A Belle Epoque Gilt-Bronze Mounted Mahogany Vitrine Cabinet by François Linke

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Object Description

A Belle Epoque Gilt-Bronze Mounted Mahogany Vitrine Cabinet by François Linke.

Of large proportions with central arched glazed door flanked to each side by a recessed glazed door. The side panels glazed. Each with gilt-bronze rocaille cast frames. The interior with three glass shelves. Raised on cabriole legs with lion paw sabots.

Signed to one corner mount, ‘F. Linke’.

French, Circa 1900.

Object History

This magnificent vitrine cabinet or bibliothèque (bookcase) relates to Linke’s titled piece ‘Grand bibliothèque Louis XV 4 portes’ which was a unique commission for a client called Joseph Cordier and recorded under Index Number 909 in Linke’s register. To give some indication of the complexity and cost of making such a cabinet, Christopher Payne notes that the cabinetmaking for Index Number 909 was carried out by Alfred Jenicek over a total of 1,331 ½ hours, at 81 centimes per hour. The bronze fitter, Alfred Couchy, was paid at the higher rate of 90 centimes per hour for exacting work which took 498 hours. The total making costs were 4,292 francs and the retail price was 9,000 francs in circa 1901. Index Number 909 although visually similar to the present cabinet, has more elaborate gilt-bronze mounts and is thought to have been a unique piece. It was sold from A Private Collection Volume I, Sotheby’s, New York, 26 October 2006, lot 18 for $144,000.

The design of this vitrine cabinet is indebted to the Louis XV, or rococo, style which Linke interpreted with the help of the sculptor Léon Messagé to create his distinctive Art Nouveau accented furniture which was awarded a gold medal at the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle. The magnum opus of his designs for the Paris exhibition is ‘La Grande Bibliothèque’, a much enlarged and ornamented bookcase, which is also in the collection of Adrian Alan (Ref No: B67030).

François Linke (1855 – 1946) was the most important Parisian cabinet maker of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and possibly the most sought after cabinet maker of his period.

Object Literature

Payne, Christopher. François Linke, (1855 – 1946), The Belle Époque of French Furniture, Antique Collectors’ Club, (Woodbridge, UK), 2003.

Object Details

Dealer Opening Times

By appointment only.

Dealer Contact

+44 (0)20 7495 2324
+447500 832323

Dealer Location

Audley House, 3 The Grange
Albion Street, Brighton
West Sussex BN42 4EN

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