Antique Victorian Furniture – Who Was Alexander Roux?

Alexander Roux (pronounced “Roo”) was 1 of the major cabinetmakers of the Victorian era in America, and these days his name instructions excellent regard in the planet of antique Victorian home furnishings.

Born in France in 1813, Roux was guild-properly trained in his indigenous place in the Rococo Revival model. In the 1830s he emigrated to the United States. And in 1836 (potentially 1837) he opened a store in New York City. Mainly because French home furnishings was in vogue in New York at the time, Roux labeled himself, equally in his ads and on his home furnishings, as a “French Cabinet Maker.”

His company prospered. By the 1850s he had 120 craftsmen in his employ. Roux used new systems, this kind of as steam powered saws and routers, which permitted him to condition his wooden immediately. This gave him a lot more time to operate on his fantastically ornate carvings.

Roux is most effective identified for his Rococo parts, but he rarely constrained himself to that type. In fact, he introduced his mastery to the shifting fashions of the working day: Gothic Revival in the 1840s Elizabethan and Renaissance, in addition to Rococo, in the 1850s Neo-Grec in the 1860s.

Roux crafted significant high quality parts for elite consumers like William B. Astor. In 1853 he exhibited his perform at the Crystal Palace exhibition in New York Town. Roux’s small business was immensely rewarding. He reportedly acquired as considerably as $500,000 in the 1870s, a enormous sum for the working day.

Roux was married three instances and had six little ones. For a person yr, in 1847, his brother Frederick joined the agency. Roux himself last but not least retired in 1881 and turned the enterprise more than to his son Alexander J. Roux, who carried it on until eventually 1898.

Roux’s shop occupied a selection of places in New York, together with five unique spots on Broadway and 1 on Fifth Avenue. Nineteenth century America, with its new prosperity and technology, proved to be the excellent location for Roux to produce his one of a kind craftsmanship.

His perform displays an individuality of believed and a independence of form that make it highly fascinating currently among collectors of antique Victorian home furnishings. His Rococo pieces consist of an abnormal wide range of naturalistic carvings these as pomegranates and pineapples, the heads of deer, wolves and canine, crabs, lobsters and other marine existence. Roux chosen fancy woods like walnut, even making use of the exact as secondary inside woods.

In the calendar year 2000, a single of Roux’s elaborate sideboards was exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Artwork in New York Metropolis, at an show termed Art and the Empire City, 1825-1861.

Alexander Roux died in 1886.