A NAPOLEON III ORMOLU-MOUNTED CUT BRASS-INLAID TORTOISESHELL 'BOULLE' AND EBONY SIDE-CABINET
A NAPOLEON III ORMOLU-MOUNTED CUT BRASS-INLAID TORTOISESHELL 'BOULLE' AND EBONY SIDE-CABINET
A NAPOLEON III ORMOLU-MOUNTED CUT BRASS-INLAID TORTOISESHELL 'BOULLE' AND EBONY SIDE-CABINET
A NAPOLEON III ORMOLU-MOUNTED CUT BRASS-INLAID TORTOISESHELL 'BOULLE' AND EBONY SIDE-CABINET
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Prospective purchasers are advised that several co… Read more
A NAPOLEON III ORMOLU-MOUNTED CUT BRASS-INLAID TORTOISESHELL 'BOULLE' AND EBONY SIDE-CABINET

OF LOUIS XIV STYLE, BY MATHIEU BEFORT, DIT BEFORT JEUNE, PARIS, MID-19TH CENTURY

Details
A NAPOLEON III ORMOLU-MOUNTED CUT BRASS-INLAID TORTOISESHELL 'BOULLE' AND EBONY SIDE-CABINET
OF LOUIS XIV STYLE, BY MATHIEU BEFORT, DIT BEFORT JEUNE, PARIS, MID-19TH CENTURY

The eared breakfront Saint-Anne Grand Dessin marble top above a stiff-leaf cast frieze and central door with figures of Aspasia and Socraties beneath a canopy, amidst cut-brass arabesque scrolls, the flanking false doors set with classical figures emblematic of the seasons, the interior fitted with a shelf, the angles headed by bearded herms above Greek key inlay, the breakfront base fronted by a cornucopia flanked Apollo masks, the interior stamped 'BEFORT JEUNE'
44 in. (112 cm.) high; 75 in. (190.5 cm.) wide; 19 ¼ in. (49 cm.) deep
Special notice

Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.

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Giles Forster
Giles Forster

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Lot Essay

The central figurative mounts of Socrates and Aspasia representing 'Wisdom and Religion’ (in the late 18th century erroneously referred to as 'Geometry and Geography’) derive from Andre-Charles Boulle (d. 1732), ébéniste, ciseleur, doreur et sculpteur du Roi from 1672 to 1732, who in turn was probably inspired by the painting of 'Aspasia, Queen of Egypt, among the Philosophers of Greece’ by Michel Corneille the Younger (d. 1708) on the ceiling cove of the Salon des Nobles de la Reine at Versailles. Similar figures are in a drawing by Boulle for an armoire in the collection of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, on two armoires formerly at Hamilton Palace, now in the Musée du Louvre, and on eight Louis XIV medal cabinets earlier in the Grande Galerie in the Palais de Saint-Cloud (P. Hughes, The Wallace Collection Catalogue of Furniture II, London, 1996, pp. 695-696). Almost identical mounts separated by a sphinx below a curtained baldaquin feature on a pair of contre-partie encoignures attributed to Martin Carlin, maître in 1766, now in the Wallace Collection (F414-5).
The female figurative mount flanking the central panel is possible Ceres. An almost identical mount appears on an 18th century cabinet attributed to P-C Montigny (maître in 1766), formerly in the Arnold Seligmann Collection, and illustrated in F. Watson, Louis XVI Furniture, London, 1960, p. 153, no. 236).
Mathieu Befort, dit Befort Jeune (d. 1880), was the son of Jean-Baptiste Befort (d. 1840), who established his Paris workshops in 1817 in the faubourg Saint-Honoré. He was a brother of Bernard Befort, ébéniste-marqueteur and antiquaire and like him specialised in meubles de Boulle. The firm received a medal at the 1844 Exposition des Produits de l'Industrie française. Befort Jeune was recorded at Neuves-Saint-Gilles from 1844 until 1880.
A meuble d’appui with identical mounts of Socrates and Aspasia by Befort Jeune, sold Christie's London, 28 September 2006, lot 53 for (£84,000).
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