Quick lesson on Mechelen

Mechelen buffet with original bevelled glass.

Mechelen buffet with original bevelled glass.

One style of furniture that Europa Antiques imports is the beautiful Mechelen style of furniture. Here is a little bit of history about Mechelen and how it became a centre for furniture making.

Mechelen, pronounced Malines in France, and also known as Malines or Mechlin in English, is a Dutch-speaking city in the province of Antwerp, Belgium.

Mechelen is one of Belgium’s prominent cities of historical art. It was a centre for artistic production during the Northern Renaissance. Anne Boleyn, wife of English King Henry VIII (1504–1536) resided in Mechelen as did Margaret of York, Duchess of Burgundy (1446–1503). In fact, several children who later became queens of European countries had received an education at Margaret of York’s court.

In 1572, during the Eighty Years' War, the city was burned and sacked by the Spanish. After this pillaging, the city was rebuilt. It was during this time that the tradition of furniture making began and can still be seen today.

Along with furniture, historically famous Mechlinian trades include laken (woollen cloth), tapestries, cordwain, Mechlin lace (precious bobbin lace, already from the early 18th century), wood carving and sculpturing.

Mechelen buffet with original stained glass

Mechelen buffet with original stained glass

About 150 years ago, the artisan-made high-class furniture was enjoying a revival in Mechelen. A lot of qualified craftsmen were attracted to the city to restore it. That's why Mechelen was soon known for its high-class furniture, and the demand was rising inside and outside of Belgium.

The last boom of the Mechelen furniture craftsmanship took place after the First World War.

Mechelen-style furniture is beautifully carved with decoration such as leaves, berries and fruit, and often includes handsomely carved lion heads. The pieces that our European picker finds usually date from 1860 to about 1920. He discovers these pieces when he visits Mechelen or makes his usual tour in the province of Antwerp in Belgium. We can guarantee that the Mechelen furniture we import comes directly from the source!

These unique pieces can be a lovely addition to your home décor and are still very functional today. Here are some examples of Mechelen furniture we have in stock. See something you like? Visit the Exit 76 Antique Mall to check it out!

(source: Our picker and good ol’ Wikipedia)