This magnificent center-table embodies all the familiar Linke hallmarks with sumptuous gilt-bronze mounts designed and sculpted by his frequent collaborator, Léon Messagé. Considered sculpture unto themselves, these exquisite ormolu mountings were a characteristic of the finest late 19th century furniture, and Messagé's prowess at their design and application was unrivaled. The sculptor championed the asymmetry often embraced by Rococo designers such as J.A. Meissonnier by creating lively and emotive figures linked by sinuous encadrements. Messagé was honored alongside Joseph-Emmanuel Zwiener with a médaille d'or at the 1889 Paris Exposition Universelle for their collaboration on Zwiener's exceptional serre bijoux, sold Christie's, London, 17 March 2011, lot 409. It is almost certain that Linke first came into contact with Messagé through Zwiener's introduction and the sculptor's designs have since become synonymous with Linke's oeuvre.
Of the ten tables known to be produced, the present lot is an example of the largest version (175 cm. wide) and is referenced as the modèle riche, featuring a pair of androgynous cherubs on the stretcher which Linke used for his encrier exposition (index number 709) in 1900. In fact, the table was originally designed en suite with his celebrated commode coquille: Coquetterie et Modestie (index number 559) for the same exhibition, though was finally exhibited among a wider array of furnishings at the Salon des Industries du Mobilier in 1902 and again in Liège in 1905 (C. Payne, François Linke: The Belle Epoque of French Furniture, Woodbridge, 2003, p. 170). The design was popular among Linke’s impressive register of clientele, which included commissions supplied to Elias Meyer in 1909, Madame d’Astoreca in 1910, Antonio Devoto in 1913 and for the King Fuad I's study at Ras al-Tin, Alexandria, Egypt in the 1920s.