Saturday, January 19, 2008

Jean Royere and Gossip Girl

I have posted several times on my obsession with sconces....specifically, on my obsession with 'the Gossip Girl Sconce'. This is the sconce that is featured in the apartment of Blair, one of the main characters on the show. The apartment is elegant and chic, both classic and contemporary, which is a mixture I love. I think this sconce reflects those qualities beautifully.

When looking through the inspiration file on my laptop, I came across this picture. I am sorry to say, I did not note whose blog is came from, but I remember it was a post on the beautiful flowery branch arrangements that add so much textural interest to a room. I appreciate the beauty of the branches, but what I focused on was the beautiful sconce above the demilune table. So substantial and archictectural is this sconce, that it is not even flanking the mirror; it is centered on the wall, a focal point in its own right. The text on this picture says that the sconce is attributed to Jean Royere. It certainly has the look and feel that I love, and reminds me a bit of the design of the Gossip Girl sconce.

I wanted to learn more about Jean Royere. One of the first things that came up on Google was 1st Dibs, the online treasure trove of fine antiques. It looks like Royere was quite the prolific designer, as there are dozens of Royere items listed. There is even a Royere chandelier listed right now by a dealer in Paris, asking price $31,500.

Finding out biographical information on Royere was no easy task. There is a blog entry about him, but it is in French, so I used the google translator to read it. The translation was a bit choppy, but I learned that Royere was self-taught and did not start interior and furniture design until he was 29. Finally, I came across a small biography that was translated to English, on the Vintage and Modern website. This looks like a 1st Dibs like site that has antiques and vintage pieces listed by dealers across the country.

Here is the write up on Jean Royere (translated from French by Denis Griesmar):
In 1931, aged 29, Jean Royère resigned from a comfortable position in the import-export trade in order to set up business as an interior designer. He learned his new trade in the cabinetmaking workshops of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine in Paris. In 1934, he signed the new layout of the Brasserie Carlton on the Champs Elysées and found immediate success. This was the beginning of an international career which was to last until the beginning of the 1970s. A key figure of the Avant-garde in the 1950s, Royère tackled all kinds ofdecoration work and opened branches in the Near East and Latin America. Among his patrons: King Farouk, King Hussein of Jordan, the Shah of Iran, who were captivated by his freedom of creation and his elegance and entrusted him with the layout of their palaces. Royère pioneered an original style combining bright colors, organic forms and precious materials within a wide range of imaginative accomplishments. In 1980, he left France for the United States, where he lived until his death.

Although Royere has a large catalog of designs, it is the lighting that appeals most to me. Here is another Royere sconce, part of a pair, that was listed last year on an antique dealer website. The price: a mere $29,500! It had been created for one of the palaces of the Shah of Persia. The wonderful blogger Jane from Ill Seen, Ill Said notified me about this, as she knew that I had been looking for a sconce like the one on the Gossip Girl set. This one definitely has the look and feel of the Gossip Girl sconce, on a much larger scale. Alas, well out of my budget! (Edit: big thanks to Jane, who spent much time and effort looking through all of her sources for sconces simialr to those in the Gossip Girl show! She is the one who led me to Royere. I never would have found his work without her!)

Circa Lighting Normandy Chandelier

Circa Lighting has a chandelier that has a similar look and feel to the Royere chandelier, at a much more budget friendly price (relative to the originals!). This one is called the Normandy chandelier.(above). Circa Lighting also makes a Normandy sconce (below) which comes in two or three arm versions. Unfortunately, the Normandy products only come in the three finishes, none of which I like.

Circa Lighting Normandy Sconce

I definitely see some Royere influence in these sconces, don't you?

Update: I have worked with a custom lighting designer, and we have created a sconce that is inspired by the Gossip Girl Sconce:
Please email me at quatrefoildesign@gmail.com for ordering information.


  1. What finish do you want? You could buy the Normandys in hand rubbed antique brass and then take them to a metal plater in your area to refinish them. Apparently, people do this quite often if a fixture isn't offered in the finish they want.

  2. Paloma - thanks for the suggestion! I really like gilded - gold leaf. I think that Circa/Visual Comfort have some of the best lighting designs around! I know that they can't be as customized as smaller companies, but their prices are great.

    I actually have some sconces on order, and I will do a post on them when they arrive!

  3. You know Paloma's husband is a big wig with Circa Lighting! She's got the connections!!!! but that is a great idea she had - replate them. Honestly though I don't think their sconce replicates the look as good as the chandelier does. It seems to small - not enough arms. I'd keep looking for another source. Great blog you have! I was directed to it from the Washington Post section on Blogs. I'll be back to visit.

  4. I love those Gossip Girl sconces. Forgive me, did you ever find the origin? Thanks for the great post.

  5. CDT - so glad a gal like you is reading the Washington Post! Do you have a little blog that you would like to share with my readers? I would be happy to send a few your way !!!! :)

    Man, I wish you hadn't posted about technorati. I am 132,066. CDT, you are 80,591! Way to go!

    House and Life, I tried SO hard to find the source of these sconces. I even called the TV network. No response.

    I have some on order that I am very pleased with, though, and I will post when they arrive!

  6. What good sleuthing you have done. Love the Royere chandelier!

  7. Ok Things - I have been saving up sconces for a post - but girl - I'm sending the link source over to you to revel in as you wish!!

    Be prepared - you will swoon :-)

  8. Inspire - re-plating is not that expensive - if it's the perfect piece at a good price you can have just about any finish you want. Oh, if you were here I'd know just where to send you. I know this "almost" feeling and it's so frustrating. Good luck!

  9. B&B - Great source for sconces! Everyone should be on the lookout for her sconce post.

    Mrs. Blandings - yes, that almost feeling is quite frustrating! I enjoy the quest, though, so this is fun for me. However, I have made a promise to myself not to post on the gossip girl sconces again!

  10. Yes - I do have a blog, it's called Cote de Texas. I would so appreciate you linking with me and sending me more readers. Although you think my technorati stats are high, they are pathetically low (thanks for posting the stats for all the world to see, that was SO sweet of you!) - At least mine are much much much better than yours, whoever you are! Jeez, get a blurb in the Washington Post and it just goes to your head! ;)

  11. I think you must have missed my comment on your original post saying I thought they were Jean Royere!

  12. Jane, you are right! I know that you were the one who led me to the Royere sconces on the antique site. I had saved the picture from the other blog, and when I compared one to the other, and read the fine print on the other blog, I saw that those sconces were Royere too! Thank you so much for being the link that brought me to Royere. I am a big fan of his lighting, and of you too!

    I am going to reread my post to make sure that I credit you with the discovery.

  13. I love this whole process of discovery, though it still irks me a little that we have not found the precise ones from the show! Thanks to you, I've found lots of amazing sconces in the search though. The Royere ones are especially to die for.

  14. Wow, I love those sconces and can certainly understand your "fixture fixation"! (hee!) great post as always.

  15. Wow, look at your eagle eye!!! These are just stunning pieces!


  16. thanks for your kind words! love the chair by the fireplace picture.

  17. I can't wait to see your sconces when they come in. Did you order them from Circa?

  18. There are so many beautiful images on your blog. I really enjoy reading it. Thanks for visiting mine :)

  19. One of the best Royère dealers is Galerie de Beyrie in New York City: http://www.galeriedebeyrie.com. One of the firm's owners, Catherine de Beyrie, wrote a fantastic book about Royère in 2001, and it includes a lot of his work in the Middle East. Fantastic stuff.


Thank you for your comments! I strive to make my blog positive in tone, and appreciate the same courtesy when comments are made. Thank you!


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