THE BOULLE MODEL
This splendid bureau plat was executed after the celebrated model by André-Charles Boulle (d.1732), appointed Ebéniste, Ciseleur, Doreur et Sculpteur du Roi in 1672. Boulle's unique technique, popularised with his work for the French Court during the reign of Louis XIV, exploited the practice of contrasting ebony against gilt- bronze and brass, silver-toned pewter and often tortoiseshell in marquetry. The taste among great collectors for the style of 'all the Louis' continued throughout the 19th century, and Boulle-style furniture held its popularity and prestige. Important makers, such as Sormani, Zwiener and Linke in France, Blake in England, turned their attention to copying or adapting the great pieces of the past, often speculatively but also frequently commissioned by the likes of the Rothschilds, the Marquess of Hertford or Henry Clay Frick. Many of these 19th century pieces took their places comfortably side by side with their predecessors from the 17th and 18th centuries in great houses such as Mentmore.
A closely-related bureau plat by Sormani was sold, Christie's, London, 23 February 2006, lot 102 (£14,400 including premium), and a further example was sold, Christie's, London, 26 October 2000, lot 14 (£19,975 including premium).