François Linke (d. 1946) was one of the most celebrated ébénistes of his time. Born in Pankraz, Bohemia, Linke moved to Paris in 1875 and six years later established independent ateliers at 170, rue de Faubourg St. Antoine. As was the practice among contemporaries and noteworthy predecessors, such as Alfred Beurdeley and Henry Dasson, Linke initially produced furniture derived from styles popular during the 18th century ancien régime. By 1900, his worldwide reputation as an individualistic master of high quality furniture was already established. However, with a huge display, placing his extravagant pieces in room settings and winning the Médaille d'Or for his Grand Bureau, Linke's participation in the Paris 1900 exhibition was to be the pinnacle of his career, and prompted critics, such as Charles Dambreuse, to comment: L'Exposition de la maison Linke est le gros événement de l'histoire du meuble d'art en l'an de grâce 1900 (see C. Dambreuse, L'Art Industriel à l'Exposition de Meuble de Style - M. F. Linke, in Revue Artistique & Industrielle, Paris, July-August, 1900). Linke's international acclaim following the 1900 exhibition afforded him a high degree of financial stability, not only allowing him to establish a large showroom on the fashionable place Vendôme, but also to pursue new and further distant markets by exhibiting at other international shows. These included the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904, where he was again awarded a gold medal, Liège in 1905 and the Franco-British exhibition in London in 1908.
The scrolling foliate-cast ormolu frame to the bombé glazed door and sides of this pair of vitrines is comparable to that applied to a vitrine first produced by Linke in 1897, index number 487. A single example of the latter, which is similar in proportion to the pair offered here, was sold Christie's, New York, 26 October 2004, lot 321 ($237,100). Similar rocaille trelliswork was also applied to index number 905, listed by Linke as 'Vitrine Louis XV bronze sur glace', which was first exhibited at the Paris 1900 Exposition Universelle, and an example of which sold in these rooms, 29 March 2007, lot 100 (£96,000). Another pair of vitrines of the same model as the present lot sold in these rooms, 27 September 2007, lot 212 (£180,500).