This elegant and intricately-carved screen was almost certainly executed by the celebrated menuisier Georges Jacob, probably based on a déssin by the architect Pierre Rousseau and delivered circa 1785-87 to the Princesse de Salm for her Chambre à Coucher at the hôtel de Salm (now the Palais de la Légion d'Honneur) in Paris.
ROYAL COMMISSIONS FOR SCREENS BY JACOB
The present screen is closely related to several other examples supplied by Jacob for the château de Versailles. These include two screens à châssis of comparable outline, featuring related crestings and finials, resting on similarly beaded trestle supports with rosettes (illustrated in P.Arrizzoli-Clémentel, Versailles, Furniture of the Royal Palace, vol. II, Dijon, 2002, pp.252-5, no. 90 and 91). Such fire-screens originally were most often executed en suite with large suite of seat furniture as is the case for the related screen supplied by Jacob for the Chambre à Coucher of Marie-Antoinette at the Petit Trianon circa 1787 (ill. Ibid., vol I, p.280, no.71), while a further related écran from Marie-Antoinette's summer Bedchamber at Versailles was also delivered circa 1787 by Jean-Baptiste Sené, with whom Jacob collaborated on many joint commissions for the Couronne (ill. Ibid., p.254-5, no.67).
LE PRINCE ET LA PRINCESSE DE SALM
Frédéric Othon de Salm-Kyrbourg (1745-1794) was the son of Philippe-Joseph, Prince Regent of Salm-Kyrbourg and of Marie-Thérèse-Jeanne, princesse de Hornes and d'Overisque. His fascination with France and all things French was instilled from an early age when he was educated at the Collège Louis-Le-Grand, eventually settling there in 1771 having initially served in the army. In 1781, he married Jeanne-Françoise de Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen and soon after purchased land from the prince de Conti to construct a Paris residence in the fashionable neoclassical style, with a grand colonnaded façade and a domed salon to suit his princely tastes. He engaged the architect Pierre Rousseau to build the hôtel, and the sculpteurs Roland and Moitte and painter Bosquet (who also worked for the Menus Plaisirs du Roi) to decorate the interiors. He employed the fashionable marchand-mercier Dominique Daguerre to supply the ébénisterie and Georges Jacob for the menuiserie. After six years of construction and having spent the staggering sum of 700,000 livres on both the construction and the decoration of their palatial hôtel, the prince de Salm and his spouse eventually moved into their new residence in 1787.