Pierre Denizot, maître in 1740.
These armoires introduce an exciting addition to lacquer-embellished furniture created during the Régence and early years of Louis XV's reign. The Chinese lacquer panels are elegantly displayed within elegant ormolu frames and lustrous diagonally-veneered borders in richly grained amaranth. The Far East was a constant source of fascination for European monarchs and their Courts since trade was established in the late 16th century and imported porcelains, bronzes and lacquerwork were highly prized. The present large-scale lacquer panels would have been costly and, given their size, were most likely adapted from a folding screen.
Initially the primary source for lacquer was Japan but by the end of the seventeenth century, it had become increasingly expensive and trade turned increasingly to China. In France, shipments of Chinese lacquer arrived in Nantes as early as 1700 and the Compagnie des Indes established a permanent base in Canton to facilitate trade, which was vigorously supported by the Regent after 1715 when he came to power. Sales were conducted in Nantes upon each ship's return, and in 1721 and 1722 these sales contained large quantities of lacquer. A clear link to the Paris marchands-merciers is recorded in these sales as the marchand-mercier Juilliot was a buyer of large quantities of both lacquer and porcelain (T.Wolvesperges, Le Meuble Français En Laque Au XVIII Siècle, Paris, 1999, pp.136-7).
As the ébéniste Pierre Denizot received his maîtrise as late as 1740, it is likely that he stamped these armoires in the capacity of a restorer or marchand, or they could conceivably have been early pieces made when he received his training in the workshop of his father Jacques. Later in his career, Denizot's main patrons were the Comte D'Artois, and the Comte de Provence, younger brothers of Louis XVI, where he supplied furniture for the Royal palaces.
Among the small group of recorded armoires from this period incorporating lacquer are an example with coromandel lacquer panels sold from the collection of the Comte d'Armaille, Paris in 1890 (T. Wolvesperges, op. cit., figs. 1 and 47), a single armoire also with coromandel lacquer in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris (ibid, fig. 46) and a further example sold anonymously; Christie's, New York, 7 June 2011, lot 500 ($170,500).