Bearing stamps and, more rarely, the paper label of the cabinetmaker Charles-Honoré Lannuier (1779-1819), this pier table represents one of the earliest pieces produced by the émigré shortly after his arrival to New York in 1803. Having trained in Paris as an apprentice under his brother, the ébéniste Nicolas, Lannuier was well-versed in the hallmarks of French furniture, including quality of construction, woods and metal mounts. The present lot exhibits these characteristics, and is likely modeled after the small, delicate and mobile furniture fashionable amongst post-Revolution Parisian society (fig. 2) (Peter M. Kenny, Frances F. Bretter and Ulrich Leben, Honoré Lannuier: Cabinetmaker from Paris (New York, 1998), pp. 16-17, 20-21).
Soon after Lannuier’s arrival, he began operating his shop out of his brother’s confectionery, before moving to 60 Broad Street sometime between July 1803 and April 1804; he would remain at this location throughout his career. Advertising himself in 1803 as a “Cabinet Maker, just arrived from France, and who has worked at his trade with the most celebrated Cabinet Makers of Europe,” Lannuier nonetheless may have early on appropriated some of the vernacular stylistic traits of New York furniture. The account books of the turner James Ruthven record Lannuier’s purchase in June, 1803 of sixteen table legs, which possibly could have been used for this or similar tables produced during this period. Unlike the exuberantly carved and gilded pier and card tables produced later in his career, earlier pieces such as this resolutely conform to the Directoire taste for minimal carving and figuratively grained veneers adorned with gleaming brass and gilt-metal mounts. Two other closely related pier tables are in the collections of Winterthur Museum (fig. 1) and John Kean, which is on long-term loan to the Liberty Hall Foundation in Union, New Jersey; both related examples retain a gilded brass gallery on top, evidence of which is seen on the present lot (Kenny et al., pp. 33, 34, 213-214, plate 12, cats. 88, 90).