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A LOUIS XVI GILTWOOD FIRESCREEN
A LOUIS XVI GILTWOOD FIRESCREEN

ATTRIBUTED TO TOUSSAINT FOLIOT IN COLABORATION WITH JEAN-BAPTISTE BOULARD, CIRCA 1785

Details
A LOUIS XVI GILTWOOD FIRESCREEN
ATTRIBUTED TO TOUSSAINT FOLIOT IN COLABORATION WITH JEAN-BAPTISTE BOULARD, CIRCA 1785
The arched panelled frame with moulded inner edge and carved with beading and acanthus, the moulded outer edges carved with berried laurel, with a berried bronze handle, on reeded scroll feet carved with acanthus, with a tapestry panel depicting a flower-filled vase to one side and faded crimson cut-velvet to the other, the panel designed to rise
43 in. (109 cm.) high; 26¾ in. (68 cm.) wide; 15¾ in. (40 cm.) deep
Provenance
Possibly Queen Marie-Antoinette, (1755-1793), Château des Tuileries, Paris.
F. Jones, Tavistock Street, Bedford, where acquired 6 April 1938, as a 'Louis XVI cheval screen with Aubusson tapestry panel' (£17.10s).
Literature
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE:
P.Verlet, Le Mobilier Royal Français, Vol.II, Paris, 1992, pp. 126-130, pl. XXV, XXVI, XXVII.

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Lot Essay

This firescreen may well be from a royal commission and can be firmly attributed to the ateliers of the menuisiers Jean-Baptiste Boulard (maître 1755) and FranciseToussaint Foliot (maître 1773) with whose known oeuvre this firescreen can be closely linked. From 1777 Boulard, often in collaboration with Francise Toussaint Folliot, worked almost exclusively for the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, supplying furniture to the French Crown at Versailles, the Tuileries, Fontainebleau and Saint-Cloud. This renowned pairing are recorded as supplying three firescreens for Queen Marie-Antoinette's cabinet intérieur at the Château des Tuileries in 1784, the whereabouts of only one of these screens has been discovered, and this screen is near identical to it in both overall design and in detail.
During much of the 18th century the Château des Tuileries was little used by the French court with The Palace of Versailles being the principal seat of the King and serving as his political power base, however Marie Antoinette decided to renovate apartments at the Tuileries for her own use when visiting Paris, on account of is greater proximity to the capital. Her apartments there were decorated in the lavish court style of the day and as part of their furnishing, in June 1784, the afore mentioned screens were delivered, along with other furniture; one screen from the atelier of Boulard and remaining two from the atelier of Foliot (Loc. Cit., p. 127). The known screen is the Boulard example, which was supplied as part of the magnificent mobilier de salon (comprising a sofa, a pair of bergeres, a suite of six fauteuils, a single chair) which was sold, Christie's Paris 16 December 2002, lot 240 (1,328,250 euros incl.); the whereabouts of the two Foliot screens is not known and Verlet speculates that they were likely sold as part of the dispersals following the revolution (P. Verlet Op. Cit., pp. 127 &129). This screen is at the very least likely to have been part of a Royal commission and it is entirely possible that it is one of the lost Tuileries screens. It seems most likely that the senior menuisier, Boulard would probably have been responsible for the design of the first screen and that the two supplied by Foliot were then executed to that same design, there are subtle differences to the detail of the carving between this screen and the Boulard screen (most notably the ovals to the standards just below the panel, which are fluted to the Boulard screen) this is understandable if coming from different ateliers. This screen is closely related to other royal furniture by Boulard, in particular the treatment of the berried laurel-carved border is repeated on the chairs supplied in 1785 for Louis XVI's games room at the Palace of Versailles, which remain in the collection there (D. Mayer, Versailles, Furniture of the Royal Palace, Dijon, 2002, vol. 1, no. 40, pp. 154-157).

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