A 19th Century French kingwood side cabinet C1860 in date.
This stunning antique French side cabinet is a true rarity. It has been accomplished in Kingwood, an exotic and valuable veneer.
Adding to its truly unique character it has been decorated with a plethora of exquisite gilded ormolu mounts and is further embellished by the addition of two hand- painted oval French Sevres porcelain plaques depicting lovers.
Surmounted with a beautiful Carrara marble top that has an elegant three quarter pierced brass gallery, over a pair of ormolu mounted doors with Sevres plaques, that open to reveal a spacious cupboard with a central shelf, and raised on a plinth base and small turned feet.
With original key and working lock.
In excellent condition having been beautifully restored in our workshops, please see photos for confirmation.
Dimensions in cm:
Height 105 x Width 82 x Depth 32
Dimensions in inches:
Height 3 feet, 5 inches x Width 2 feet, 8 inches x Depth 1 foot, 1 inch
Sevres Porcelain traces its roots in France to early craftsmen who had small manufacturing operations in such places as Lille, Rouen. St. Cloud, and most notably Chantilly. It is from Chantilly that a cadre of workers migrated to the Chateau de Vincennes near Paris to form a larger porcelain manufactory in 1738.
French King Louis XV, perhaps inspired by his rumoured relationship with mistress Madame de Pompadour, took an intense interest in porcelain and moved the operation in 1756 to even larger quarters in the Paris suburb of Sevres. Sevres was also conveniently near the home of Madame de Pompadour and the King’s own Palace at Versailles.
From the outset the king’s clear aim was to produce Sevres Porcelain that surpassed the established Saxony works of Meissen and Dresden. Though the French lacked an ample supply of kaolin, a required ingredient for hard-paste porcelain (pate dure), their soft-paste porcelain (pate tendre) was fired at a lower temperature and was thus compatible with a wider variety of colours and glazes that in many cases were also richer and more vivid. Unglazed white Sevres Porcelain “biscuit” figurines were also a great success. However, soft-paste Sevres Porcelain was more easily broken. Therefore, early pieces of Sevres Porcelain that remain intact have become rare indeed.
The Sevres Porcelain manufactory always seemed to be in dire financial straits despite the incredibly fine works it produced. In fact, the king’s insistence that only the finest items be created may have contributed to the difficulties. Only a limited number of European nobility could afford the extravagant prices demanded for such works. King Louis XV and eventually his heir, the ill-fated Louis XVI, were obliged to invest heavily in the enterprise. Ultimately, the Sevres Porcelain Factory produced items under the name of “Royal” and thus the well-known Sevres mark was born. King Louis XV even mandated laws that severely restricted other porcelain production in France so as to retain a near monopoly for his Sevres Porcelain. The king even willingly became chief salesman for the finest of his products, hosting an annual New Year’s Day showing for French nobility in his private quarters at Versailles. He eagerly circulated among potential buyers, pitching the merits of ownership and policing the occasional light-fingered guest.
Sevres Porcelain may have indeed given the makers of Meissen and Dresden a run for their money by the end of the 18th Century but for the French Revolution. By 1800, the Sevres Porcelain Works were practically out of business due to the economic devastation of the new French Republic.
About the time when Napoleon Bonaparte named himself Emperor of France (1804), a new director was named for the Sevres Porcelain Manufactory. Alexandre Brongniart, highly educated in many fields, resurrected Sevres Porcelain. Soft-paste porcelain was eliminated altogether thanks to the earlier discovery of kaolin near Limoges. For four decades until his death, Brongniart presided over monumental progress for Sevres Porcelain, catering not only to Napoleon himself, but at last to include the more financially profitable mid-priced market in the emerging middle class.
Kingwood is a classic furniture wood, almost exclusively used for inlays on very fine furniture. Occasionally it is used in the solid for small items and turned work, including parts of billiard cues, e.g., those made by John Parris. It is brownish-purple with many fine darker stripes and occasional irregular swirls. Occasionally it contains pale streaks of a similar colour to sapwood.
The wood is very dense and hard and can be brought to a spectacular finish. it turns well but due to its density and hardness can be difficult to work with hand tools. It also has a tendency to blunt the tools due to its abrasive properties.
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).
Carrara marble – is a type of white or blue-grey marble popular for use in sculpture and building decor. It is quarried at the city of Carrara in the province of Massa-Carrara (Tuscany, Italy).
Carrara marble has been used since the time of Ancient Rome; the Pantheon and Trajan’s Column in Rome are constructed of it. Many sculptures of the Renaissance, such as Michelangelo’s David, were carved from Carrara marble. For Michelangelo at least, Carrara marble was valued above all other stone, except perhaps that of his own quarry in Pietrasanta. The Marble Arch in London and the Duomo di Siena are also made from this stone, as are the interiors of Manila Cathedral, the cold-white marbles of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque and the campus of Harvard Medical School.
Our reference: 07611
Please feel free to email or call us to arrange a viewing in our North London warehouse.
We ship worldwide and deliver to Mainland UK addresses free of charge.
A shipping cost to all other destinations must be requested prior to purchase.
Delivery and return policy:
We require that someone be home on the agreed delivery day if applicable, otherwise a redelivery fee will apply.
In accordance with Distance Selling Regulations, we offer a 14-day money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with the item.
The item must be returned in its original packaging and condition.
Unless the item is not as described in a material way, the buyer is responsible for return shipping expenses.
Buyers are fully responsible for any customs duties or local taxes that may be incurred on items sent outside of the European Union.