A Fine Louis XV Style Gilt-Bronze Mounted Mahogany Side-Cabinet In The Manner of Charles Cressent, Attributed to François Linke.
French, Circa 1890.
This fine side cabinet or ‘Bas d’Armoire aux singes’ has a Brèche d’Alep marble top above a pair of cupboard doors opening to an interior fitted with two shelves. The cupbaord doors are mounted with fine gilt-bronze mounts depicting a charming scene of a tight rope walking monkey beneath a canopy and supported by monkeys playing musical instruments. The angles of the cabinet are mounted with finely cast acanthus espagnolettes and the sides with gilt-bronze encadrement.
A small number of signed examples of this model by François Linke are known, each of identical dimensions and ornamentation.
Charles Cressent (1685-1768) was a French leading ébéniste and sculptor of the late Régence and early Rococo periods, becoming a master sculptor in 1719. He worked as both ébéniste and sculptor to the Regent, Philippe II, Duc d’Orléans. His furniture was often decorated with plain veneers, usually of satinwood and amaranth, or veneers in patterns of parquetry.
Cressent was best known for the highly sculptural gilt bronze mounts that ornamented his furniture. In order to supervise production and guarantee the quality of his mounts, he employed master casters and gilders in his workshop. This practice broke the strict rules of the French guild system, and the guild prosecuted him for practising the two professions of cabinet making and gilding in the same workshop. In order to pay the resulting fines, Cressent was forced to hold sales of his stock. The catalogues from these auctions, which he wrote himself, provide important evidence to identify his works, as Cressent’s furniture was always unsigned.