Georges Jacob, maître in 1765.
The marque au feu 'TH' accompanied by three fleur-de-lys within an oval was that employed at the Palais des Tuileries following the Restoration of the Bourbon monarchy, identifying the console table as having been inventoried at the Tuileries in the 19th century. In the absence of inventory numbers or an inventory brand used at the Tuileries during the reign of Louis XVI, it is impossible to determine the specifics of the original commission for this console.
MARIE-ANTOINETTE'S APARTMENT IN THE TUILERIES
In 1784, Marie-Antoinette wished to have an apartment in Paris and the Château des Tuileries was a natural choice. Almost abandoned after Louis XV, it had been occupied for more than 60 years by Court pensioners. To accommodate her the apartment of the marquise de Groslier were vacated and the succession of rooms - which had undergone various changes and divisions through the years - were restored to their original layout.
On Marie-Antoinette's specific request a small appartement was created in the entresol above her main apartment, situated near the pavillon de Flore, on the river Seine. The favorite craftsmen of the Queen were chosen to furnish the rooms: Georges Jacob, Boulard and Foliot as menuisiers and the ébéniste Riesener for the case furniture.
The furnishings were supplemented by orders from the Garde-Meuble as well as existing pieces brought from other Royal palaces. By 1790 Louis XVI too had taken residence at the Tuileries and both began ordering suitable permanent furnishings more in keeping with the palace's new role. For a further discussion of the Tuileries during this period see M. Battestin, 'La famille royale aux Tuileries et l'installation de mobilier, De Paris', Versailles, Exhibition Catalogue, Paris, 1989, pp. 65-69.
Napoleon moved to the Tuileries in 1800 and made it his principal residence, as did all of France's subsequent rulers until it was destroyed by fire in 1870. Napoleon refurbished it in typically opulent style, employing the court architects Percier and Fontaine, although much of the Louis XVI furniture remained there into the Restauration period.
ATTRIBUTION OF THE CONSOLE
This expertly and crisply carved console is likely the work of one of the foremost menuisiers of the period, Georges Jacob (maître in 1765), who, together with Jean-Baptiste Sené, dominated the production of carved furniture and menuiserie in Paris during the last years of the ancien régime. Their principal clients were the King and the Queen and from 1785-1791 they provided seat furniture, beds, consoles, folding stools, footstools and screens for Fontainebleau, the Tuileries, Versailles and particularly Saint-Cloud.
A pair of Louis XVI console tables from the Palais des Tuileries, first recorded there in 1807, and probably originally moved there in 1790-2, was sold from the Wildenstein Collection, Christie's, London, 14 December 2005, lot 72 (£254,500 inc. premium). The Wildenstein pair is identical to a further pair sold from the collection of the 5th Duke of Sutherland from Stafford House in 1913. Interestingly Lord Gower, later 1st Duke of Sutherland, was Ambassador to France between 1790-92, and is known at this time to have acquired pieces of Royal provenance from the Château de Saint Cloud.