A large Napoleon III ormolu-mounted kingwood bureau plat
A large Napoleon III ormolu-mounted kingwood bureau plat


A large Napoleon III ormolu-mounted kingwood bureau plat
In the Louis XV Style, Circa 1870
The serpentine-shaped top inset with a gilt-tooled green leather writing surface with crossbanded edge, the ormolu border cast with rocaille ornament, above a central recessed frieze drawer, flanked to each side by a foliate scroll mount and a deeper bomb-shaped drawer with Commedia dell'Arte handle mounts, the shaped sides with acanthus-cast scroll mount, on deeply scrolled square shaped legs, each headed by a scrolled escutcheon-shaped keeled angle, on foliate-cast scrolled sabot
31.1/8 in. (79 cm.) high; 90 in. (229 cm.) wide; 44 in (113 cm.) deep
By repute: The bureau plat was brought to South Africa in the 1920s by Sir Abe Bailey (b. 1864), a leading South African political figure in the early 20th century. His son by his first marriage was briefly married to Winston Churchill's daughter.

The Late Dowager Lady Bailey, DBE., The Mains, Kenilworth, Cape Town, Sold by Victor Jones, Auctioneers, Cape Town, at The Mains, 28 February 1961, lot 57 (Illustrated), where bought by the present owner.

Lot Essay

A number of examples of this model are known, some of which are signed by celebrated bnistes of the 19th century such as J. Beurdeley, Joseph Cremer or Befort. One may now be found in the Collection of His Grace the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry, at Bowhill; a pair is in the Collection of the Earl of Normanton, at Somerley, purchased at Toms & Luscombe, New Bond Street, London in 1871, and stated at that time to be copied from a table in the possession of Baron Lionel de Rothschild. Another example, purchased by the 7th Viscount Powerscourt from Wright & Mansfield, Bond Street, London, was sold at Christie's House sale, Powerscourt, County Wicklow, Ireland, 24 & 25 September 1984, lot 489. Another was sold by Sotheby's House sale, at the Villa Demidoff, Near Florence, 21-24 April 1969, lot 235. A Boulle marquetry version was sold at Christie's, New York, 26 October 1993, lot 383. Two other examples are illustrated in Christopher Payne's, 19th Century European Furniture, Woodbridge, 1989, p.108.
The carcass of this bureau plat has quarter-cut timbers, which indicates the high quality method of construction that gives stability to the framework and its veneer facing.

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