105
105

PROPERTY OF A LADY (LOT 105)

A Rare and Important Louis XIV ormolu-mounted pewter, brass and copper-inlaid, tortoiseshell,ebony and wood marquetry console table

attributed to André-Charles Boulle, circa 1675-1680, with some later modifications and restorations

Estimate
700,0001,000,000
LOT SOLD. 657,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
105

PROPERTY OF A LADY (LOT 105)

A Rare and Important Louis XIV ormolu-mounted pewter, brass and copper-inlaid, tortoiseshell,ebony and wood marquetry console table

attributed to André-Charles Boulle, circa 1675-1680, with some later modifications and restorations

Estimate
700,0001,000,000
LOT SOLD. 657,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important French Furniture & Decorations, European Ceramics and Carpets

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New York

A Rare and Important Louis XIV ormolu-mounted pewter, brass and copper-inlaid, tortoiseshell,ebony and wood marquetry console table

attributed to André-Charles Boulle, circa 1675-1680, with some later modifications and restorations

the rectangular top centered by a cartouche framed by masks of Hercules and other martial trophies, the outer borders with flower sprays and foliate volutes, decorated on one side with two birds, the corners decorated with masks above a later molded cornice, with waved apron on square tapering legs joined by an X-shaped stretcher centered by a roundel inlaid with flowers, on later ormolu feet; the base and stretcher probably reduced in width, the feet and capitals replaced.
30 1/4 in.; width 43 1/4 in.; depth 28 3/4 in.
77 cm; 110 cm; 73 cm
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Purchased by the grandfather of the present owner in Paris in the early 1900's.

Catalogue Note

This console belongs to a very small group of consoles attributed to André-Charles Boulle produced around 1680 and incorporating both floral wood marquetry and inlay in various metals.  The closest is a console from the collections of the Earls of Warwick, Warwick Castle, subsequently in the de Pauw collection (Sotheby's, Monaco, June 22, 1986, lot 626) and now in the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, Legion of Honor.  The Warwick Castle console is discussed and illustrated by J.-N. Ronfort in "Boulle les commandes pour Versailles", No. 124 Dossier de l'Art, November 2005, pp. 11 and 15.  It is dated by the author between 1675 and 1680. 

The design of the tops of the two tables is essentially the same although the Warwick table is centered by a vase of flowers.  Both tables show an inner border with identical designs decorated with copper, one in contrepartie (the Warwick table) the other in première partie.  The frieze on each shows the same shape and decoration, except that this lot is narrower and lacks the metal-inlaid tablets at the top of  the legs and centering the frieze.  A close examination of this lot shows traces of the thin pewter scrolls which emanate from each of these tablets on the Warwick console.  This would support the hypothesis that this lot was originally wider and incorporated metal-inlaid tablets of the same design.  The legs of both tables are of the same design and decoration, although they were probably also originally set at an angle on this lot as they are on the Warwick console.  The stretchers on each follow the same overall design although there are indications that they have been reduced in size and the legs repositioned on this lot.

The other related tables attributed to Boulle include two in the J. Paul Getty Museum (G. Wilson and C. Hess, Summary Catalogue of European Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 2001, pp. 32-33, nos. 55 and 56), one from the collection of Sir Francis Dashwood and another from the collection of Madame de Polès (sold from the collection of D. Riahi, Christie's, New York, November 2, 2000, lots 35 and 40 respectively), and a further table in the collection of H.M. The Queen (H. Clifford Smith, Buckingham Palace, London, 1931, fig. 256).  Amongst these tables, the Getty table (no. 55) shows the greatest similarities to this lot, the overall design of the top and stretchers being very close and the frieze exhibiting a similarly waved outline.

Although each table in this group is thought to have been made by Boulle between 1675 and 1685, no reference has been found to who originally ordered them.  Only one, the Madame de Polès table from the Riahi sale (lot 40) has an identifiable 18th century provenance.  The lack of inventories from the period and the paucity of information where they do exist, have made identification almost impossible.  Interestingly, nearly all of these tables were in English collections in the 19th century reflecting the English prediliction for Boulle and their strong buying power after the French Revolution.

In the earlier part of his career it was for his work in wooden floral marquetry that Boulle was most renowned.  Indeed his work in this technique shows a great degree of stylistic unity.  Many of the models that he used for his marquetry designs may have been taken from the huge number of drawings and prints that he is known to have owned as an inveterate collector.  The 1715 acte de delaissement lists one hundred and seventy sketches and studies of flowers taken from life as well as fifty sketches of birds painted from life by Patel the Younger.  It also lists the following:

«- Huit dessus de tables plaquées anciennes  400 liv

- quinze tables de fleurs ou pièces de rapport commencées  1350 liv

- deux tables pareilles à celles de messieurs Bourvallais et Grouin en bois blanc avec quelques bandes et fillets et autres modèles  300 liv

- quatre petites tables anciennes de quatre pieds de long (132 cm) ayant des dessus de marqueterie de cuivre et d'étain imparfaites  800 liv

- quatre pieds de tables ancienne de quatre pieds de long avec des consoles qui ne sont point plaquées et le corps de marqueterie et d'étain   1000 liv. »

The 1732 inventory following Boulle's death lists the following parts of table which had escaped the terrible fire of 1720:

«- une table à fleurs de pièces de rapport à quesnes fort vielle prisée comme telle  6 liv. »

Important French Furniture & Decorations, European Ceramics and Carpets

|
New York