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A PAIR OF FRENCH ORMOLU AND PORCELAIN-MOUNTED MAHOGANY AND TRELLIS-PARQUETRY CABINETS
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A PAIR OF FRENCH ORMOLU AND PORCELAIN-MOUNTED MAHOGANY AND TRELLIS-PARQUETRY CABINETS

FIRST HALF 19TH CENTURY

Details
A PAIR OF FRENCH ORMOLU AND PORCELAIN-MOUNTED MAHOGANY AND TRELLIS-PARQUETRY CABINETS
First half 19th Century
Mounted with Sèvres-style oeil-de-perdrix plaques decorated with a ribbon-tied basket of flowers to the principal plaque, ribbon-tied floral posies to the lower plaques, and with foliate spray spandrels, comprising a secrétaire à abattant and a cartonnier, each with pierced three-quarter galleried eared rectangular grey marble top, the secrétaire with hinged fall-flap mounted with a central circular plaque framed by trellis parquetry with spandrels, the fitted interior with green-leather-lined writing-surface and drawers, one fitted, above a pair of doors enclosing a coffre-fort, the other with a door enclosing three shelves and three drawers, the fluted canted angles headed by chandelles and with stylised urn waist-mounts, the sides similarly inlaid with arched trellis-parquetry panels, on turned tapering toupie feet with pearled collars and brass sabots, both with the French and Company inventory no. 50523 twice and inscribed in yellow chalk 'B-702X', one with pegged construction to the reverse and probably re-using an 18th Century secrétaire, the porcelain unexamined off the secrétaire but probably Sèvres with early 19th Century over-decoration, each inscribed under the marble Blanc Sal (ancien) no 2 and Blanc Sal. no. 1, both with the remains of early 19th century handwritten paper labels to the reverse 'Pour Madamoiselle Rosalie... Pour Boudoir au.. de Chambre' ', with three keys
42in. (107cm.) high; 24¾in. (63cm.) wide; 12½in. (32cm.) deep (2)
Provenance
Madamoiselle Rosalie.
Acquired by Sir Dudley Coutts Majoribanks, later 1st Lord Tweedmouth (d. 1894), for Brook House, Park Lane, London
With French and Company, New York.
Thelma Chrysler Foy, sold Parke Bernet Galleries, New York, 16 May 1959, lot 346 ($7,000).
Literature
J. Cornforth, London Interiors, London, 2000, p.130 (illustrated in situ in the 2nd Lady Tweedmouth's boudoir, circa 1910).
Special Notice

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis

Lot Essay

This pair of cabinets provides an interesting insight into the revival of interest in porcelain-mounted furniture in the second quarter of the 19th Century. Such pieces, mounted with Sèvres porcelain plaques by ébénistes working for the principal marchand-merciers in Paris, were extremely fashionable from the early 1760's through the 1780's and in the 19th century found particular favour with the Rothschild's. A related pair, formerly owned by Jean Charlotte de Rothschild, Baronne Leonino (1874-1929) and subsequently in the René Fribourg Collection, was sold anonymously at Christie's New York, 27 May 1999, lot 340.

Genuine 18th Century plaques were available throughout the 19th Century, sixty-five being available in the Hume sale of 1870 and thirty-four as late as 1895 in the Beurdeley sale. Moreover, several dealers were engaged in both the alteration of existing pieces of Louis XV and Louis XVI furniture, as well as the construction of new pieces to receive 18th Century plaques. Foremost amongst these was the English marchand-mercier Edward Holmes Baldock (active 1830's -1840's), as well as Nicolas Morel and Charles Tatham in England and A. L. Bellangé (circa 1825), Vaché (active in the 1820's) and Jules Piret (in the 1850's) in France.

The secretiare 'commode', like its fall, is embellished in the 1770s Roman fashion with pearl-wreathed tablets and medallions; while its antique-fluted pillars are flowered with palms issuing from sacred veil-draped urns. A related secretaire was exhibited in 1869 at the South Kensington Museum (D. de Ricci, Louis XVI Furniture, Stuttgart, c.1938, p.143)

LORD TWEEDMOUTH'S COLLECTION AT BROOK HOUSE

This 'Louis Seize' secretaire-cabinet and its accompanying cartonnier-cabinet formed part of the 'works of art' furnishings assembled at Brook House, the magnificent Mayfair mansion built in Park Lane in the late 1860s by Sir Dudley Coutts Marjoribanks, later Baron Tweedmouth (d.1894). The barrister son of a partner in Coutts Bank, he served as a Director of the East India Company and as a partner in Meux's brewery. His close involvement with the aggrandisement of the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria & Albert Museum) would no doubt have made him aware of the National collection of French furniture, including Sèvres-enriched furniture, then being assembled on behalf of the Museum at the Piccadilly house of the connoisseur John Jones (d.1882). The cabinets, with beautiful bouquets and flower-baskets in Sèvres porcelain, and galleried tops for porcelain display, furnished the fireplace wall of his wife's Boudoir.

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