Heraldic family coats of arms in wood

As a woodcarver, one of my specialties is the carving of Heraldic family coats of arms and Crests in wood. To carve a family coat of arms in wood is a bit of a personal challenge for me. Heraldry is a most interesting subject and I always look forward to taking on new assignments involving heraldic Coat of Arms.

You learn about interesting people that captivate the imagination, all of whom have their own fascinating life story or family history. And for me personally, it’s always nice to hear that my craftsmanship and quality are greatly appreciated.

Every heraldic coat of arms is different. Most of the time, it starts with an example that serves as a source of inspiration in the form of a drawing, an old sketch or some photographic material delivered to me by the client.
In some cases it occurs that the design for the family coat of arms is not entirely suited as the blueprint for the carving of it in wood. 

This might be due to the fact that the design is in a format which is a lot smaller than what the client had in mind (e.g. a large heraldic panel), in which case the family coat of arms has to be redesigned. If one were to simply enlarge the small design, the proportions or the composition of the design would be distorted.

Usually things have to be added to the composition in order to make better use of the available space. It might also be that there is no logic to how the mantling was arranged, and it’s entirely possible that the design was never meant to be carried out in wood. After all, wood has its limitations.

It is equally important that the relief fits the dimensions of the coat of arms.
We always try to resolve these small and sometimes larger issues together with the client.

Rolandus Hagedoorn family CoA from the Netherlands

The Rolandus-Hagedoorn family coat of arms

Barred helmets: of Dutch origin – in three-quarter view - the use of two helmets reflects the influence of German nobility.

The wreath: in the colours of the mantling – has the same function as the crown, namely keeping the mantling in place.

The crown: golden headgear, decorated with gemstones – three leafs and two pearls are set on the tips of the crown – the sign of a count.

The helmetsign-crest: on the right: Hagedoorn (Hawthorn) – on the left: Rolandus 

Mantling: on the right: silver and vert (green) – on the left: silver and gules

Shield: the design originates from the 15th-16th century. A triple crown tree (hawthorn) in its natural colour against a silver background and a knight in suit of armour (Rolandus) against a gules background and a silver snake against an azure (blue) background.

The Rolandus-Hagedoorn family lives in the Netherlands and the family history dates all the way back to 900 AD. The dimensions of the coat of arms are 90 x 85 cm. It is carved in limewood and is emblazoned in its proper tinctures.

Patrick Damiaens, Heraldic Woodcarver
Carving a coat of arms in limewood, various stages.

Drawing the design of the coat of arms on to the wood

Sawing the mantling in wood

Carving a heraldic coat of arms of wood

Modelling the mantling, limewood

Carving the helmet and crest in limewood

Helmet and Crest (limewood)

The shield of the coat of arms, limewood

The shield, carved in limewood

The coat of arms in limewood ,finished

Applying the heraldic colors

Family Crest - coat of arms carved in limewood

Family crest Rolandus Hagedoorn, limewood

Family coat of arms carved in wood