These console tables are an extremely unusual combination of high rococo design interpreted in what was considered an unusual, and even experimental, material in mid-18th century France. Surviving pieces of 18th century wrought-iron furniture are rare. Many are provincial pieces, and often Southern French, and are in marked contrast to the more sophisticated and high-style steel pieces being made for the court and Paris residences (see U. Leben, 'Iron and Steel Furniture in France', The Magazine Antiques, September 1996, pp. 346-353.
A slightly earlier wrought-iron and parcel-gilt console table was sold Christie's, New York, 21 October 1997, lot 71. Another, more provincial example, was sold at Christie's, Amsterdam, 14-15 December, 2005, lot 409.
CONSUELO VANDERBILT BALSAN
The daughter of William Kissam Vanderbilt and Alva Smith Belmont, Consuelo became a celebrated debutante at her parents' Newport residence, Marble House, where in August of 1895 she met Charles Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough. She married the Duke that autumn and returned to England to live at Blenheim Palace. She separated from the 9th Duke in 1905 and was officially divorced in 1920. The following summer she married the French aviator, Jacques Balsan. Settling in France, they divided their time between the splendid 17th century château de Saint-Georges-Motel, near Eure, Normandy and the hôtel Marlborough, Paris, both of which they filled with exceptional French furniture and works of art of the ancien regime. Fleeing to America and Palm Beach in 1940, Colonel and Madame Balsan continued to surround themselves with the jewels of their collection.