Category FRENCH FURNITURE MAKERS

THE STAMP

Although a stamp is often confused with a signature, it actually has nothing to <lo with it. I’a i from being an indication of authorship of an artist proud of his work, such as the signature of a painter or sculptor, the stamp was merely an obligatory mark for every Parisian master ebeniste The statutes of 1751 stipulated precisely: ‘Each master must have his own individual mark and likewise the guild, impressions of which stamps shall be lodged at the office on a sheet of lead, and the said mas­ters may not sujiply any work – except to the Bitiments to which this does not apply – which has not first been marked with their stamp, on pain of confiscation and a fine of 20 livres for each piece not marked...

>

GLOSSARY OF FRENCH TERMS

{including imported ones) but who could not produce them himself.

N larqucierie: I k-corative veneer of exotic woods, sometimes stained, or other materials in contrasting colours and shapes ap|>lied to the carcase of furniture. The design was first stuck to the wood, and the different l>aits were cut mit by hand with a fine marquetry saw: the pattern was then reassembled and glued to the carcase Until the middle of the eight­eenth century the term ‘marqueterie’ meant marqueterie Boulle. as dis­tinct from ‘marqueterie dc fleurs’. which meant floral marquetry in ivood veneer.

Marqueterie Boulle: Marquetry using metal (brass, copper or pewter i in combination with tortoiseshell or ebony When in ‘premiere parlie’, the ground ts tortoiseshell or ebony with metal inlays: when in ‘centre partic...

>

GLOSSARY OF FRENCH TERMS

Armoirc: T. ill cupboard. with hinged doors, containing shelves or drawers

Has d’armoire: Low cupboard. not as deep as a commode a portes

Bihlioilu-quc: Bookcase of any size with either glazed or wire mesh doors, the mesh sometimes hacked with silk.

Hois de bout: Wood cut across the gram, the grain being user! in mar­quetry to depict strikingly naturalistic leafage or flowers.

Honheur-du-jour: Small lady’s desk with a superstructure, with either open shelves, small cuplxxirds. drawers, or a tambour front; in fashion c.

1770-1800.

Bronze dorc: Gilt-bronze Л technique of covering metal (especially bronze) furnishings агмі mounts with a layer of gold leaf, widespread in the eighteenth century...

>

EXOTIC WOODS OR BOIS DES il. ES’

Amaranih (purplcwood) comes from Brazil or Dutch Guiana; it was user! for veneering from the time of l. oms XIV and even sometimes in solid wood. Very fashionable at the beginning of the eighteenth century, it was fnxpicntly used as a plain veneer on commodes and bureaux plats. Later it was used to form a dark framework surround to bo» sating or tulipwood Its colour. reddish violet with pale veins, becomes dark – brown with age

BoLs do Cayenne is a bois sat me. pale and very goklen. used for instance in the 1730s by Cressent

Bois de citron or d’hispanillc. from San Domingo, is pale yellow in colour s]xittcd with darker yellow and very different from citronnicr. Bois jaunc is an imprecise eighteenth-century term probaNy denoting satinwood.

Bois saline, from (iuiana and San I Ximingo...

>

MOLITOR. 1755-1833: MASTER 1787

Bernard Molitor was born in Betxdorf in Lux­embourg and settled while still very young in Paris, certainly before 1778. In that year he is mentioned in the Petites Affichcs advertising a product to kill bugs. At the time he was established at the Arsenal where he subleased a workshop. In 1782 he advertised ‘hand-warmers. . . made in the form of books, for use in church, in a carriage, at the theatre or when travelling’. These ingenious little boxes were in mahogany or walnut and contained metal canisters designed to hold preheated brickettes or stones. He did not become a master until 1787. He must have practised the craft of ebeniste for some time before this. as. on the occasion of his marriage in 1788. his

assets were estimated at the considerable sum of

15,0 livres...

>

STOGKEL

1743-1802; MASTER 1775

S

tockel was of German origin and settled in Paris before 1769. On gaining his mastership he es­tablished himself in the rue de Charenton where he practised his craft until the Revolution, when he moved to 59 rue des Fosses-du-Temple. His stamp is found on furniture almost always in mahogany and in severe Neo-classical style: for example, the massive commode with doors and fasces at the corners and the secretaire en cabinet in the Musee des Arts Decoratifs, or the bureau plat mounted with lictors’ fasces in the Assemblee Nationale. This last piece confirms the at­tribution to Stockel of a small unstamped ebony bureau plat which was formerly in the Grognot and Joinel Collections and which has the same shape and the same fasces (525]...

>

SCHWERDFEGER

ACTIVE c. 1760-90

V

ery little is known of Jean-Ferdinand Schwerd – feger. an ebeniste of German origin, other than that he settled in Paris before 1760 (when he was recorded as witness at the marriage of Stumpff, one of his fellow ebenistes). He did not become a master until 1786. and stamped very little of his work. The few known pieces by him must have formed a part of an exceptional ensemble executed or intended for Marie-Antoinette. It comprised the important jewel-cabinet ordered in 1787 by Bonnefoy-Duplan after drawings by Dugourc [518]. as well as the work­table and console in the Petit Trianon. These pieces, decorated with gilt-bronze basket work motifs, orna­mented the ‘trellis bedroom’ of Marie-Antoinette at
the Petit Trianon, where they matched the clock (still in situ...

>

SCHNEIDER

MASTER 1786

Born in Augsburg, Schneider settled in Paris at an unknown date; in the 1780s he was working as an independent artisan in the rue du Fau- bourg-Saint-Antoine. Under the name of Gaspard he supplied the Garde-Meuble Royal in October 1785 with a ‘veneered secretaire 47г pieds in length, the same proportions as one made by M. Riesener, well made, with matt gilt mounts by Thomire, the whole manufactured in good order 820L’. Shortly after Car­lin’s death he married his widow, Marie-Catherine Oeben. The marriage-contract indicates that Schneider enjoyed a certain affluence at that time. He took over Carlin’s workshop, became a master on 15 March 1786, and produced or modified porcelain, ma­hogany and ebony pieces in the style of Carlin for Daguerre...

>