PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE BRITISH COLLECTION
Galerie René Weiller, Paris
Sold from the Collection de Monsieur et Madame Luigi Anton Lara, Sotheby's Paris, 27th June 2001, lot 83.
Claude Frégnac, Les Ebénistes du XVIIIe siècle français, Paris, 1963, p. 224 & 225.
Francis Watson, Le Meuble Louis XVI, London, 1960, fig.67, p.112.
Saunier used this chinoiserie decoration on a number of small and precious bureaux à cylindre:
-One formerly in the collection of Paul Eudel (102cm wide), sold Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 11th May 1898, lot 288, illustrated; the Maharani of Baroda collectIon, sold in these Rooms, 24th November 1978, lot 184.
- one in the collection of the Earl of Rosebery (92cm wide) Mentmore Towers, now at Dalmeny House (Scotland), illustrated by Francis Watson, fig. 67, p.112, reproduced here in fig. 1, who states that it must almost certainly be by Saunier even though it is unstamped. It may be the desk belonging to Sir Philip Sassoon which had been exhibited in the Three French reigns Exhibition, London, 1933 (illustrated Christie's, London, 8th December 1994, pp. 60-61, Contents from Houghton Hall).
-A virtually identical desk stamped Saunier, formally in the Vagliano collection, offered for sale at Christie's, London, 14th July 1955, lot 110.
During the 1780's, Saunier made a number of pieces of furniture for, amongst others, the dealer Dominique Daguerre, which were destined to be applied with Japanese lacquer or porcelain panels.
The technique of lacquer on tôle was a cheaper alternative to these very expensive materials but still gave an aura of the exotic charm of lacquer and the apparently unalterable colour of porcelain. This decoration was used as a cheaper alternative to porcelain by a number of other funiture makers. One finds it on a small guéridon with articulated arms by Carlin or R.V.L.C. (Sotheby's Monaco, 7th February 1982, lot 339) and on an oval table (Christie's Monaco, 15th June 1996, lot 44).
Saunier produced other pieces using the technique of chinoiserie on tôle, for example the commode (not stamped) formerly in the collection of the Dukes of Wellington at Stratfield Saye (sold in these Rooms, 11 th July 1980, lot 86); another commode identical to the preceding, but stamped, formerly in the collection of the Marquis de Biron (Paris, 6th June 1914, lot 367) as well as a guéridon mounted with pink tôle panels which may also be attributed to Saunier (with Gallery Steinitz, Paris, 1984; Christie's Monaco, 12th December 1999, lot 898).
These lacquered tôle panels almost certainly came from a small factory À la petite Pologne, founded by Henri Clément at the Barrière de Monceau and which after an initial bankruptcy was taken over by the marchand bijoutier Etienne Frameryn in the rue St. Honoré. In 1770, after a second bankruptcy, the marchand parfumeur Dulac acquired the company as indicated in the Petites Affiches de Paris
(le magasin de marchandises de tôle vernie de la Petite Pologne, qui était ci-devant chez le sieur Framery rue St-Honore; est aujourd'hui chez le sieur Dulac, même rue. Les personnes qui avaient commandé des ouvrages au Sr Framery sont priées d'en adresser directement la note au sieur Clément, entrepreneur de ladite manufacture, où l'on fera des commodes, cabinets, chiffonnières et autres meubles dans le goût de la Chine et des panneaux pour appartement et équipages).
Claude-Charles Saunier (1735-1807), received Master 1752:
Saunier came from a family of furniture makers well respected in his time. He shared the Faubourg Saint-Antoine based workshop with his father Jean-Charles but moved twice ending up in the rue Saint-Claude. Saunier started his production with Louis XV furniture but soon changed his taste in favour of the pure Louis XVI style. He became famous for his impeccably executed furniture, with restrained decoration utilising the finest timbers.
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