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EUROPEAN FURNITURE of the 19TH CENTURY

Christopher Payne


CONTENTS ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS PREFACE INTRODUCTION DEFINITION OF STYLES FRANCE Boulle Furniture Cabinetmakers, Designers and Retailers Terms Bedroom Furniture Boulle Chinoiserie Columns Commodes Desks Dieppe Ivory The Dining Room Etagères Jardinières Liqueur Cabinets and Caddies Longcase Clocks Meubles d’Appui Mirrors Pianos Pietre Dure Screens Seat Furniture Stands Tables Table Display Cabinets Miniature Display Cabinets Various Vernis Martin Vitrines Wall Cabinets and Brackets Details FRANGLAIS English Cabinets English Desks Various Details GERMANY, AUSTRIA AND SWITZERLAND GERMAN CABINETMAKERS, DESIGNERS AND RETAILERS Terms Boxes and Cupboards Cabinets Chairs Pianos Settees Commodes Rustic Furniture Tables Writing Cabinets Writing Desks Various Switzerland

IBERIAN PENINSULA Terms Spain Portugal ITALY Designers, Architects and Makers Terms Beds Blackamoors Boxes Carved Figures and Clocks Cassoni Centre Stands Centre Tables Chairs Chests of Drawers Console and Side Tables Console Tables and Mirrors Mirrors Screens/Stands Settees Side Cabinets Tripod Tables Writing Cabinets Marquetry Details LOW COUNTRIES Belgian Designers, Architects and Makers Dutch Designers, Architects and Makers The Antwerp Style Flanders - Cabinets - Chairs - Tables - Miscellaneous Holland - Corner Cabinets - Cabinets - Display Cabinets - Chairs/Work Tables - Tables - Writing Desks Dutch Marquetry Details OTTOMAN EMPIRE POLAND RUSSIA Designers, Architects and Makers SCANDINAVIA Designers, Architects and Makers

MARBLE BRONZE DORÉ (ORMOLU) WOODS MAJOR NINETEENTH CENTURY EXHIBITIONS LIST OF MAJOR INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITIONS BIBLIOGRAPHY


FRANGLAIS – DESKS

Left: This sweet little mahogany desk in the Louis XVI style would catch most of us out. It looks so very French but close inspection shows that it has an English lock and English drawer construction. Bearing the ivorine label of S & H Jewell of Holborn, a highly respected retailer in London, it is typical of the small, well made furniture that gave the company such a good name. It is such a pity that we simply do not know who made such pieces, could it have been made, at least in part, by a French cabinetmaker who fled the 1871 Paris Commune? 76cm high; 92 wide, 52 deep. c.1880 Below: The carcass of this interesting desk is by the celebrated London firm of Morant, Boyd & Morant of New Bond Street. They have incorporated marquetry panels by Henry Ahrens, one of the finest marquetry cutters of contemporary Paris. Ahrens has signed and dated one of the panels in 1868; they were clearly designed and made for a bureau plat in the Louis XV style, unfortunately we do not know at present if the panels were made to the order of the London firm or simply available from Ahrens’ stock. The outer veneer is satinwood, the mounts have the typical colour of English gilding. The carcass is stencilled twice on the underside by Morant. 73.7 x 122.5cm. 1868

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FRANGLAIS – DESKS

All the hallmarks of this fine piece are French but the desk is lightly stamped ‘C.Mellier & Co., London’ on the carcass with the same stamp on the English brass locks. Richly made in mahogany with fine quality gilt-bronze mounts there has been little expense spared with the amount of wood used, carving deep into the fine grain to achieve the exaggerated mouldings and rich foliate carving in the Régence style; the perfect example of a hybrid style merging the English form of a partner’s desk with French rococo forms. These features added to the extravagant serpentine form make this rare desk a masterpiece. The detail clearly shows the oak carcass with a complex arrangement of hidden drawers for filing precious papers. 92 x 178 x 90cm c.1890

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GERMANY, AUSTRIA and SWITZERLAND DATES Germany Prussia Frederick William Frederick William IV William I Frederick III William II Bavaria Ludwig I Maximillian Ludwig II Otto I

1825-1848 1848-1864 1864-1886 1886-1913 (The King declared insane and the whole reign was under the regency of Luitpold)

Austria Francis I Ferdinand I Francis-Joseph Switzerland

1797-1840 1840-1861 1861-1888 1888 1888-1918

1792-1835 1835-1848 (abdicated) 1848-1916 A confederation of twenty-two cantons, the president elected annually.

GERMANY AND AUSTRO-HUNGARY The combined states of Germany and the large Austro-Hungarian Empire produced between them a vast quantity of furniture comparable to the production achieved in France or in England during the second half of the nineteenth century. Like the rest of

the manufacturing European nations, Germany and Austria produced a wide range of furniture from the very best quality to the worst, cheaply made examples and from the highly exotic to the most mundane designs. The nineteenth century was important, both politically and economically, for the German speaking nations. The Congress of Vienna in 1815 had established for the first time a German Confederation of thirty-nine states including Austria, Prussia and Bavaria, by far the three largest and most important. The Hapsburg Empire of Austro-Hungary had spread eastwards and south to the Balkans and Italy. Insurrection in Paris against Bourbon rule saw sympathetic rumblings in Germany in 1830 that were bitterly quashed by Metternich who wanted to see economic growth under an authoritarian government, not a democratic one. The mid-1840s saw a severe economic recession combined with a recession in the new and rapidly emerging industrial might of the German states. Once again it was the stimulation of political unrest from Paris that sparked off a series of revolutions in Germany and Austria in 1848. The worst troubles were in Vienna, the heart of traditional thinking and fashion and a major city in the manufacture of furniture. The restoration of the German Confederation in 1850 saw a welcome return to capitalism, economic growth and political certainty. From now on the German states were able to concentrate on a vast expansion of the sizzling industrial potential that had been held back by political strife. The Seven Weeks War between Austria and Prussia in 1866 brought the northern states into the limelight and saw the waning of the Austro-Hungarian Empire as a political force. The predominance of power that Vienna had enjoyed for over fifty years was now to be wielded by Berlin. The final sealing of a unified Germany was the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 which brought the nationalistic tendencies in Germany to a head and amalgamated north and south in a common effort against France, the unwitting and weak aggressor. Before the Franco-Prussian War some 12,000 to 15,000 furniture workers from various German towns had been working in the Paris furniture trade, but afterwards many of them returned to Germany, taking with them many of the skills and

There is a certain bold eccentricity to this desk that must be admired. The base is taken from Franco-German models of the mid-eighteenth century but the upper part has taken the principle of a bureau à gradin to new heights. Millet made a vitrine of exaggerated form in Paris in the 1880s but the German maker of this desk may have been aware of Zwiener’s work for Ludwig II at Herrenchiemsee. The cube and trellis parquetry is elaborately and painstakingly worked on a kingwood ground and it must have taken an incalculable number of hours to make and veneer the complex serpentine bombe carcass. Like it or not this is a tour de force and it is such a pity that records do not survive for such pieces. We do not even know the maker. 238.8 x 167.7 x 75cm. 1890-1900

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BOXES

Left: An example of typical Florentine walnut carving with fat little putti in a very realistic sixteenth century style, playing with a necklace found in a box at their feet – suggesting that the original purpose of this box was for jewellery, although there is no provision for a key. Amusing, but nothing of the fineness of carving of the previous box. 1860s

Below, left to right: A charming example of the nineteenth century Renaissance revival. The carving is typically Florentine and is signed ‘Angiolo Cheloni Firenze’. The signature, in capitals, can just be seen inside the lid. The swan carved in relief on the lid is part of a crest and the sides are carved with birds and fruit in a free Renaissance manner. Like most of the nineteenth century Florentine carver’s work, this tea caddy is in walnut. Dated 1876 An engraved ivory table cabinet (standing on a Dutch marquetry side table). The cutting of the ivory figures and leaves is crude, as is the engraving. The heavily built Diana dwarfs the terms effortlessly supporting the arch. The box is a copy of the early seventeenth century style, and made very much as a direct copy, even possibly with an intention to deceive. 1870s *

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A mystery piece in the Eygptian style. The various Egyptian archaeological discoveries in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries sparked off a flood of interest in pyramids and all things Egyptian. This large box, with no apparent purpose other than decoration, has a conforming stand. Both are highly intricate but poorly and disappointingly made, although indisputably exotic. Various woods are inlaid into an ebony ground and the decoration is completed by ivory, bone, pewter and copper, with boxwood appliqués. It is possible that this is a ‘one off’ box and table made by a one man team, which would explain its individuality. The highly stylised vultures suggest a date in the 1930s and it is possible that the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in the 1920s sparked off this creation, although it could easily be twenty to fifty years earlier. 1880-1930


ITALY – BOXES/CARVED FIGURES AND CLOCKS

An ivory-inlaid box by Pogliani of Florence with Neptune his chariot drawn by hippocampi. Despite its exhibition quality, it would be difficult to be sure that this was Pogilani’s work without the trace of a paper label underneath, c.1880 61⁄4 in by 131⁄2; 16 x 34.5cm

CARVED FIGURES AND CLOCKS

Above left: An extraordinary carved and painted pine group from the northern borders of Italy with heavy German/Swiss influence. It is not difficult to imagine the German carved bear hall stands, illustrated on page 366. Here a street musician is entertaining the onlookers with one monkey beating time with cymbals and another holding out his hand. This is a rare variation of the blackamoor figures but with a decidedly European bearded moustachioed face. c.1900 Above centre: Another carved pine figure dressed as a page boy, with various stained woods highlighting the flesh and clothes. The tunic is carefully detailed with ‘pokerwork’. Originally the boy had a plank of wood held across his knees as a tray and he is sitting on a Gothic style stool. c.1880 Above right: Another example of a carved and stained pine page boy with a decorated pokerwork tunic, quite probably from the same workshops as the figure in the centre. His stance is quite extraordinary – perhaps pose would be a more accurate word. The long haired youth standing coquettishly holding a purse in a gloved hand would not pass without comment in today’s society. The falcon is very badly carved and is as emaciated as the Frullini stand on page 406. c.1880

Left: This longcase clock has been converted into a neobaroque exercise in sculpture with hardly any space left uncarved or unadorned. The quality varies enormously. The main strapwork leaves and terminal figures are very well carved but the applied putti and figure of Atlas (noticeably wearing a figleaf, a very nineteenth century prudish feature) are all less well carved and almost certainly from another workshop. It is not even out of the bounds of possibility that the figures were added at a much later date as an ‘extra’ decoration. The three train movement chimes the hours, half-hours and quarters and is an export from Germany. 1880s

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FLANDERS – TABLES Left, from top to bottom: A fine and very unusual dining table. The individual style is a good example of the power of patronage in the art of furniture making. This extending kingwood dining table was made for the fifth Earl of Rosebery’s yacht the Czarina. It is an upto-the-minute design in the art nouveau idiom using traditional methods of French veneering, with a strong architectural style of flying buttress supports and pierced copper mounts. The latter is a more English Arts and Crafts feature but the overall concept is most likely to be Belgian. It goes without saying that this elegant table is extremely well made. It has two extra leaves. c.1900 (possibly as early as 1890) A very dumpy circular occasional table, ebony veneered and unusually heavy in both style and weight! The segmentally veneered scagliola top and lapis panels on the capitals of the legs suggest that at one time the table was in Italy. Quite possibly it was exported there for finishing, although this seems a little unlikely for such an uninspiring piece. The legs were popular in both Antwerp and Augsburg during the seventeenth century and possibly there is a heavy German influence. c.1850 An exceptional ‘northern French’ centre table in a very pure and restrained Louis XIV style similar to a celebrated table from the Château de Bercy. The carving really is a triumph of the woodcarver’s art. The stamp underneath the frieze is that of a Mr. Rosel simply saying ‘Rosel, Belgium’, but it could be simply a retailer’s table. There is little of the flamboyance normally ascribed to Flemish carvers. The Huguenots favoured a highly developed auricular style in the late seventeenth century which is not apparent here. A very sophisticated table with an excellent brèche violette marble top. 1850s? * Below, right: The French Régence style probably made in Belgium like the last table. This pier table has a massive marble top above very fine gilt and carved wood, every bit as well executed as it would have been in the 1720s. The gilding has that delicious slightly ‘dusty’ quality that is also found on the very best mercurial gilt metalwork. 1850s *

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LOW COUNTRIES – FLANDERS: TABLES

Left, from top to bottom: This low table is the work of the Antwerp designer and maker Frans Franck (1872-1932). The Maison Franck was established by his father in the second half of the nineteenth century and a certain traditionalism in their work can be seen in the twist-turned legs carved with vines and grapes but adapted to the modern concept of a low ‘coffee table’ that became so popular from c.1900 c.1910 onwards. 231⁄2in. high; 33in. wide (60cm x 84cm) This form of table was very popular in England in the nineteenth century. Based on the late seventeenth century style of Antwerp, there must have been a substantial trade between the Dutch ports and London dealers from the 1830s onwards. Similar tables may be seen in the great houses of England and Scotland, some bear the brand ‘EHB’, the initials of the London antique dealer Edward Holmes Baldock. 301⁄4 in high; 511⁄2 in wide; 301⁄2 in deep; (77 x 131.5 x 77.5 cm) c.1840 The turtleshell top immediately reminds the observer of Antwerp, and the style of the base is clearly of early twentieth century origin, with Venus shells and Roman acanthus, influenced by the Régence. The design has been attributed to the Maison Franck, an internationally renowned firm working from Antwerp in the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium. The ivory-lined top with a stylised sunflower is similar to the doors of seventeenth century cabinets. The ironwork is loosely based on the 1748 work of Oppenort, ‘Oeuvres’. The highly decorative value of this table, by a maker who is widely collected, is complemented by the fact that the table is a rare and sought after breed – a coffee table. 28in high; 41in wide; (71 x 104cm) c.1920 The top of this table is clearly an Italian pietre dure marble and is signed by the Bencini Brothers. Most importantly, it is dated later than most would imagine, 1928. Thus the top is Florentine but the base poses a problem – it is of painted beech and this choice of wood woud make it unlikely to be Italian. It is most probably North European, either French or possibly Belgian from Malines. The stance of the table is vaguely seventeenth century, in a HispanoFlemish style. The top 243⁄4ins. (41.3cm) wide; table 281⁄2in. (72.5cm) high. Dated 1928

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European Furniture of the 19th Century  

A detailed and lavishly illustrated work that explores 19th century European furniture in great depth.