Property of a Prince
A LOUIS XV STYLE GILT-BRONZE MOUNTED KINGWOOD BUREAU DE DAME CIRCA 1880
the superstructure with integral clock surmounted by cherub, flanked on both sides with two short drawers, the writing surface with later leather inset above three frieze drawers and two writing slides with green leather insets to either side
133cm. high, 130cm. wide, 68cm. deep; 4ft. 4½in., 4ft. 3¼in., 2ft. 2¾in.
Overall in good conserved condition and ready to use. Minor loses to veneers notably to middle frieze drawer. Keys lacking and stoppers lacking to two drawers. With minor old marks and scratches consistent with age and use.
"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. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
Sotheby's London, 24 May 1996, lot 164
The design of this bureau de dame is closely related to the work of one of the leading Parisian ébéniste in the 19th century, François Linke (1855 - 1946), and his celebrated designer Léon Messagé (1842-1901). The figure of the ‘enfant guerrier’ most probably based on one of Messagé’s design from his Cahier des Dessins & Croquis, Style Louis XV. Almost identical figures are found on an inkstand signed Messagé, a watercolour of a longcase clock by Messagé and at the centre of a table’s stretcher (see C. Payne, François Linke, 1855-1946, The Belle Epoque of French Furniture, Woodbridge, 2003, p. 72, pl. 67, p.184, pl. 200 and p.241, pl.257).
A further example by Théodore Millet, whose furniture firm is known to have collaborated with Messagé, features an identical cherub (illustrated in C. Payne, Paris Furniture: The Luxury Market of the 19th Century, 2018, p.470. Desks of similar shape, stamped by François Linke, were sold Sotheby's Paris, 4-5 November 2015, lot 567 and Sotheby's New York, 22 October 2008, lot 180.