Jacques Jean-Baptiste II Tilliard, maître in 1752.
The richly carved frames of these grandly scaled fauteuils are typical of the work of the celebrated Tilliard dynasty of menuisiers. Considered to be among the most talented workshops of the Louis XV era, it was founded by Jean-Baptiste Tilliard (1685-1766) who worked in conjunction with his brother, Nicholas, until 1750 and his son, Jacques Jean-Baptiste. Tilliard often employed other skilled sculpteurs such as Nicolas Heurtaut, Damien Quintel and Toussaint Foliot to assist with his commissions. In 1728, he was appointed maître menuisier du Garde-Meuble du Roi and his son, Jean-Baptiste II, succeeded him and continued to use his stamp after his retirement in 1766. The Tilliard dynasty received regular Royal commissions and provided work for such distinguished clientele as the Prince de Soubise and the Marquise de Pompadour. As noted by F.J.B. Watson, because father and son worked together at the same time and in the same style, this fauteuil could have been made by either father or son, see F.J.B. Watson, The Wrightsman Collection, vol. I, Greenwich, 1966, p. 6. Whether an artistic cooperation between father and son or a creation of just one of them, this pair of fauteuils is a particularly grand and sculptural product of the Tilliard workshop. With the front of the seat rails and the backs centered by petal-carved cartouches echoing the same motifs on the knees, the overall composition of these chairs is particularly well balanced and foreshadows the dawning of Neoclassicism. Although authorship cannot be determined with certainty, because of this new and fresh approach to decoration, it is more likely that the present fauteuils are the work of Jacques Jean-Baptiste Tilliard.