This is an absolutely stunning antique Napoleon III ormolu mounted “Red boulle” marquetry ebonised and cut brass writing table with fabulous ormolu mounts, circa 1860 in date.
It is beautifully inlaid in cut brass with winged cherubs, a cupid, flowers, scrolling acanthus foliage and honeysuckle. The capacious drawer front has a classical ormolu female mask and ribbon tied tasselled ormolu escutcheon.
It stands on beautiful cabriole legs with exquisite ormolu mounts.
It is an absolute masterpiece which is sure to get a lot attention wherever it is placed.
In excellent condition having been beautifully restored in our workshops, please see photos for confirmation.
Dimensions in cm:
Height 75 x Width 131 x Depth 81
Height 58 x Width 67 – Kneehole Dimensions
Dimensions in inches:
Height 29.5 x Width 51.6 x Depth 31.9
Height 22.8 x Width 26.4 – Kneehole Dimensions
André-Charles Boulle (1642 – 1732) was the French cabinetmaker who is generally considered to be the preeminent artist in the field of marquetry. His fame in marquetry led to his name being given to a fashion of inlaying known as Boulle (or in 19th-century Britain, Buhl work).
Boulle appears to have been originally a painter, since the first payment to him by the crown of which there is any record (1669) specifies ouvrages de peinture. He was employed for many years at Versailles, where the mirrored walls, the floors of wood mosaic, the inlaid panelling and the marquetry furniture in the Cabinet du Dauphin were regarded as his most remarkable work. These rooms were long since dismantled and their contents dispersed, but Boulle’s drawings for the work are in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.
His royal commissions were numerous, as we learn both from the Comptes des B timents du Roi and from the correspondence of Louvois. Not only the most magnificent of French monarchs, but foreign princes and the great nobles and financiers of his own country crowded to him with commissions, and the mot of the abbé de Marolles, Boulle y lourne en ovale, has become a stock quotation in the literature of French cabinetmaking.
Ormolu (from French ‘or moulu’, signifying ground or pounded gold) is an 18th-century English term for applying finely ground, high-carat gold in a mercury amalgam to an object of bronze.The mercury is driven off in a kiln leaving behind a gold-coloured veneer known as ‘gilt bronze’.
The manufacture of true ormolu employs a process known as mercury-gilding or fire-gilding, in which a solution of nitrate of mercury is applied to a piece of copper, brass, or bronze, followed by the application of an amalgam of gold and mercury. The item was then exposed to extreme heat until the mercury burned off and the gold remained, adhered to the metal object.
No true ormolu was produced in France after around 1830 because legislation had outlawed the use of mercury. Therefore, other techniques were used instead but nothing surpasses the original mercury-firing ormolu method for sheer beauty and richness of colour. Electroplating is the most common modern technique. Ormolu techniques are essentially the same as those used on silver, to produce silver-gilt (also known as vermeil).
Our reference: 06013e