Georges Jacob (1739-1814), maître in 1765.
Jacob established his workshop initially in the rue du Cléry, and from around 1755 in the rue Mesle, becoming the most widely-known and prolific menuisier of the period. Beginning in 1773, he supplied the Garde-Meuble de la Couronné, for both the King and Marie-Antoinette, and other principal members of the Royal family. In particular he supplied work for Fontainebleau, Versailles and Saint-Cloud. After the Revolution his style developed towards the neo-classical and Empire, joining his sons in business as Jacob Frères.
The jewel-like carved cornucopia arm supports on this refined duchesse brisée are a distinctive motif that appears on other examples of Jacob's documented work. It includes the celebrated suite of furniture supplied in 1777 to the Comte d'Artois for his Boudoir a la Turq at the Palais du Temple, part of which is now in the collection of the Louvre. This suite is described in the inventory now in the National Archives as as 'Détaille d'un fauteuil turcq, avoir fait... un Corneille d'abondance remply de fleurs, de fruites...' (B. Pallot, Furniture Collections in the Louvre vol II, Dijon, 1993, p.134). This suite was one of Jacob's first commissions to the Royal family and not only did this Boudoir a la Turq started the fashion for the goût turq, it brought Jacob out of the ranks of the unknown Parisian menuisiers and certainly contributed to his career as one of the leading makers of his time. A further suite by Jacob with virtually identical arm supports was recorded around 1934 in the Apartments of Pope Pius the VII at Fontainebleau and includes a detailed engraving (A. Theunissen, Meubles et Sièges du XVIIIe Siècle, Paris, 1934, p. 90 and pl. XXXV). Related cornucopiae also appear on the cresting of a bed supplied to Duke Karl August for Schloß Karlsberg in 1782 and now in the Residenz in Munich (B. Langer and H. Ottomeyer ed., Die französicschen Möbel des 18. Jahrhunderts, Munich, 1995, no.47, pp.194-197).
There are possibly three other currently known duchesse brisées by Jacob that are virtually identical to this example, differing in a rounded back and cornucopia, rather than flowerhead terminals to the ends of the rest. They are also of small scale and comprise one formerly from the collection of Viscountess Ednam, sold at Sotheby's, New York, 16 May 1987, lot 135; it is very likely the duchesse brisée with Partridge, London and illustrated in their 1990, Summer Exhibition catalogue (no. 47, pp.110-11). The other example was most recently sold in the collection of Franklin Groves, at Christie's, New York, 15 October 1988, lot 115. It was from the collection of M. Pernard and Y. Fernandez and was also illustrated in F..J.B. Watson, Louis XVI Furniture, London, 1960, p.145 and fig.93.
THELMA CHRYSLER FOY (1902-1957)
Thelma Chrysler Foy, elder daughter of Walter Chrysler, was a celebrated society hostess, dubbed by the New York Times as 'the woman of the greatest taste...in New York'. Her spectacular residences included an apartment at 740 Park Avenue, a town house on 91st Street originally built by the Vanderbilts, and a country estate in Locust Valley. All were furnished with a dazzling array of French Impressionists and 18th century French furniture, much of which was supplied by Robert Samuels of French and Company. Parke Bernet offered her extensive collection from both her Park Avenue and Locust Valley residences in a landmark series of auctions from the 13-23 May 1959. The duchesse brisée was in the White Bedroom as reproduced here, with its white silk brocade upholstery.