Antique French Second Empire Study Suite-Bookcase Desk Pair Armchairs 19th C

GBP 13,000.00

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Object Description

This is an antique French 2nd Empire flame mahogany library suite consisting of a fine bookcase, a desk and a pair of armchairs with fabulous matching ormolu mounts, circa 1880 in date.

The stunning bookcase is decorated with ormolu mounts in typical Empire style. The pair of glazed doors enclose six adjustable shelves and the bookcase sits on beautiful ormolu lion’s paw feet.

The desks top has a striking gold tooled black leather inset writing surface which has a decorative geometric inlaid satinwood and ebony border around it.

It features beautifully cast gilded ormolu mounts including angels, pharaonic herms above paw feet and swan escutcheons. It is further enhanced with male masks wearing nemes headress’s on the sides, making it an incredibly imposing and impressive item of furniture.

The pair of chairs feature an ormolu sphinx decorating each arm, are decorated with exquisite ormolu mounts consisting of laurel wreaths, rosettes and palmette mounts and are raised on ormolu feet.
The overstuffed seats have been reupholstered in a sumptuous tan leather.

It is a lovely suite which will add sophistication to any library.

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

Dimensions in cm:
Height 189 x Width 188 x Depth 45 – Bookcase
Height 76 x Width 150 x Depth 80 – Desk
Height 80 x Width 65 x Depth 55 – Pair chairs

Dimensions in inches:
Height 74.4 x Width 74.0 x Depth 17.7 – Bookcase
Height 29.9 x Width 59.1 x Depth 31.5 – Desk
Height 31.5 x Width 25.6 x Depth 21.7 – Pair chairs

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.

Flame Mahogany – Thomas Sheraton – 18th century furniture designer, once characterized mahogany as “best suited to furniture where strength is demanded as well as a wood that works up easily, has a beautiful figure and polishes so well that it is an ornament to any room in which it may be placed.” Matching his words to his work, Sheraton designed much mahogany furniture. The qualities that impressed Sheraton are particularly evident in a distinctive pattern of wood called “flame mahogany.”

The flame figure in the wood is revealed by slicing through the face of the branch at the point where it joins another element of the tree.

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: A1113B

Object Details

Dealer Opening Times

We are open weekly as follows:

Monday
9:00 - 17:00
Tuesday
9:00 - 17:00
Wednesday
9:00 - 17:00
Thursday
9:00 - 17:00
Friday
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Saturday
Closed
Sunday
Closed

Dealer Contact

Telephone
+44 (0)20 8809 9605
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Dealer Location

Manor Warehouse
318 Green Lanes
London
N4 1BX

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

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