An exceptionally fine pair of mahogany armchairs in the Empire taste, raised on superbly sculptural winged lion monopodiae and with exquisitely detailed neoclassical decoration. Two pairs currently available.
Early 19th century, possibly North European, by repute removed from the Hermitage at Klampenborg, Copenhagen.
Why we like them
We love the imposing scale and the sculptural quality of these exceptional armchairs, superbly handcrafted and beautifully reupholstered in a luxurious gold Claremont silk.
A new grand style in architecture and interior decoration that later became known as the Empire was conceived by Charles Percier (1764-1838) and Pierre Francoise Leonard Fontaine (1762-1853), the official architects to the court of Napoleon. Their Recueil de décorations intérieures (1812) was an essential handbook of this new style. The excavations of Pompeii and Herculaneum in the mid-18th century, along with Napoleon’s expeditions to Syria and Egypt in 1798-1801, in which a military mission was followed by an archaeological expedition, were the sources for its inspiration.
The ancient decorative motifs found on Napoleon’s missions, were then incorporated into the designs of Percier and Fonaine. The emblem of a winged lion was intended to idealise Napoleon’s leadership and the French state. It was from France this classic design spread throughout much of Europe and the United States, with Percier and Fontaine known to have influenced the leading English designers such as the royal architect Henry Holland, Charles Heathcote Tatham and Thomas Hope.
A similar set of four fauteuils sold at Christie’s London, Robert de Balkany Rome & the Côte d’Azur 22 – 23 March 2017, lot 454. For a further related armchair stamped G.Jacob see Koller Auktionen, Geneva, 21 September 2017, lot 1439.