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  • Writer's pictureBrandt Augustus Tudgay

The Mobile Guillotine

Updated: Jan 10, 2022

Every piece that is made by The Bespoke Furniture Company has its own story to tell and this cabinet is no exception.

The wood we used was taken from a mobile guillotine we “rescued” from a chateau in Argentan in Northern France. According to its former owners this particular example was used throughout the region, travelling from town to town to carry out its gruesome work.

As soon as we saw it we knew we just had to have it, the sturdy wood it was constructed from was in great condition and the history of the piece would make an amazing back story for a bespoke creation.

One thing that struck us was the rather crude design and construction of the guillotine, nothing elaborate about it at all, even the blade was not what one might imagine from the movies. Not a shining razor-sharp slither of steel but rather a seemingly blunt lump of metal that seemed to almost do its job by a combination of its weight and the height it fell from. The red pigment you can see in the photos is red paint and not as you might imagine, blood.

We used two of the over size wheels to make bespoke tables that were sent to a client in Japan and as you can see in the photos, the wood was used to make a beautiful and certainly one-of-a-kind dining room cabinet that was commissioned, some what ironically by a judge.

We always associate the guillotine with the French Revolution but in fact it was the official method of execution in France right up until the abolition of the death penalty in 1981. The last person to be executed in France was Hamida Djandoubi, who was guillotined on 10 September 1977 after he was convicted of the torture and murder of his partner. Djandoubi was the last person executed by guillotine by any government in the world.

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