This striking guéridon with its large, intricately detailed verre eglomisé top and solid ormolu stem is a rare survivor of a tiny group of luxurious pieces of furniture which combines technical virtuosity, sophisticated design and precious materials. Although the large size of the eglomisé panel is very unusual, what is truly remarkable is that the detail on this inherently fragile material remains virtually intact.
Verre eglomisé, or reverse-painting on glass was revived at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The makers of verre eglomisé are essentially unknown as virtually all extant works are unsigned and were specifically commissioned by ébénistes or marchands mérciers. However, the present table’s distinctive ormolu base can be attributed to the ébéniste Alexandre Maigret (act. 1775-1826) and is based on a design published by Percier and Fontaine in Recueil des Decorations Interieures published in 1801 (plate 39). A leading cabinet-maker of the Imperial period, Maigret was appointed fournisseur to the Garde-Meuble Impérial in 1805 and supplied over one hundred pieces of furniture to the Imperial residences and collaborated with the workshops of the bronziers Feuchére and Fossey to produce ormolu; one of whom almost certainly supplied the present table's solid ormolu stem. Maigret is known to have made other tables with solid ormolu supports including one supplied to the Palais des Tuileries as well as two other attributed but unstamped tables now in the salon d'étude des petit apartments at Fontainebleau (D. Ledoux-Lebard, Le mobilier français du XIXème siècle 1795-1889, Paris, 1989, pp. 453-4).
The present table is the richest example attributed to Maigret and the only one with a verre eglomisé top which certainly makes it the equal of his Napoleonic commissions. Related tables, all with marble tops, include one with a carved mahogany stem signed Maigret sold from the The Lord Barnard, T.D., Raby Castle, Christie's house sale, 10-11 October 1994, lot 127, another attributed to Maigret sold anonymously at Christie's, New York, 2 November 2000, lot 158 and a third table attributed to Maigret currently at Newel, New York, which has a solid patinated bronze and ormolu stem.