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Old Houses Of Paris
( Article orginally From May 1964 )
Between the Place de l'Etoile and the Elysee Palace, coming down the Faubourg St. Honore, you would do well to visit an old house founded in 1847 which deals exclusively in wooden frames, sculptures, and gilding.
Even if you aren't carrying a picture to be framed, or a mirror to be hung, a visit to this old house would interest you solely by the great diversity of its models and the archaic method of work.
In the 12th century, the Guild of Sculptors and Gilders was a noble guild - the Master-Gilder had the right to wear a sword! The method of work is still the same, and one finds the same care in finishing, repairing or maintaining the gloss of the sculpted wood.
On the second floor, the models of all eras and all dimensions permit you to follow the evolution of styles from the 15th to the 19th century. These models can be reproduced with a perfect resemblance.
Come downstairs, then cross two old courtyards, and you will find a studio in a small garden, very unexpected in this part of the Faubourg St. Honore. Here you can see hundreds of frames and mirrors. You see also the finishing and the method of work, which is all done by hand. No machinery at all is used in these diverse patterns. I must admit that I stood for over an hour in admiration before a working sculptor, who is truly an exceptional artist. When it was time for me to leave, a splendid angel's head was emerging from a small square of wood.
What astonished me so profoundly was the ease and speed with which MR. LEBRUN finds just the right frame, even the smallest one, in this heap of objects.
It really was a pleasure for me to meet, in this day and age, a house that guards the traditions of the past in quality and detail of finishing touches.
The charm of this store is due in part to the fact that it is located in this very old, picturesque landscape, and the work and the property form a lovely ensemble.
If you come down the Faubourg St. IIonore, between the intersection of Friedland-Haussmann and the Rue de Berri, stop at LEBRUN'S, at 155 Faubourg St. Honore.