As we approach Easter week, we often have more inquiries about the antique religious treasures in our online store. During this Holy Week, I wanted to shine a special spotlight on antique French prayer chairs, also called a prie-dieu in French.
These exceptional pieces of furniture are not only beautiful in design, but they are created purely for the purpose of prayer and devotion. Prie-dieu literally means “Pray god” and people use it as a knee rest in their prayers and as a support for prayer books.
This superb antique French prie-dieu currently on sale in our online store is a wonderful example. It is finely crafted in cherry wood and upholstered with green velvet and it dates to about 1890. Notice the decorative shell on the back of the chair and the turned spindle posts.
When we find a prie-dieu while on our buying trips in France, we know that these pieces have been treasured for many years, often for much more than a century. It is touching to to imagine how many devout worshippers have paid their religious devotions and dedicated their prayers while supported by these chairs.
Here is another example of a prayer chair, which we found during one of our antiques buying trips. Although prayer chairs were most often for private devotional use at home, some would also be found in churches, like this one that we discovered for sale at a church in Normandy.
The chair dated to 1890. It was a bit sad and sorry for itself, but the carvings in the oak wood were lovely and in good shape.
So we brought it home and had it reupholstered in red velvet, to keep the overall look of the prayer chair as close as possible to the original upholstery. Isn’t it gorgeous? Our customers thought so, and we quickly got a lot of inquiries and it was snapped up.
The prie-dieu was given its name around the early 17th century although the item of furniture was used long before that. You might sometimes have seen a prie-dieu used at a church wedding, where it is provided for the elaborately bedecked bride and her groom to kneel on during the service!
The prayer chairs above are quite ornate in their carvings and design, but here’s another example with a simpler but no less lovely design.
This vintage French prie-dieu is still currently available in our online store at the time of writing, and it is crafted in walnut wood and boasts a rattan seat. It dates to about 1930, which explains the lighter and more streamlined silhouette, reflecting the tastes of the modern era around the Art Deco period.
If you’ve enjoyed our exploration into the prie-dieu, then you might also enjoy reading my blog post about other kinds of Antique Religious Treasures. You can also browse the vintage and antique French prayer chairs in our online store.
Aimee owns EuroLuxHome.com with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or connect with EuroLux on Google+. Or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.