This is a beautiful pair of antique French Second Empire mahogany and ormolu mounted armchairs circa 1880 in date.
The mahogany is beautiful in colour and has been embellished with striking ormolu mounts.
There is an ormolu sphinx decorating each arm and the chairs are decorated with exquisite ormolu mounts consisting of laurel wreaths, rosettes and palmette mounts, and the chairs are raised on ormolu feet.
The overstuffed seats have been reupholstered in a sumptuous tan leather.
Add a touch of elegance to your home with this exceptional antique pair of armchairs.
In excellent condition having been beautifully cleaned,polished waxed and reupholstered in our workshops, please see photos for confirmation.
Dimensions in cm:
Height 80 x Width 60 x Depth 55
Height 48 – Seat height
Dimensions in inches:
Height 31.5 x Width 23.6 x Depth 21.7
Height 18.9 – Seat height
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 – (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.
After around 1830 because legislation had outlawed the use of mercury other techniques were used instead. Electroplating is the most common modern technique. Ormolu techniques are essentially the same as those used on silver, to produce silver-gilt..
Our reference: A1115