The original bureau plat by Oeben, made circa 1765, is illustraded in Alexander Pradère, French Furniture Makers, Sotheby's, p.265. It originally belonged to the Duc de Choiseul-Praslin, Prime Minister for Louis XV, and can be recognized in one of the gouaches by Van Blarenberghe of the interiors of Choiseul's house, circa 1770. The contents of Choiseul's house were sold in 1796 and Oeben's model was purchased by the Duke of Hamilton. In turn the Duc d'Aumale purchased the same cartonnier from the Hamilton Palace sale of 1882 (lot 878), now in the Musée Condé at the Château de Chantilly.
Paul Sormani established the firm in 1847 at 7, Cimetière Saint-Nicholas in Paris. The location was then changed in 1854 to 114, Rue du Temple, and in 1867 to 10, rue Charlot. He was present at all the major exhibitions with petits meubles de fantaisie, as well as excellent quality reproductions of some of the Garde Meuble National items. The firm won a bronze medal in 1849 and une médaille de première classe in 1855. At the 1867 Exposition Universelle, his work was described as such: 'toute sa production révèle une qualité d'exécution de tout premier ordre' ('the whole of his production exhibits craftsmanship of the highest quality'). When Sormani passed away, his son, Paul-Charles took over his father business alongside his mother, Ursule-Marie Philippine, hence the company’s name change to Sormani Veuve Paul et Fils. In 1914 Paul Charles Sormani formed a partnership with Thiebault Frères, and the firm was moved to 134, Boulevard Haussmann, where it remained until its closure in 1934. The furniture production was of the highest quality in the style of Louis XV and Louis XVI.
An identical cartonnier was exhibited by Paul Sormani at the Paris 1900 Exhibition (Art Journal Catalogue, 1900, p. 125) copied from the period desk in the Hamilton Palace sale.
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