Friezes

Friezes have been a popular form of ornamentation on furniture for centuries, and are a distinctive feature on most neo-classical style furniture. Friezes are based on entablature, one of the orders of classical architecture. The entablature consists of three horizontal layers, the architrave, which is on the bottom, the frieze, which is in the middle, and the cornice which is at the top. This style of architecture was adapted to furniture design and is generally used on casework and tables.

On furniture, the cornice is usually a beveled or splayed molding which turns outward and is found on the edges of tabletops and on cabinets. The architrave is the part that rests directly on the column or pillaster legs of tables, and on the feet of cabinets and casework. It is generally not decorated. The freize forms part of the support below the tabletop, or the bottom of the framing of casework. On tables, the freize is a carved apron which runs along the bottom edge of the tabletop and frequently contains drawers, making it both functional and decorative. On casework, the frieze is the strip of wood which joins the base of the cabinet and is purely decorative. Friezes are noted for their elaborate and pierced carving, usually with running scrollwork or classical motifs. They are sometimes decorated with painted or inlaid motifs of flowers and garlands.

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