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    Sale 7608

    Important European Furniture and Sculpture

    10 July 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 72

    A SUITE OF LOUIS XVI GILTWOOD SEAT FURNITURE

    TWO FAUTEUILS CIRCA 1780-85, ATTRIBUTED TO GEORGES JACOB AND JEAN-BAPTISTE CLAUDE SENE, THE TWO MARQUISES CIRCA 1780-85 AND ADAPTED FROM FAUTEUILS IN THE 19TH CENTURY, THREE FAUTEUILS 19TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    A SUITE OF LOUIS XVI GILTWOOD SEAT FURNITURE
    TWO FAUTEUILS CIRCA 1780-85, ATTRIBUTED TO GEORGES JACOB AND JEAN-BAPTISTE CLAUDE SENE, THE TWO MARQUISES CIRCA 1780-85 AND ADAPTED FROM FAUTEUILS IN THE 19TH CENTURY, THREE FAUTEUILS 19TH CENTURY
    Comprising two marquises and five fauteuils, each with an arched rectangular back, padded seat and arms, covered à châssis in gold and crimson red silk damask, the beaded and entrelac-carved back with foliate-wrapped quiver-shaped fluted supports, above scrolled acanthus-wrapped arm supports and a conformingly-carved seat, on six spirally-turned and tapering legs headed by rosette paterae and terminating in toupie feet, the marquises with sides covered conformingly
    Each marquise: 40¼ in. (102 cm.) high; 45½ in. (115.5 cm.) wide; 24 in. (61 cm.) deep; each armchair: 40½ in. (102 cm.) high; 28¾ in. (73 cm.) wide; 23¼ in. (59 cm.) deep (7)


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    Georges Jacob, maître in 1765.
    Jean-Baptiste Claude Sené, maître in 1769.

    With its finely-carved spirally-fluted legs, beaded acanthus-swept S-scrolled consoles d'accotoirs and quiver-shaped uprights, this superb suite of seat furniture is of regal appearance.

    Among the few recorded examples of six-legged seat-furniture is a suite of virtually identical seat furniture which was sold, Piasa, Paris, 15 November 1996, lot 93 (FF1.800.000), as well as a wax model of a bergère à six pieds dated circa 1780. Attributed to Jacques Gondoin, furniture designer to the Crown, the wax model is reminiscent of the oeuvre of the celebrated menuisier Georges Jacob, and illustrated in B. G.B. Pallot, The Art of the Chair in Eighteenth-Century France, Paris, 1989, p.41.

    An ingenious creation, this wax miniature, only 5 in. (14 cm.) high, features various models of legs, arm terminals and finials (en biche, carquois, or cannelures à rubans) from which clients - most certainly exclusively Royal - were meant to choose when finalising their orders with theirs menuisiers.
    A rare survival from the past, this wax model was most probably presented to Marie-Antoinette in 1780 for that specific purpose (as discussed by F.J.B. Watson, quoting P. Verlet, in Louis XVI Furniture, London, 1960, p. 58) and the superb suite of seat furniture which almost certainly ensued from this model, might have been destined for the Salon du Rocher du Pavillon du Lac, at the Petit Trianon in Versailles.

    The suite of seat furniture sold in Paris in 1996 was most probably originally part of the same suite. It has been yet impossible to establish a link between the provenances, but it can be assumed that the suite was divided earlier on, probably in the 19th century. Even the later upholstery of both suites is of the same style, therefore probably replacing a similar silk damask original upholstery.

    THE ATTRIBUTION TO JACOB AND SENÉ

    The spirally-fluted pearl-girdled legs, quiver-shaped and water leaf-carved column supports, on the present suite are virtually identical to their corresponding features on the wax model and can be found on various pieces by the talented menuisiers.

    GEORGES JACOB

    Among the related works by Jacob are a fauteuil supplied to Marie-Antoinette for Saint-Cloud, now in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris (ill. Comte F. de Salverte, Les ébénistes du XVIIIe siècle, Paris, 1953, pl. XXXV); a fauteuil à la reine with carquois-shaped fluted supports, supplied for the boudoir of Marie-Antoinette at the château de Fontainebleau, now in the Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon (ill. in Objets d'Art Français de la Collection Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, 1969, No. 9); and a lit d'alcôve circa 1785 with quiver-carved supports, now in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London (ill. P. Verlet, Les Meubles Français du XVIIIe Siècle, Paris, 1982, pl. 52.)

    JEAN-BAPTISTE CLAUDE SENÉ

    It is interesting to note that a closely related decorative scheme can also be found on various seats by the menuisier Jean-Baptiste Claude Sené, including a fauteuil à la reine with spirally-turned legs, formerly in the collection of the Duc d'Harcourt (ill. P. Kjellberg, Le Mobilier Français du XVIIIe Siècle, Paris, 2002, p.850), and a suite of seat furniture for the Bedchamber of Marie-Antoinette at Saint-Cloud, now in the Musée du Louvre, Paris (ill. in B. G.B. Pallot, Furniture Collections in the Louvre, Paris, 1993, Vol. II, no.56, p.158).
    Sené is known to have collaborated on many occasions with Jacob and more specifically between 1785-91 on various pieces for the Royal household at Fontainebleau, the Tuileries, Versailles and Saint-Cloud, which further supports the attribution of this superb suite to the two menuisiers.


    THE PROVENANCE: COUNT CECIL PECCI-BLUNT

    Cecil Charles Blumenthal, born at the end of the 19th century, and named after his mother (Cecilia) was the son of a leather merchant from Germany who had come to America in 1875. The Blumenthals were very prosperous and had houses in New York and in Paris. Cecil Charles gew up with a strong sense of his European roots as well as connoisseurship. Following the death of Cecil's father, his mother Cecilia Blumenthal became a French duchess by marrying the 2nd duc de Montmorency, and Cecil changed his name from Blumenthal to Blunt.

    In 1919, while in his twenties, Cecil became engaged to the Italian Donna Anna Laetitia Pecci (known as "Mimi"), who was the niece of Pope Leo XIII. Alexis de Rede reported that Mimi Pecci took young Cecil on a tour of an art gallery in Italy and dazzled him by correctly identifying the names of all the pictures. "And by the time we got to the end, I knew I had trapped him," she later recalled. The couple married, the Pope made Cecil a count and Mimi and Cecil became the Count and Countess Pecci-Blunt. They had five children, a son and four daughters.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Provenance

    Purchased by Count Cecil Pecci-Blunt, in Paris, probably in the 1920s.
    Thence by descent.


    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF A ROMAN PRINCELY HOUSE (LOTS 72-73)