This magnificent fauteuil de bureau is conceived in the French antique fashion as a richly flowered 'curule' seat, and is appropriately guarded by chimerical griffins that poets consider as sacred to Apollo, the sun-god and Mount Parnassus poetry deity.
The griffin monopodia of the leather-lined and squab-cushioned seat are wreathed in Roman acanthus, and serve as caryatic supports for the wave-scrolled and triumphal palm-flowered volutes of the reed-like cresting. Leather-like straps of reed-gadrooned ribbons bind them to the chair-back's triumphal bas-relief tablet of palm-flowered and acanthus enriched scrolls that are sculpted, like a 'cippus' altar pediment. The seat-rail is wreathed by palm-flowered Etruscan ribbon scrolls, while imbricated flowers festoon the pilasters of the Grecian-scrolled back legs.
Its form, recalling a griffin-drawn chariot, relates to a winged griffin chair designed for the ébéniste George Jacob (d.1814) by Emperor Napoleon's Rome-trained architects Charles Percier and Pierre-Phillipe Fontaine, authors of the influential pattern book, Recueil de décorations intérieures, 1801 (2nd ed. 1812) (D. Ledoux-Lebard, Le Mobilier Francais du XIX Siecle, Paris 1989, p. 283).
The chair's Ionic-scrolled cresting also relates to a palm-flowered 'fauteuil de bureau', that was commissioned in 1809 for Emperor Napoleon on his move to Versailles' Grand Trianon in 1809 (J. Benoit, 'Le fauteuil de bureau de Napoleon au Grand Trianon', Revue du Louvre, 2007, pp. 15 and 16). Its design may have derived from a 1792-93 drawing by the architect Jean-Guillaume Moitte (1746-1810) for the pediment of the Panthéon, Paris, which featured on the extreme right an antique griffin-drawn chariot.