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CONSOLE (a French form, supposed to b...

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V06, Page 979 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CONSOLE (a French form, supposed to be an abbreviation of consolide, from Lat. consolidare, to strengthen), the architectural term given to a corbel (q.v.) placed on end, i.e. in which the height is greater than the projection. The console brackets which carry the cornice of a Roman doorway, and are described by Vitruvius as ancones (see ANCON), are among the best examples. The word is, however, more familiar in its connexion with furniture. The console-table was originally so called because the slab was supported upon a scroll-shaped bracket, or upon legs which in form and contour answered roughly to the idea of a bracket. A console-table has a front and two sides; the back, which remains unornamented, always stands against the wall. Since this piece of furniture was first introduced in the 17th century it has undergone many mutations of form. It has been flat and oblong, oval and bombe; but, save during the Empire period, it has rarely been severe. The console-table --the slab of which is often of marble—lends itself with peculiar adaptability to ornament, and, especially during the first half of the 18th century which was its most distinguished and, artistically, its most satisfactory period, it was often of extreme grace and elegance. France was always its natural home, and the Mobilier National and the great French palaces still contain many extremely ornate examples, in which fruits and flowers, wreaths and scrolls, gildings and inlayings produce gorgeous yet homogeneous effects. Until the reign of Louis XVI. console-tables were almost invariably gilded, but they then began to be painted usually in gris-perle, and by degrees they came to be manufactured in rose-wood and mahogany. Although much used in England the console has never been thoroughly acclimatized there; that it has always retained a foreign flavour is indicated by the fact that, unlike most other pieces of furniture, it has failed to commend itself to any but the richer classes.
End of Article: CONSOLE (a French form, supposed to be an abbreviation of consolide, from Lat. consolidare, to strengthen)
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