A PAIR OF FRENCH ORMOLU-MOUNTED MAHOGANY AND BOIS SATINE PEDESTALS
A PAIR OF FRENCH ORMOLU-MOUNTED MAHOGANY AND BOIS SATINE PEDESTALS
A PAIR OF FRENCH ORMOLU-MOUNTED MAHOGANY AND BOIS SATINE PEDESTALS
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A PAIR OF FRENCH ORMOLU-MOUNTED MAHOGANY AND BOIS SATINE PEDESTALS
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A PAIR OF FRENCH ORMOLU-MOUNTED MAHOGANY AND BOIS SATINE PEDESTALS

BY PAUL SORMANI, PARIS, CIRCA 1880

Details
A PAIR OF FRENCH ORMOLU-MOUNTED MAHOGANY AND BOIS SATINE PEDESTALS
BY PAUL SORMANI, PARIS, CIRCA 1880
Each with brèche d'alep marble top above a body hung with lions pelt mounts to the front and oak garlands to the sides, on paw feet, the top of one twice stamped 'P. SORMANI / PARIS', the top of the other twice stamped 'SORMANI PARIS' and signed 'SORMANI PARIS' to the ormolu moulding to the top
55 ½ in. (141 cm.) high; 19 ½ in. (49.5 cm.) wide; 15 in. (38 cm.) deep
Special notice

These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.
This lot will be removed to Christie’s Park Royal. Christie’s will inform you if the lot has been sent offsite. Our removal and storage of the lot is subject to the terms and conditions of storage which can be found at Christies.com/storage and our fees for storage are set out in the table below - these will apply whether the lot remains with Christie’s or is removed elsewhere. Please call Christie’s Client Service 24 hours in advance to book a collection time at Christie’s Park Royal. All collections from Christie’s Park Royal will be by pre-booked appointment only. Tel: +44 (0)20 7839 9060 Email: cscollectionsuk@christies.com. If the lot remains at Christie’s it will be available for collection on any working day 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. Lots are not available for collection at weekends.

Brought to you by

Giles Forster
Giles Forster

Lot Essay

These pedestals by Paul Sormani, one of the leading Parisian furniture makers of the 19th century, are fine examples of his firm’s high level of craftsmanship. The lion pelt decoration – a theme often employed in the French decorative arts – references the power, nobility and royalty generally associated with the hunt of a lion, as well as the story of Hercules, the celebrated mythological hero. As punishment for killing his own children, Hercules was made to perform a series of twelve labours in service of the king of Tiryns, Eurystheus, the first of which was to kill the Nemean lion, an animal which menaced the citizens of Nemea. Because of his successful completion of the task, the lion’s pelt became associated with Hercules, and was frequently depicted with him in artistic representations through the centuries.

On account of their symbolic power and mythological connection, lions’ pelts were frequently represented in the decorative arts, notably during the Ancien Régime, in the form of finely chased ormolu mounts. Perhaps the most famous examples are those on the angles of the celebrated Bureau du Roi, created by Jean-François Oeben and Jean-Henri Riesener, delivered in 1769 to Louis XV’s Cabinet intérieur at the Château de Verasilles, and today still in the room to which it was supplied (OA 5444). The mounts on the renowned royal bureau inspired many ébénistes and bronziers of the Ancien Régime, as well as their 19th century confrères, who created faithful replicas of works from the previous century and innovative interpretations in their spirit. Sormani’s pedestals are of this second category. With their mounts, they reference both the celebrated ormolu decoration of masterpieces of the Ancien Régime, and the symbolic, mythological and artistic precedent long associated with lion’s pelts.

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