Martin Carlin, maître in 1766
Etienne-Gabriel Girard (1762-1800) was active as a gilder and flower painter.
Jacques-François-Louis de Laroche (1758-1802) was active as a painter of flowers, ground colors and patterns.
This magnificent console-desserte, the prototype of the form, is one of only two Sèvres porcelain-mounted console dessertes in existence. The other, also with porcelain plaques by the peintre-doreur Etienne-Gabriel Girard but dated 1786, was executed for the marchand-mercier Dominique Daguerre by Adam Weisweiler (maître in 1778) the year after Carlin's death in 1785. This latter console desserte, formerly in the collection of Victor Rothschild at 148 Piccadilly, London, was also subsequently owned by Akram Ojjeh, from whose collection it was sold at Christie's Monaco, 11-12 December 1999, lot 55.
Interestingly, although a console with porcelain plaques is recorded amongst the furniture sold from Marie-Antoinette's appartements at Versailles in the Revolutionary sales, it had only one plateau de marbre blanc.
The Carlin stamp implies that this console must have been made just before the death of the ébéniste on 6 March 1785, or not after the re-marriage of Carlin's widow in 1786 with Gaspar Schneider. Until then, she could still use Carlin's stamp.
THE PORCELAIN PLAQUES
The date of 1784 of the Sèvres porcelain plaques, clearly implies a special commission of the marchand mercier Daguerre (who had the monopoly on the Sèvres plaques) to his ébéniste. At Carlin's death, Daguerre owed the ébéniste the very important sum of 3117 livres.
The mark 'GI' has been recently identified by David Peters as being that of the peintre-doreur Etienne-Gabriel Girard, painter specialised in this type of floral decoration. Dated 1785, these plaques do not have price labels and proved until now difficult to identify. However, the only other known console of this type, (mentioned above), Collection Ojjeh, was mounted with similar plaques with the only difference that they had a bleu céleste ground. These plaques, dated 1786, do bear price labels indicating:
96 livres for the central plaque
72 livres (total) for the 2 frontal plaques
60 livres (total) for the 2 side plaques
The Sèvres manufacture archives mention that Daguerre purchased porcelain plaques at two occasions during the year 1784.
The first purchase consisted of:
'2 plaques at 30 livres
2 plaques at 36 livres
1 plaque at 96 livres
2 plaques at 120 livres
1 plaque at 132 livres'
The second purchase of Daguerre consisted of only:
'2 plaques at 132 livres
2 plaques at 36 livres
1 plaque at 156 livres'
Daguerre therefore purchased the 5 plaques which correspond to that of our console together in only one occasion in 1784.
THE IVY GARLANDS
The distinctive ivy garland to the supports is characteristic of the taste of the marchand mercier rather than that of the ébéniste. The ivy is seen on various pieces of furniture:
- A secrétaire attributed to Bernard Molitor in the Cleveland Museum of Fine Art (inv. 69.37, illustrated in l'Estampille, January 1985, Ulrich Leben "l'Atelier de Bernard Molitor sous la Revolution". Commissioned around 1797 by the duc de Praslin to Molitor, this secrétaire is en suite with a commode stamped by Molitor (private collection, paris).
- A pair of corner consoles stamped Jean-Henri Riesener, Collection of the Salgo Trust, sold Sotheby's New York, 25 October 2002, lot 1247. This pair of corner consoles are en suite with a console desserte in the Wrightsman Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, illustrated in F.J.B. Watson, The Wrightsman Collection, Vol.I, 1996, pp.236-239, no.122.
- A commode à vantaux in the Wallace Collection, London, P. Hughes, The Wallace Collection Catalogue of Furniture, London, 1996, vol.II, p.879, no. 182 (F249).
LASCELLES OR CLANRICARDE?
This magnificent console desserte is first recorded in situ in the Gallery at Harewood House, Yorkshire, in an early 20th Century photograph. Placed alongside the superlative Chippendale furniture indigenous to the house, the photograph also reveals further pieces of Sèvres porcelain-mounted furniture, including a jardinière, a secretaire and a clock that still remains at Harewood, as well as exceptional ormolu-mounted objets de luxe in the fashionable taste popularised by George, Prince of Wales, later King George IV and his circle at Carlton House. The collection of French works of art at Harewood is largely the result of two Regency collectors' acquisitive tastes - Edward 'Beau', Viscount Lascelles and the 13th Earl of Clanricarde. This console desserte undoubtedly descended from one of these strands.
Edward 'Beau', Viscount Lascelles, was largely responsible for the furniture, Sévres porcelain and bronzes d'ameublement at Harewood. Following the Treaty of Amiens in 1802, with the consequent temporary cessation of hostilities between England and France, Lascelles travelled to Paris to capitalise upon the dispersal of the great French collections following the Revolution. His eclectic taste, as can be seen in the items remaining at Harewood and the collection of Sévres and bronzes d'ameublement sold in these Rooms, 1 July 1965, embraced the greatest examples of the maîtres-fondeurs-ciseleurs oeuvre, mounting both Chinese and French porcelain, as well as commissioning Benjamin Vulliamy in 1806 to embellish three Chinese vases bought in Paris on his return to London.
A celebrated connoisseur, Lascelles' father Edward, 1st Earl of Harewood (d.1820) commissioned Samuel Page (d.1852), 'builder, surveyor and architect', to transform Adam's Roxburghe House at 13 Hanover Square from the great bibliophiles dream (as it had been under the 3rd Duke of Roxburghe) into a suitable setting for the 'fashionable' Regency collection acquired for him by his son: a collection that was held in high regard from an early date, Queen Charlotte and The Prince Regent visiting Harewood particularly to see the collection of bronzes d'ameublement and Sèvres porcelain in 1815.
The Clanricarde connection, whilst equally strong a claim, is less well documented. However both the 13th Earl of Clanricarde (1744-1808), who succeeded his brother in 1797 and married in 1799, and his son, the 1st Marquess of Clanricarde (1802-1874) were affluent and acquisitive Irish aristocrats, and are known to have commissioned Regency furniture in an advanced avant garde taste, including the suite of bergeres sold from Harewood in the 1951 sale, lot 45. In that the first documented owner of the console desserte at Harewood was the great-nephew and heir of the 2nd Marquess of Clanricarde, this strain cannot be discounted.
The heir to Simon-Philippe Poirier's atelier, Dominique Daguerre specialised in supplying objets de luxe to the French Court and, increasingly during the 1780s, to the English nobility. Based in the rue St. Honoré, as his trade label reveals he Tient Magafin de Porcelaines, Bronzes, Ebénisterie, Glaces, Curiosités, & autres Marshandises, and in the 1780s he even opened a shop in Piccadilly, London to supply the Prince of Wales and his circle, including the Duke of Bedford and Earl Spencer.
Interestingly, Christie's held three sales, the first two (anonymous but almost certainly Daguerre's stock) on 15-17 March 1790 and 23-24 April 1790, while the third sale on 25-26 March 1791 was entitled: Superb Articles in French Or-Moulu...Imported from Paris by Mons. Daguerre. These clearly demonstrate both the enduring popularity of porcelain-mounted furniture and Daguerre's attempts to dominate the English market and indeed a Ld. C was an active buyer in these sales. These sales were followed by three others again almost certainly from Daguerre's stock: 19-20 March 1792, 16 May and 24 May 1792.