• Cabinet d'un Amateur Européen auction at Christies

    Sale 7822

    Cabinet d'un Amateur Européen

    9 December 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 365

    A PAIR OF LOUIS XVI ORMOLU-MOUNTED AMARANTH, TULIPWOOD AND PARQUETRY ENCOIGNURES

    BY RENE DUBOIS, CIRCA 1770

    Estimate

    A PAIR OF LOUIS XVI ORMOLU-MOUNTED AMARANTH, TULIPWOOD AND PARQUETRY ENCOIGNURES
    BY RENE DUBOIS, CIRCA 1770
    Each inlaid overall with a rosette-filled trellis pattern, the moulded serpentine-fronted brèche d'Alep marble top above a panelled door enclosing a plain interior with a shelf, the shaped angles with foliate swagged piastres, the shaped apron centred by an acanthus spray, on block feet mounted with berried foliage, each stamped 'I DUBOIS' and 'JME', remains of old paper labels, the framing mounts to doors possibly replaced, repairs to back edge of tops
    31½ in. (80 cm.) and 32 in. (81 cm.) high. respectively; 27¼ in. (69 cm.) wide; 20 in. (51 cm.) deep (2)


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    A PRESTIGIOUS PROVENANCE

    The Espirito Santo family has been synonymous with banking in Portugal since José Maria Espirito Santo Silva founded a financial establishment and the family bank bearing his name in 1884. Succeeded by his two brothers, Ricardo and Manuel, the Espirito Santo empire grew to be prominent in both banking and insurance, as well as plantations, carrying important coffee, sugar and palm-oil interests in the Portuguese colonies. Celebrated for their hospitality in Lisbon, Cascaìs or at their hunting lodge in the Alentejo, the Espirito Santo family counted the likes of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, as well as the Spanish, Italian and French Royal families amongst their friends.

    A CELEBRATED éBéNISTE

    René Dubois (1737-1799, maître in 1755) was the son of Jacques Dubois (1693-1763, maître in 1742), arguably one of the most accomplished ébénistes of the Louis XV era. Following his father's death in 1763, René took charge of the atelier under the direction of his mother and continued to use his father's stamp. In 1772, René's mother granted him full direction of the workshop, selling the stock to him for 25,002 livres, such a significant sum indicating the continued importance of the workshop. René is recorded in the 1779 Almanach général des marchands as the ébébniste de la Reine, also counting the Prince de Soubise amongst his most important patrons.

    With their pronounced architectural lines, distinctive floret-inset trellis parquetry and angles à pans coupés, these encoignures are characteristic of the oeuvre of the ébéniste. A related secrétaire by René Dubois, formerly in the Collection Cassel, is illustrated in P. Kjellberg, Le Mobilier Français du XVIIIè Siècle, Paris, 1998, p. 278. Also highly reminiscent of Dubois's illusionistic and quatrefoil flower-inset trellis parquetry, are pieces by François Gaspard Teuné and Pierre-Harry Mewesen (both maîtres in 1766) as well as Jacques van Oostenrik, dit Dautriche (maître in 1765). Among the related examples sold at auction, a pair of encoignures by Dautriche was sold at Christie's, Paris, 24 June 2003, lot 417, while another, also by the ébéniste was sold Ader-Palais Galliera, Paris, 2 December 1968, lot 82. An armoire and a meuble d'appui both executed by Teuné, featuring a virtually identical floret-inset lozenge parquetry, were sold anonymously at Christie's, London, 5 July 2007, lot 85 (from the property of Henri Thiebaud-Frey Stiftung) and 24 April 2008, lot 165, respectively.

    Special Notice

    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium


    Provenance

    The Espirito Santo Collection, Christie's, London, 12 December 1996, lot 18.