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    Sale 7745

    Important European Furniture, Sculpture & Clocks

    9 July 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 147

    A PAIR OF LOUIS XVI GILTWOOD MARQUISES

    ATTRIBUTED TO JEAN-BAPTISTE BOULARD, CIRCA 1785

    Price Realised  

    A PAIR OF LOUIS XVI GILTWOOD MARQUISES
    ATTRIBUTED TO JEAN-BAPTISTE BOULARD, CIRCA 1785
    Each with a foliate-carved beaded rectangular back, conforming padded arms and guilloche-carved seat covered in bleu marine velvet, the arms with leaf-wrapped terminals above acanthus beaded supports, on foliate-wrapped fluted and tapering legs headed by rosette paterae and terminating in toupie feet, each branded with Versailles inventory brand of interlaced Vs beneath a crown
    32¾ in. (83 cm.) high; 41¾ in. (106 cm.) wide; 23¾ in. (60.5 cm.) deep (2)


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    With their foliate, beaded and guilloche-carved frame, their well-adjusted proportions and the quality of their execution, the present pair of marquises can be attributed to the celebrated menuisier Jean-Baptiste Boulard (maître in 1755). Boulard worked almost exclusively for the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne from 1777, supplying a plethora of sièges to the Crown at Versailles, the Tuileries, Fontainebleau and Saint-Cloud. In 1785, he delivered a suite of thirty-six chairs carved by Jean Hauré for the Salon des Jeux at Versailles and in 1786, collaborated with fellow menuisier Jean-Baptiste Sené (maître in 1769), with whom he shared many Royal commissions, to deliver a suite of twelve dining-chairs for the salle à manger of Louis XVI at Versailles (P. Verlet, Le Mobilier Royal Français, vol.I, pp. 81-83, n.31, pl XLV).

    Marquises or 'causeuses' - as they were then described - were designed to accommodate private conversations between two ladies sitting side by side, and would have typically been supplied for use in unofficial drawing rooms at Versailles away from Court conventions, or in any of the private residences of the Royal family. Related examples supplied by Boulard to members of the Royal family include a set of eight grand fauteuils en causeuse carved by Jean-Baptiste Rode for the Salon de Jeu of the Comte d'Artois (brother of Louis XVI and future Charles X) at Bagatelle, as well as a causeuse branded with the interlaced marques au feu 'AT', 'GM' and the 'B couronné for the garde-meuble privé du prince at Bagatelle, now in the Mobilier National (ill. in L. Condamy, Jean-Baptiste Boulard, Menuisier du Roi, Dijon, 2008, pp.144-5 and p.171).
    By virtue of their intended purpose, marquises or causeuses were more typically associated with private use outside of the appartements royaux, and it is therefore most likely that the present pair would have been supplied by Boulard for one of the private logements at Versailles.

    The crowned interlaced V's marque au feu featured on the present pair is only rarely found on meubles de menuiserie as the Versailles inventory mark is more often branded on meubles d'ébénisterie. However several related examples of seat furniture marked with the Palace brand are recorded and include a pair of chairs executed by Sené in 1786 as part of a series for the salle à manger of Louis XVI à Versailles, similarly-branded and featuring the 'numéro d'ordre '271' (sold Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, 9 January 1960 and ill. in P. Verlet, Mobilier Royal Français, vol. III, Paris, 1994, pp.224-5) and a chair executed by Boulard as part of the same series, also featuring the crowned interlaced V's and sold, Piasa, 26 April 2000, lot 214. A further related chair attributed to Boulard and featuring the Versailles brand was sold at Christie's, Paris, 22 June 2004, lot 338 (EUR16,450 with premium).

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    Provenance

    Château de Versailles.