AN EMPIRE ORMOLU-MOUNTED MAHOGANY AND PARCEL-GILT CONSOLE TABLE

ATTRIBUTED TO JACOB-DESMALTER, POSSIBLY SUPPLIED BY THE MARCHAND-MERCIER MARTIN-ELOI LIGNEREUX

Lot 54 / Sale 6749
an empire ormolu-mounted mahogany and parcel-gilt console table

Price Realized £77,675
($128,397)
Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and do not reflect costs, financing fees or application of buyer’s or seller’s credits.

Estimate
  • £40,000 - £60,000
  • ($66,120 - $99,180)

Sale Information Sale 6749
Boulle to Jansen: An Important Private European Collection
11 - 12 June 2003
London, King Street

Lot Description AN EMPIRE ORMOLU-MOUNTED MAHOGANY AND PARCEL-GILT CONSOLE TABLE
Attributed to Jacob-Desmalter, possibly supplied by the marchand-mercier Martin-Eloi Lignereux
The undercut grey-veined white marble top above a frieze mounted with alternating stylised rosette paterae embellished with chevron and flowerhead motifs and stiff-leaf capitals with Egyptian motifs and animals, the sides with female Egyptian profile heads, on winged Egyptian-sphinx headed monopodiae with pilaster strips to the back, on a plain mahogany rectangular plinth, originally with a mirrored back and dustboards underneath, constructed reusing a slightly earlier carcase, the underside of the frieze and plinth with tenons to each side and the top of the carcase with some alterations at the joints, the marble with old repair, the plinth raised to the front by 3/4in. (2cm.), inscribed in chalk to the reverse '231 NE'
39½in. (100.5cm.) high; 76½in. (194.5cm.) wide; 21¾in. (55.5cm.) deep

Provenance Sir Fitzroy Maclean, Bart., C.B.E., Strachur House, Argyll, Scotland, sold in these Rooms, 30 May 1963, lot 132.

Lot Notes François-Honoré-Georges Jacob-Desmalter and Georges II Jacob, 1803-13.

The stand of a mirror-backed mahogany 'secretaire or bonheur du jour' featuring extremely closely related pilasters and sphinx consoles was supplied to the 3ème Consul Le Brun in 1800 for the Pavillon de Flore at the Palais des Tuileries. Subsequently moved to the Hôtel de Noailles in 1806, following his elevation as Prince-architrésorier de l'Empire, it is illustrated and discussed in D. Ledoux-Lebard, Le Grand Trianon, vol.1, Paris, 1975, p.172.

Whilst no maker is recorded, the hand of the marchand-mercier Martin-Eloi Lignereux may well be detectable, as he supplied a closely related console table in 1804 to Thomas, 7th Earl of Elgin, for which the bill survives (sold by the 11th Earl of Elgin and Kincardine, Sotheby's London, 12 June 1992, lot 308 (£68,200)). Confidently attributed to Adam Weisweiler and veneered in thuya, it in turn relates to a further table in the Museum of Decorative Arts, Budapest, which still bears Lignereux's trade label. A further closely related set of four consoles, again anonymous but probably supplied by Lignereux and almost certainly executed by either Jacob, Molitor or Vassou, were supplied to the Salon de l'Impératrice at the Palais de Saint-Cloud circa 1802-3 (D. Ledoux-Lebard, op. cit., pp.77-78).

If Lignereux is likely to have had a hand in the commission, Charles Percier and Pierre Fontaine, architecte de S.M. l'Empereur were no doubt influential in the design. Indeed it was the latter who were responsible for the design of the related consoles executed by Jacob-Desmalter for Joachim Murat at the Palais d'Elysée in 1806 (D. Ledoux-Lebard, op. cit., pp. 114-6), as well as the pair of consoles formerly in the Marquess of Ailesbury's collection, sold by Sir Charles Clore, Christie's Monaco, 6 December 1985, lot 52, which are stamped 'JACOB D. R. MESLEE'. This stamp was employed between 1802-14. Percier and Fontaine also designed the celebrated gueridon standing on related chimerae, which was executed by Weisweiler and the ciseleur-fondeur Feuchère for the Garde-Meuble in September 1811 (Ledoux-Lebard, op. cit., pp.86-7).

Interestingly, the distinctive stiff-leaf capitals of the pilasters appear in ormolu on the set of four mahogany consoles supplied by Bernard Molitor to Napoleon's brother Jerome, King of Westphalia for his Kassel residence (illustrated in U. Leben, B. Molitor, London, 1992, no.47, p.61).

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