Adam Weisweiler, maître in 1778.
This gueridon exemplifies the fashionable Louis XVI-style led by arbiters of taste such as Madame du Barry, who gave the duc de Brissac a table of very close description, delivered by Lignereux and Daguerre in 1791. In the inventory following the death of Daguerre there is listed:
V Item une petite table ronde forme de guéridon en racine de bois d'acajou poli sur trois pieds doubles en bronze doré façon de bambous avec entrejambe à tablettes et camé de porcelaine ornant la tablette supérieur prisée trois cent francs, cy....300 (reprinted in P. Lemonnier, Weisweiler, Paris, 1983, p. 162).
It is probable that Daguerre was responsible for the design and marketing of this table, which continued the tradition of furniture mounted with Sèvres porcelain plaques as pioneered by Simon-Philippe Poirier in the 1760's. The dealer Granchez of 'Au Petit Dunkerque' introduced Wedgwood and Bentley's cameo tablets to France, and from 1787 Daguerre was Wedgwood's representative in Paris. It was in the same year that Sir William Eden, the British minister plenipotentiary in Paris, was to inform Wedgwood that his 'Figures En Relief are far beyond anything that has been attempted anywhere'.
The chinoiserie embellishment of this gueridon relates to Wedgwood's déjeuner sets featuring bacchanalian youths on cluster-bamboo ware. The latter derives from a Chinese teapot, illustrated in Sir William Chambers' Designs of Chinese Buildings, 1757. No doubt his bamboo guéridon-stand, with central vase pedestal, can be seen as a prototype for this cluster-columned table which also relates to the french Athénienne stand. This table, with its exotic marble-effect veneer, harmonizes with the French fashion for the Anglo-Chinois garden promoted by the French edition of Chambers (op.cit.). It also combines the enthusiasm for the 'Etruscan' or 'Pompeiian' style, and for antique gems and cameos, with the taste for romanticism and sentimentality.
A drawing of a related table is in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, and is illustrated here. The drawing is annotated 'les bronzes argentés S. Kawrovsky'. Comte Skavronsky was the Russian ambassador to Naples (P. Lemonnier, op.cit., pp. 97, 90). Other known examples of this model are stamped by Weisweiler, indicating that this model was probably made exclusively by him and marketed by Daguerre. The unusual oval shape of this plaque is shared with several other gueridons:- the Alcochette Collection, sold in Paris, 9 February 1896, lot 708; another sold in Paris, galerie Charpentier, 24 March 1955, lot 96 (and subsequently with Didier Aaron, Paris), stamped Weisweiler; another sold in Paris, Palais Galliera, 26 November 1974, lot 104; another sold at Christie's London, 3 December 1981, lot 55, stamped Weisweiler; another with Galerie Aveline, Paris, advertised in Kunst und Antiquaten, December, 1986; and a final example sold anonymously in Paris, Palais Galliéra, 28 November 1972, lot 144 (possibly that offered here). A number of related gueridons of this related form are known, with variations to the plaques:- one with a central Wedgwood plaque surrounded by smaller plaques depicting signs of the Zodiac was sold from the collection of Lady Magnus-Allcroft, Christie's London, 10 June 1993, lot 26. Further examples include that in the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, another also in amboyna and stamped by Weisweiler from the collection of the Empress Eugénie, sold Christie's London, 2 June 1927, lot 58 (not illustrated), another sold anonymously at Christie's New York, 18 October 2002, lot 327 ($147,000), whilst another, with a larger circular Sèvres biscuit plaque but of otherwise identical design is illustrated in P. Kjellberg, Le Mobilier du XIIIe Siècle, Paris, 1989, p.868, pl. A.
ADAM WEISWEILER AND THE MARCHANDS-MERCIERS
Adam Weisweiler (1744-1820), an ébéniste of German origin, established in the rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, Paris. His workshop worked closely with the marchands-merciers Julliot and Daguerre and the ébénistes Riesener and Benneman. The luxury pieces for which he is best known were mostly collaborations with Daguerre, who was responsible for the design, and through whom the original Wedgwood plaque was probably acquired.
Through Daguerre, Weisweiler's clients included the French, Neapolitan and Russian Royal families as well as the future King George IV, and French and foreign nobility. Weisweiler remained active until 1809, his links with Daguerre enabling him to continue to work for the export trade and therefore avoid the bankruptcy which befell so many of his colleagues at the Revolution.
THE WEDGWOOD PLAQUE
The plaque is modelled on Lady Templetown's design An Offering to Peace, of December 1777, the sacrificing nymph on the right being replaced by a figure from the Domestic Employment series (See E. Meteyard, Memorials of Wedgwood, 1874, Buten museum reprint, 1967, p.201, pl.XXII). Probably after Clodion (see R. Reilly, Wedgwood, London, 1988, vol. II, pl. 917), this identical model of plaque is found on a late 18th Century commode by David Hacker in the Neues Palais, Potsdam, illustrated in G. Himmelheber, Die Kunst des Deutschen Möbels, Munich, 1973, fig. 273.
The plaque, which was replaced in the 19th Century, bears the incised monogram TL for Thomas Lovatt, chief ornamenter at Etruria during the latter part of the 19th Century, and one of the few Wedgwood ornamenters to sign his work. (R. Reilly, op. cit., p. 564). Interestingly this same design of plaque, although of larger rectangular form, also signed with the TL monogram, featured on the console desserte by Weisweiler sold anonymously at Christie's New York, 22 May 2002, lot 340.