A PAIR OF FRENCH DIRECTOIRE MAHOGANY AND EBONISED WOOD FAUTEUILS EN CURULE ATTRIBUTED TO JACOB, CIRCA 1800
height 35 ½in.; width 25 ¼in.; depth 20 in.
90 cm; 64 cm; 51 cm
Old repairs consistent with use, notably proper right armrest on one, proper right stiles and back legs on both; scattered nicks, marks, and losses, rubbing and retouching to ebonised surfaces consistent with age. Upholstery in good condition, joints sturdy.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
This form is referred to as a curule chair, based on the the antique Roman sella curulis (said to derive from currus, ‘chariot’), a curved X-frame seat reserved for magistrates and other high-ranking officials, and thus an appropriate design to project power and status. It became extremely popular in the context of the the more archaeologically-inspired neoclassicism of the Consulat and early Empire periods, influenced by the continuing excavations at Herculaneum and Pompeii and Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign, recorded visually by the Baron Vivant-Denon in his Voyage dans la Basse et la Haute Egypte published in 1802. An early drawing for a chair of this design, attributed to the architect Charles Percier, is in a private collection, and several chairs of this model by or attributed Georges Jacob (1739-1814, maître in 1765) including two in the French National collections, are illustrated in J-P Samoyault, Le Mobilier Français Consulat et Empire, Paris 2009, p.27 figs. 25-28.
A set of four curule armchairs of identical design and attributed to Jacob were formerly with Maurice Segoura, Paris, sold Christie’s New York, 19 October 2006, lot 204 ($84,000). A related set of four chairs stamped Jacob Frères Rue Meslée was in the collection of the Prince and Princesse Henry de La Tour d'Auvergne-Lauraguais, sold Sotheby’s London, 3 May 2012, lots 54-55 (GBP 84,100).