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A NAPOLEON III ORMOLU AND PIETRE DURE-MOUNTED EBONY AND EBONIZED BUREAU PLAT
A NAPOLEON III ORMOLU AND PIETRE DURE-MOUNTED EBONY AND EBONIZED BUREAU PLAT

AFTER A MODEL BY CHARLES CRESSENT, THE CASE BY MATHIEU BEFORT (DIT BEFORT JEUNE), PARIS, THE PIETRE DURE FLORENTINE, CIRCA 1850

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A NAPOLEON III ORMOLU AND PIETRE DURE-MOUNTED EBONY AND EBONIZED BUREAU PLAT AFTER A MODEL BY CHARLES CRESSENT, THE CASE BY MATHIEU BEFORT (DIT BEFORT JEUNE), PARIS, THE PIETRE DURE FLORENTINE, CIRCA 1850 The canted rectangular top inlaid with floral sprays and perched birds, over a wavy frieze applied with raised floral bouquets and set with three spring-activated drawers, the central drawer flanked by bearded masks, the angles headed with espagnolettes, on cabriole legs terminating in scrolled sabots, the top of the carcase variously stamped BEFORT JEUNE 30¾ in. (78 cm.) high, 54½ in. (138.5 cm.) wide, 30¾ in. (78 cm.) deep

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Lot Essay

Mathieu Befort, dit Befort Jeune, 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'. The firm, which specialized in 'furniture in the style of Boulle and in the use of bronze and hardstone' (D. Ledoux-Lebard, Le mobilier français du XIXe siècle, Paris, 1965, p. 29), received a medal at the 1844 Exposition des produits de l'industrie français. Befort Jeune was recorded at Neuves-Saint-Gilles from 1844 until 1880.
An identical bureau by Befort Jeune is illustrated in A. Massinelli, The Gilbert Collection: Hardstones, London, 2000, p. 106. Until 2008 a wax effigy of Sir Arthur Gilbert remained seated at the Befort bureau at Somerset House as part of a recreation of his offices in Beverly Hills, California. The piece is now on view at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

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