A LATE LOUIS XV ORMOLU-MOUNTED AMARANTH, TULIPWOOD, SYCAMORE MARQUETRY TABLE A ECRIRE
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A LATE LOUIS XV ORMOLU-MOUNTED AMARANTH, TULIPWOOD, SYCAMORE MARQUETRY TABLE A ECRIRE

BY LEONARD BOUDIN, THE PARQUETRY ATTRIBUTED TO CHARLES TOPINO, CIRCA 1775

Details
A LATE LOUIS XV ORMOLU-MOUNTED AMARANTH, TULIPWOOD, SYCAMORE MARQUETRY TABLE A ECRIRE
BY LEONARD BOUDIN, THE PARQUETRY ATTRIBUTED TO CHARLES TOPINO, CIRCA 1775
The oval top inlaid with flower-filled vases, urns, cups and saucers, the frieze, decorated with further various inlaid flasks, containers and urns, with gilt-tooled brown leather-lined writing-slide and a side drawer, above a comformingly-decorated concave-fronted oval undertier, the hipped cabriole legs with acanthus-cast sabots, numbered in ink M.N:3635 to the underside, stamped twice BOUDIN and JME
27½ in. (70 cm.) high; 22 in. (56 cm.) wide; 15¼ in. (39 cm.) deep
Special notice

VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 20% on the buyer's premium.

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Lot Essay

The present lot is closely related to the table à écrire commissioned by Marie-Antoinette for Versailles (Pierre Arrizoli-Clementel, The Furniture of Versailles, T.2, Dijon 2002. P.148) and which was almost certainly supplied by Topino between 1774-1776 and paid for from the Queen's cassette privée, it is first recorded by the ébéniste Paquet in 1784 and listed as 'une table de placage chinois' in the appartements de la Reine. This commission by the Queen is most certainly explained by her engoûment for the table à écrire supplied in 1774 to the Comte d'Artois, future Charles X, at the Château de Compiègne, also by Topino (A. Pradère, les Ébénistes Français de Louis XIV à la Révolution, Paris, 1989, p.320).

These tables à écrire are decorated with delicate marquetry of vases, urns and amphorae, tea caddies, and flower bouquets, reminiscent of Chinese coromandel lacquer and porcelain from the Kangxi period (1662-1722). This type of marquetry, omnipresent in Topino's oeuvre, was not exclusive to the ébéniste. Around 1770 this model was very fashionable and Topino repeated the design several times, embellished with an elegant and light gilt-bronze mounts.


Born around 1735, Topino worked for a long time as an independent craftsman before being made master in 1773. He settled in the rue du Faubourg-Saint-Antoine, specializing in pieces of light furniture, small tables, bonheurs-du-jours and chiffonieres. In 1782 Topino was elected deputy of his guild, nevertheless, his finances were in the greatest disorder, so that in December 1789 he was declared bankrupt.

Topino supplied marquetry to marchands-merciers and fellow ébénistes such as Pioniez (maître in 1765) and Nicolas Petit. Marchands-ébénistes such as Léonard Boudin who probably retailed this table, also commissioned marquetry from Topino. The two collaborated very closely and Boudin's livre de commandes refers to a significant number of tables à marqueterie de vases, supplied by Topino between 1772 and 1774. As a specialist marqueteur, Topino's oeuvre was often obscured by the work of his fellow ébénistes.

Closely related tables à écrire attributed to Topino and retailed by Boudin, were sold at Christie's, London, 11 June 1998, lot 35 (53,200), 9 December 2004, lot 29 and 5 July 2007, lot 217 (120,000). For a close identical undertier marquetry, see Alexandre Pradere, French Furniture Makers, p. 320, ill. 364. A further related table attributed to Topino is illustrated in G. Wannenes, Le Mobilier Franais du XVIIIeme siècle, Milan, 1998, p.194, and another, featuring a galleried gradin, is now in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.

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