This table’s restrained elegance and refined craftsmanship epitomizes the work of the German émigré Adam Weisweiler (1744-1820). One of the most celebrated ébénistes of the Louis XVI period, his patrons included the French, Neapolitan and Russian courts as well as the Prince of Wales, later George IV. While a great deal of Weisweiler’s production consists of small tables, the present lot is a rare example of his oeuvre as it was designed to come apart as if it was a luxurious piece of campaign furniture. Its design relates to a small group of tables Weisweiler made that share pewter inlaid ebony legs with faceted ormolu caps and a plain molded frieze that enclose a marble or porphyry slab; the main difference is they have shaped stretchers and elongated shaped feet.
This design was undoubtedly designed by the marchand-mercier Dominique Daguerre, with whom Weisweiler had an almost exclusive relationship. Intriguingly, in the sale of Daguerre’s stock at Christie’s, 25-26 March 1791, lot 75 was described as 'AN ELEGANT EBONY PIER TABLE with marble top, enriched with or-moulu ornaments'. Although this scant description makes any identification impossible, this description is echoed in lot 40, which was described as 'AN EBONY PIER TABLE, the top inlaid with fine and scarce specimens of marble colectid in Italy, and richly mounted.' This description clearly refers to one of this small group of tables from the collection of Hubert de Givenchy which was sold at Christie’s, Monaco, 4 December 1993, lot 87 (2.1M FF). A pair of related but smaller tables known as tables de café, formerly in the collection of the Counts Potocki at Lancut and then the Wrightsman Collection were sold anonymously at Christie’s, New York, 30 October 1993, lot 402 ($288,500). Another table of similar form attributed to Weisweiler was sold from the Wildenstein Collection at Christie’s, London, 14-15 December 2005, lot 70 (£355,000).