This meuble d'appui with superb marquetry panels and rich ormolu mounts was in the collection of the duchesse d'Almazan at her pavilion at St. Saëns. The duchesse d'Almazan was the daughter of the Baron D'Haussez (d. 1854) who was born of a family of magistrates of the Ancien Régime. He briefly aligned himself to the Empire before maintaining a succession of government possitions, notably Mininstre de la Marine, under the Restauration. Particularly close to Charles X, following the July Revolution Baron D'Haussez was exiled, returning to France in 1839 to retire to his château at St. Saëns. It is likely that this meuble d'appui was part of refurbishments made either for his retirement, or by the duchesse shortly after his death.
MAISON ALPHONSE GIROUX
The present model evokes earlier practices, for Maison Alphonse Giroux in the tradition of 18th century marchands-merciers, probably did not make any of the wares they sold but rather commissioned them from a number of craftsmen. Thus although stamped 'A. GIROUX' this is likely to be the firm as retailer.
The firm was established in 1799 by François-Simon-Alphonse Giroux (d.1848), with premises at 7, rue du Coq-Saint-Honoré, Paris. Dealing in luxury goods, and known for its high-quality objects such as glove boxes, caskets for weddings and baptisms, and gifts for the New Year, by 1834, the company also sold small items of furniture. In 1838, the company was taken over by Giroux's two sons, Alphonse-Gustave (d.1886) and André (d.1874), who under the name of Giroux & Cie, further extended the business, showing and frequently winning medals at the Exposition des Produits de l'Industrie française. Between 1855 and 1857, Maison Alphonse Giroux supplied Napoléon III and Empress Eugenie with furniture including a small bureau, two ormolu-mounted chiffonniers, candelabras, clocks and vases. In 1857, the business relocated to 43, boulevard des Capucines, where it remained until 1867 when it was taken over by Duvinage and Harinkouke.
The ormolu mounts on the present example are stamped to the reverse 'HP' and 'HPR'. This is almost certainly Henri Picard, a Parisian fondeur and doreur renowned for the production of high quality pièces de table and garnitures de cheminés, many of which also feature semi-clothed female terms, based at 6 rue Jarente in 1831, moving to 10 rue de la Perle in 1839 until 1864. The firm also worked on the petits appartements of Emperor Napoléon III at the Louvre.
Almost identical corner mounts are found on a Napoléon III grand buffet en ébène et pietra dura, sold Sotheby's Paris, 5 December 2001, lot 440. A related meuble d'appui with marquetry panels and comparable corner mounts is illustrated in C. Payne, 19th Century European Furniture, Woodbridge, 1981, p. 167, no. 448).