The C Couronné poinçon was a tax mark employed between March 1745 and February 1749 on any alloy containing copper.
LACQUER BUREAUX DE PENTE
The sophisticated design of this lacquer bureau was used by Jacques Dubois for a small group of lacquer bureaux de pente and examples in Chinese and Japanese lacquer as well as bureaux decorated in Vernis Martin or marquetry are known. However, bureaux de pente of this unusually large scale are rare and must have been commissioned by a patron of considerable standing. The few known pieces of similarly grand proportions include:
- one from the collection of Marcel Bissey, sold at Binoche et Godeau, Paris, 6 November 1991, lot 27 (FF 5,000,000);
- one from the collection of Lady Ludlow, Bath House, sold at Christie's London, 25-26 November 1946, lot 160;
- one from the collection of Octave Homberg, sold at Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 15 March 1933, lot 301;
- and one supplied to the marquis de la Vallière, sold at Christie's London, 3 December 1981, lot 109 and subsequently at Christie's New York, 21 May 1996, lot 346 ($706,500).
The 'Vallière' bureau, though decorated with Japanese rather than Chinese lacquer and with a scarlet interior and further decorated with border mounts, is otherwise of identical measurements and similarly bears not only Dubois' stamp but also the C Couronné on the mounts. They furthermore share the amaranth lining to the beautifully worked interior drawers.
Born in Pontoise in 1694, Jacques Dubois was the half-brother of the great marchand-ébéniste Noel Gérard. Dubois worked as an ouvrier privilégié in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine before achieving his maîtrise in 1742 - fairly late in his life, which reinforces the thesis that he worked in the atelier of both his half-brother and, subsequently, his widow. Dubois was elected a juré of the guild in 1752. The inventory taken after his death revealed an extensive workshop, with twelve workbenches and over one hundred pieces of furniture. Whilst most pieces listed were veneered in exotic timbers, the inventories also mention a small number of costly pieces in Chinese or Japanese lacquer, including ''un bureau en lac de Chine 220 L' and 'un petit secrétaire en lac de japon 200 L'. It is probable that such pieces were supplied by Dubois to marchands-merciers, although his only links to such dealers that are known are with Bertin and the marchand-ebéniste Migeon, whose stamp appears next to Dubois's on a number of pieces of furniture.