• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7745

    Important European Furniture, Sculpture & Clocks

    9 July 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 173

    A RUSSIAN ORMOLU, BRONZED, MAHOGANY AND AMETHYST GLASS WORK-TABLE

    CIRCA 1810, IN THE MANNER OF HEINRICH GAMBS

    Price Realised  

    A RUSSIAN ORMOLU, BRONZED, MAHOGANY AND AMETHYST GLASS WORK-TABLE
    CIRCA 1810, IN THE MANNER OF HEINRICH GAMBS
    The circular glass-inset swivel top opening to reveal a removable tray, on downswept supports joined by a circular stretcher, on a concave platform, with brass castors, the glass top and pine-cone boss to the underside possibly later
    31½ in. (80 cm.) high; 15¾ in. (40 cm.) diameter


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    This elegant work-table is embellished with finely-chased frieze mounts and is supported by slender incurved legs. Exquisite both in richness and in form, this table can be attributed to the cabinet-maker Heinrich Gambs (1765-1831), who trained under David Roentgen and came to St. Petersburg in 1789. It relates to a rectangular occasional table, which Gambs supplied to Pavlovsk in 1804, when Andrei Voronikhin (1760-1814) was rebuilding the palace (H. Stuchley, Die Familie Gambs, Weltkunst 11 (1995), p. 2957.

    Gambs' earliest and most monumental piece of furniture supplied to the Imperial Court was a cylinder-bureau, which he executed in 1795. Both in shape and in design, it closely resembles Roentgen's cylinder-bureau which he sold to Catherine the Great in 1783. However, Roentgen did not remain in favour and from 1790 furniture was no longer acquired from him by the Imperial family. Gambs soon became the principal supplier, in particular to Catherine the Great's heir, Paul and his wife Maria Feodorovna. His pieces were initially clearly inspired by Roentgen's work, but soon Gambs developed his own highly precious style, known for its elegants shapes, fine brass inlays and ormolu mounts, of which the present table is an excellent example.

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