An Extremely Rare and Large Napoleonic Style Empire Gilt-Bronze Mounted Mahogany Bedstead, with a rectangular headboard flanked by carved and parcel gilt swans on top of parcel gilt columnar supports. The side rails are decorated with gilt bronze foliage centering a torch. The footboard is similarly decorated and centered by a figural medallion within a ribbon tied laurel wreath and flanked by columnar supports each topped by a star studded sphere.
This impressive example is based on the bed made by the prominent Paris furniture maker Jacob Desmalter for the bedroom of the Empress Josephine at the Chateau de Malmaison during the refurbishment of 1810. The richness and magnificent scale of the bed is in keeping with Napoleon’s confidence and belief in the Empire Period.
The swans that flank the headboard are of particular significance for this period, as they were a particular fondness of Empress Josephine, and are to be found throughout the state rooms at Malmaison. Swans became an ornamental element on everything from chair arms, appliqués or lamp brackets, to carpets and curtains.