These sculptural stools, with their fantastic dragon carving and eccentric ruffled carving point to a probable German origin. The entwined serpent dragons derive from table patterns by Nicolas Pineau in his Nouveau Desseins de Pieds de Tables et de Vases et Consoles de Sculpture en bois, published by Mariette in 1734. They are also closely related to a design for a console table executed by Jean-Bernard-Honoré Tureau, called Toro (1661-1735), illustrated in Livre de Tables de Diverses Formes published in Paris by Le Pas-DuBuisson in 1716. The distinct dragon heads are similar to those found on a console table in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris (see Chefs d'oeuvre de Musée des Arts Décoratifs, 1985, p. 49).
Other tabourets of this model were sold Christie's, Dublin Powerscourt: Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow, Ireland, 24 and 25 September 1984, lot 444; another pair sold recently from the collection of Maria Félix, Christie's New York, 17-18 July 2007, lot 256 ($180,000 including premium), en suite with a larger bench (lot 255, $60,000 including premium). Interestingly, the Maria Félix stools were originally silvered, and this model also relates to a console which was part of the most famous example of silvered furnishings in Germany, those at Castle Nymphenbury in Amalienburg. The console, though more elaborate, clearly shares a similar inspiration to the present lot (illustrated in B. von Brigitte Langer Die Möbel der Schlösser Nymphenburg und Schleibheim, Munich, 2000, p. 130-132)