Pair of Napoléon III Style Ebony and Pietre Dure Bookcases

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Object Description

A Very Fine Pair of Napoléon III Style Ebony and Pietre Dure Bookcases Attributed to Auguste-Hippolyte Sauvrezy (1815-1854).

The Locks Signed ‘Huby Fils’.

This exceptional pair of ebonised bookcases each have a moulded cornice above a pair of glazed doors set within finely cast gilt-bronze frames and enclosing three adjustable shelves, all above a frieze drawer and a pair of cupboards with moulded frames.

The frieze beneath the cornice is inlaid with panels of Brèche Violette marble centred by a lozenge of Rouge Griotte. The uprights and frieze drawer of each bookcase are inlaid in Sarrancolin with cabochons of Lapis Lazuli; the frieze drawer centred by a lozenge of Verde Antico.

Object History

Sauvrezy, specialised in ebonised furniture often in the classical style and nearly always incorporating pietre dure or fine hard stone inlay.

Auguste-Hyppolyte Sauvrezy (1815-1884), was born in Laon on May 7th 1815. Following his apprenticeship he moved to Paris where he fulfilled his desire to learn about classical sculpture and cabinetmaking, attending art classes and travelling to Italy.

By the 1840’s he had opened a shop and manufactory at 23 rue de Turenne and 97 rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, as a furniture maker and upholsterer. He specialised in classical forms and ebonised furniture often incorporating rare and fine hard stone inlays and veneers. Later in his career he ceased to do upholstery and turned his attention to the design and creation of exhibition quality sculptural furniture often in the Renaissance style.

He exhibited at many of the major exhibitions of the nineteenth century including the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1855 where he exhibited ebonised furniture, carved and gilded and the the 1867 Exhibition where he showed design furniture. He was awarded a gold medal at 1878 Paris Exhibition where he exhibited bedroom furniture in the Louis XVI style. It was received to great acclaim, contemporary commentators stating that:

“… he was a glorious modern ébéniste, similar in genius to those of the renaissance, which through his training he was familiar with. His work is distinct, noble and elegant.”

Wallis George writing in the Art Journal of 1867 commented on the illustration of a cabinet, now in the Musée d’Orsay, that:

“Mr Sauvrezy a principle ébéniste of Paris allows us to engrave one of his many beautiful cabinets. It is a production of much grace, designed with exceeding skill, and manifesting great refinement in the finish of all the parts.”

He died in 1884 at which time his furniture, and the wood carvings that adorned his workshops were auctioned.

Object Literature

Art Journal: ‘L’Exposition universelle de 1867’, Paris, 1867, pl.322.
Alcouffe Daniel – Bascou Marc – Dion-Tenebaum Anne – Thiébaut Philippe: ‘Le Arti decorative alle grandi esposizioni universali 1851-1900’, Milan, 1988.
Ledoux-Lebard, Denise: ‘Les Ebenistes Du XIXe Siecle’, Paris, 1965, p. 571

Object Details

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