Antique French Empire Ormolu Mounted Desk 19th Century


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Object Description

A superb Napoleon III Ormolu Mounted Empire mahogany pedestal desk circa 1880 in date.

This imposing Empire Revival pedestal desk is mounted with fine ormolu neo-classical mounts including rosettes, escutcheons and palmettes.

It has a rectangular top with an inset gilt-tooled green leather writing surface above three frieze drawers flanked by ormolu Pharaonic herms maiden masks with nemes headress and feet. Each cupboard door opens to reveal three slides / drawers in each pedestal and the desk is raised on plinth bases with lion paw feet.

The desk is freestanding with a beautifully panelled back and comes complete with the original working locks and keys.

This desk will soon become the centrepiece of your furniture collection, there is no mistaking the sophisticated quality and design and it is certain to enhance the style and elegance of any living area, bedroom, or reception.

In excellent condition having been beautifully cleaned, polished, waxed and releathered in our workshops, please see photos for confirmation.

Dimensions in cm:
Height 78 x Width 160 x Depth 84 – Desk
Height 95 x Width 63 x Depth 58 – Armchair

Dimensions in inches:
Height 2 foot, 7 inches x Width 5 foot, 3 inches x Depth 2 foot, 9 inches – Desk
Height 3 feet, 1 inch x Width 2 feet, 1 inch x Depth 1 foot, 11 inches – Armchair

Empire style,
is an early-19th-century design movement in architecture, furniture, other decorative arts, and the visual arts followed in Europe and America until around 1830.

The style originated in and takes its name from the rule of Napoleon I in the First French Empire, where it was intended to idealize Napoleon’s leadership and the French state. The style corresponds to the Biedermeier style in the German-speaking lands, Federal style in the United States and to the Regency style in Britain. The previous style was called Louis XVI style, in France.

The Empire style was based on aspects of the Roman Empire. It is the second phase of neoclassicism which is also called “Directoire”, after a goverment system.
Furniture typically had symbols and ornaments borrowed from the glorious ancient Greek and Roman empires.

The furniture was made from heavy woods such as mahogany and ebony, imported from the colonies, with dark finishes often with decorative bronze mounts. Marble tops were popular as were Egyptian motifs like sphinxes, griffins, urns and eagles and the Napoleonic symbols, the eagle, the bee, the initials “I” and a large “N.”
Gilded bronze (ormolu) details displayed a high level of craftsmanship.

Ormolu – Gilt Bronze (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.

Our reference: A2567a

Object Details

  • Style
  • dimensions
    W:160 x H:78 x D:84 centimeters
  • period
  • country
  • year
    circa 1880

Dealer Opening Times

We are open weekly as follows:

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10:00 - 17:00
10:00 - 17:00
10:00 - 17:00
10:00 - 17:00

Dealer Contact

+44 (0)20 8809 9605

Dealer Location

Manor Warehouse
318 Green Lanes
N4 1BX

Please note that we are also open on alternate Saturdays. Please call to confirm.

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