A Rare Pair of Cabinets by Béfort Jeune

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Object Description

A Rare Pair of Cabinets in the Manner of André-Charles Boulle, 
stamped by Mathieu Béfort dit Béfort Jeune of Paris
Constructed in Bois Noirci, dressed with fine ormolu mounts and brass inlays, and having marble platforms; a true pair, the lockplates opposed, of rectangular form with canted corners, rising from bracket feet, the door panels having, on one, a figure of  Bacchus, God of Wine, and on the other, the figure of Ceres, Goddess of the Harvest, both enclosed within ormolu frames and standing on hemispherical socles, with architectural corner spandrels, and extensive arabesque brass inlays; the lockable doors enclose shelved interiors; the canted angles are dressed with ormolu male herms, issuing Greek key motifs and terminating in stylised ormolu floral appliques, and paterae under; the sides having four paterae at the angles with central male mascarons within brass inlaid rectangular frameworks; running stiff leaf ormolu mounts to the aprons, with shaped Portor marble platforms. Stamped by the maker, ‘Befort Jeune’, and numbered ‘4822’.
French, circa 1870

Object History

A pair of cabinets incorporating identical figures of Ceres and Bacchus in ormolu were sold by Christie’s in 2005, from the renowned Wildenstein Collection (see Christie’s London, 14-15 December, 2005, lot 25. Sold for £680,000).

Object Literature

Béfort Family
Jean-Baptiste Béfort (1783-1840), of Belgian origin, recorded as an ebeniste-marqueteur, and supplied furniture to the Duke of Orleans, and repaired his original Boulle pieces; following in the family business, his two sons, Bernard, the elder, and Mathieu (1813-1880) were noted as fine cabinet makers, creating pieces in the style of the ancien regime, particularly in the manner of André-Charles Boulle.

Denise Ledoux-Lebard. Le mobilier francais du XIXe siècle, 1795-1889 : dictionnaire des ébénistes et des menuisiers, Paris: Éditions de l’amateur, 2000; pp. 47-9.

Christopher Payne. Paris Furniture: The Luxury Market of the 19th Century, Château de Saint-Rémy: Éditions Monelle Hayot, 2018, pp. 253-6.

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