A Louis XV Style Gilt-Bronze Mounted Marquetry Commode with Marble Top, Possibly by François Linke.
Stamped ‘Mon LEGER’ to the back of the commode for the retailer Émile Léger et Cie.
This unusual marquetry and gilt-bronze mounted commode is of exceptional quality. It has a shaped marble top above two drawers finely inlaid with scrolling foliate marquetry. The most striking aspect of the commode is the unusual treatment of the gilt-bronze corner mounts, with the inclusion of finely cast wings to the fronded acanthus scrolls.
This winged motif would suggest the design of the famous Parisian sculptor Léon Messagé who worked extensively with François Linke. He incorporated the ‘wing motif’ on a number of different designs for Linke furniture, most notably as the handles for the ‘Commode Louis XV à trois tiroirs avec marquetery violette’ no. 245 and the Bureau Plat, no. 132. It might be assumed that this device is Messagé’s idea of an amusing play on his own family name, the wings being the attributes of Mercury the messenger.
Émile Léger in partnership with Albert Albrecht was trading in Paris at 3, Boulevard Richard Lenoir as early as 1866 with additional premises at 4 Boulevard Beaumarchais and workshops at the famous rue de Charonne. In 1885 Léger took sole control of the company and began a process of expansion, the business moving to the prestigious Place des Vosges in 1893. The company was extremely successful, commissioning work from some of the finest makers of the day, including François Linke, and exhibiting their own work at many of the important international exhibitions of the period. Emile Léger was awarded a silver medal at the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1878 and again in 1889.