Kingwood, Vernis Martin and Gilt-Bronze mounted side cabinet by Linke
French, Late 19th Century
Height 127cm, width 147cm, depth 50cm
Made in the late-nineteenth century in the height of the French Belle Époque, this exceptional ormolu, kingwood, and Vernis Martin cabinet is an exquisite example of the work of Francois Linke, a leading ébéniste and craftsman of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century. Bearing significant similarities to examples by Joseph-Emmanuel Zwiener, another leading maker with whom Linke probably worked early in his career, it consists of a central three-shelved cabinet space, decorated with a Classical Vernis Martin panel, a veined marble top, and an array of intricate and meticulously cast ormolu mounts.
The cabinet features a fleur-de-pecher marble top, above an acanthus cast leaf-and-dart style frieze, with a pair of female herms on either frontal corner, the bodies of which taper into foliate beams that extend to the lion’s paw feet. The central panel contains a Classical-style painting of a warrior goddess standing above a hero who lies on the ground, his arms strewn before him, as she calls him to action. This is centred beneath by a grotesque mask, and above by a shell-shaped mount, distinctive of Linke’s work.
Behind the lock mount the stamp reads ‘CT. LINKE / SERRURERIE / PARIS’, and the wood is stamped ‘F. LINKE’ five times. The tones and grains of the wood contrast and combine beautifully to accentuate the cabinet’s elegant design and structure; the radiant, immaculately cast ormolu mounts demonstrate Linke’s exceptional artistry and style, and together the variety of materials and techniques create an unmissable, and unparalleled piece of French antique craftsmanship and design.