PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTOR
Antoine Chenevière, Russian Furniture the Golden Age 1780-1840, London, 1988, pp. 110-144.
D. Ledoux-Lebard, Les Ebénistes Parisiens du XIXème siècle (1795-1870) leurs oeuvres et leurs marques, Paris, 1965, Plate LXXXIII, for a very similar fauteuil d'officier by Jacob, (formerly in the Coll. M. Geoffroy).
This highly unusual and striking `klismos' backed desk armchair combines a strong masculine outline with a tripartite padded back and wings and conveys the ultimate sophisticatation in seat furniture during the Russian Empire period.
It is in the Russian `Jacob' style and refers to the celebrated Parisian maker Georges Jacob (1739-1814). Following the English tradition, Jacob was one of the first French makers to use mahogany in his chairs and was instrumental in disseminating the revival in the interest of the Antique style in furniture and decorations in association with the celebrated architects and designers C. Percier and P. F. L. Fontaine, who published their seminal work Recueil des décorations Intérieures in 1801, reissued in 1812. The design of this armchair is inspired by Henri Jacob (d. 1824), during the Consulat period (1799-1804). Jacob's stamp is found on a similar armchair from the collection of Prince Murat, sold at Hotel Drouot, 14th June 1983, lot 124, reproduced here in fig. 1. However, apart from the use of mahogany there is little that the Russian Empire style and the furniture made by Jacob had in common. According to Chenevière op. cit., `the use of the term `Jacob' was no more than a commercial ploy to evoke foreign qualities in what was in fact a domestic product'.
Russian furniture in this style is almost always in mahogany or in a stained wood to simulate mahogany. Its second feature is that it is always decorated with brass strips or rosettes. It achieved immediate success this Russian `Jacob' furniture and was produced throughout Russia, not only in St. Petersburg and Moscow but also was found in imperial palaces as well as aristocratic homes and the houses of the bourgeoisie. Another of its features are its geometric outlines often inspired by architectural forms with geometric decoration. The production of this style of furniture continued well into the 1830's.
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