What is Mechelen Style Antique Furniture?

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What is Mechelen Style Antique Furniture?

Mechelen style antique furniture is very distinctive and exotic. It is heavily hand-carved with foliage and typically a pride of roaring lion heads too! People who know the Mechelen look often fall in love with it, but many Americans are not that familiar with this Flemish furniture style.

Mechelen Style Antique Furniture - this buffet dates to 1900This wonderful antique buffet currently in our gallery is an excellent example of the Mechelen style. It dates to 1900 and is superbly carved with winged lions on the side. Lions' heads on the cabinets are embellished with metal rings and the craftsmen added carved figures and faces of people, as an extra decorative touch. Mechelen style antique furniture typically features dark woods, like the rich oak in this sideboard or sometimes walnut. You'll often see stained glass as well. The original stained glass in the doors on this buffet features a striking floral design.

Beginning of the Mechelen Style

So how did the Mechelen style develop? In the early 16th century, Mechelen in Belgium was the capital of the Low Countries. We know these countries today as the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. Mechelen enjoyed prosperity and power thanks to its cloth trade. But in 1572 the city was sacked and burned during the Eighty Years’ War. Brussels, about 15 miles away, became the new capital.

You'd think that would be the end of Mechelen, yet the city rose from the ashes and grew famous for its furniture. Furniture crafted in Mechelen at the end of the 16th century was heavily carved as a Belgian take on the Hunting Style popular in France to decorate hunting lodges and castles for royalty and aristocrats.

1920 Oak Dining Table is typical of Mechelen style antique furnitureUsing imagery from the natural world and the hunt, Mechelen style antique furniture is lavishly adorned with stylized leaves, berries and fruit, and often boasts handsomely carved lion heads, as you can see in these pictures. This Mechelen oak dining table from 1920 boasts lions on each corner, and foliage and flowers on the apron and legs. The 5-leg table has a center pedestal that eliminates the need for stretchers, so your guests have more room to stretch their own legs!

Petite Oak Buffet is a fine example of Mechelen style antique furniture

European Railways!

In the 19th century, the Dutch-speaking city of Mechelen played an important role as a hub in the new-fangled European railway network. Mechelen's beautifully crafted and ornate furniture became even more popular as it was easy to send it by rail to customers far and wide! This petite antique oak buffet is from that era, dating to 1900 and carved with leaves, flowers, and acorns or nuts, as well as the traditional lions' heads.1900 Mechelen Buffet Stained Glass Door
The pretty floral stained glass on the upper door is original and it's quite amazing to think that this glass has survived over a century! Although Mechelen style antique furniture is always sturdy, this sideboard is unusual in its trim size. At just over 3 feet wide it is nicely proportioned to fit a modern home if you don't have a hunting lodge or chateau at your disposal!

I'd love to hear what you think about this look. Is it new to you or are you a fan already? Ask me any questions about Mechelen style antique furniture in the comment box below!

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Aimee @ EuroLux Home

Aimee owns EuroLuxHome.com with her husband and best friend, Greg. With over 20 years' experience in acquiring and selling French Antique Furniture, she is very knowledgeable about furniture styles and how they are influenced by historical events. Aimee has shipped antique furniture and antique furniture reproductions to all 50 States and over 50 foreign countries. Subscribe to this blog for articles about antique furniture construction methods, style trends and even repair tips. Check out our YouTube channel!


  1. julie passanisi
    julie passanisi
    I have a 1930s Oak Mechelen dining table with carved lions. The leg of this table is missing a piece glued to the leg that kinda looks like a scone. Each leg as four of these pieces and when glued it look like a dome. I am missing 5 of these pieces and would like to know where I can order these pieces. Thank you in advance for your assistance
    Julie Passanisi
  2. admin
    Hi Julie,
    Thanks for your message! I don't believe you will be able to order those pieces anywhere, but if you contact a professional furniture restoration company, they will be able to re-create those pieces for you.
    Best wishes,
    Aimee at EuroLuxHome.com
  3. Patricia Oliver
    I have a Mechelen buffet that has human or satyr heads on the two front corners. Have you ever heard of this?
    Achetez-vous les meubles antique de Malines? J'ai un buffet,et une table .
    1. admin
      Thanks for reaching out to us, but we don't actually buy from individuals. You might try contacting an antique dealer in your area. Best wishes, Aimee at EuroLuxHome.com
  5. admin
    Hi Patricia,
    Thanks for your interest in our blog. Yes, the Mechelen style is also known as the Flemish Renaissance style, meaning that it also draws on elements from the French Renaissance style. The Renaissance in general was based on a new-found interest in all things Greek and Roman, and human and satyr heads were very commonly used in Greek and Roman decorative motifs. So to answer your question, yes - human and satyr heads are decorative elements that are found in both the French and Flemish Renaissance styles.

    Best wishes,
    Aimee at EuroLuxHome.com
  6. Terri Dood
    Terri Dood
    We have just inherited what I believe is a Mechelen hutch. I am interested in finding out how old it is. Are there things I should look for to help me date it?
  7. admin
    Thanks for your message. Dating antique furniture comes more from experience than any one thing in particular that I can tell you for which to look. If you send a photo to me at [email protected], I can give you my opinion as to the age.

    Best wishes,
    Aimee at EuroLuxHome.com
  8. john McMonegal
    john McMonegal
    i have a flemish mechelen dining table with lion heads 1890 to 1920s im trying to find the brass rings that go into the nose of lions head
  9. Gail Earley
    Gail Earley
    I have two matching Mechelen hutches with double doors on top with original stained glass. The design is very very similar to the top picture. The counter top however was covered with a laminate and the insides of the bottom were altered to accommodate a stereo. They are quite stunning though and I love them.
    1. admin
      How wonderful! I'm glad you enjoy your Mechelen hutches, Gail.
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