ANTOINE – MATHIEUCRIARD

Born in 1724, this eldest son of Mathieu-Criard became a master on 31 July 1749. On 5 August 1748 he married Marie-Suzannc Chevallier. daughter of the ebeniste Jean-Mathieu Chevallier and niece of the ebenistes Charles Chevallier and Jean-Charles Sau – nier. Young Criard received a portion of 6.000 livres from his parents while his bride received 5,300 livres. At first the young couple settled in the rue du Temple, and then from 1750 in the rue de Charenton. The house they rented comprised a workshop as well as liv­ing quarters, indicating that even at that time Antoine-Mathieu worked for himself and not for his father. He probably sold his own furniture on his premises as his lease permitted this trade. The son used the same stamp as his father. ‘M. Criard’, but with much smaller letters.

His business soon flourished and Criard the Younger moved to the elegant quarter of the Palais – Royal where the luxury trade was concentrated. He first settled in 1758 in the rue de Richelieu opposite the Palais-Royal, in a small house with a shop on the street. Then in 1768 he moved to the rue Saint – Thomas-du-Louvre, close to the rue Saint-Honore, where almost all the marchands-merciers were to be

found. In 1770. while still keeping the shop in the rue dc Richelieu, the couple moved again, to the rue de Grenelle. close to the Chevallier in-laws with whom Antoine-Mathieu Criard certainly had a close working relationship. Here his wife died on 5 July 1777.

The inventory taken after her death, dated 23 July 1777, describes a workshop in full production with six work-benches in operation (Criard was then aged 53). The considerable assets comprised 463 pieces of fur­niture valued at almost H).(XX) livres. as well as 4,012 livres in cash. Criard’s personal assets were estimated at 3.184 livres of furnishings. 2.067 livres of silver and 612 livres of jewellery. The house on the rue de Gre­nelle had a store on the ground floor with a shop giv­ing onto the street and a second display area on the first floor. Most of the furniture in stock was veneered (at least 141 pieces were itemized) mainly in tulip – wood (68 pieces) sometimes combined with kingwood (15 pieces) or amaranth (15 pieces): 11 pieces were in bois satine and 14 pieces in mahogany (tables or stands). Marquetry motifs are not usually mentioned: only 9 commodes and 7 encoignures arc veneered in ‘floral marquetry’; 28 pieces in lacquer are described, mostly encoignures: red and yellow are the preferred colours, but there is also a commode ’painted in the

122b] Commode stamped M. mounts struck with crowned ‘C‘. Criard and Delorme (the latter с. 1745-49. (Musee d’Art el

definitely in the role of retailer), d’Histoirc, Geneva)

with trellis kingwood marquetry.

manner of green lacquer’. Of the types of furniture listed, there is a predominance of tables of a variety of types (gamcs-tables. writing-tables, tables a l’an- glaise’. chiffonnieres. night-tables, toilet-tables, gueri – dons, serving-tables, dressing-tables, in all 137 pieces). There were also commodes listed as ‘a la regence’, ‘en tombeau’. *en S’, or a l’antique’. There were 41 encoignures. most of them lacquered. The stock, which was very varied, also included 33 sec­retaires (of which 13 were secretaires a abattant. 10 secretaires en pente and 5 secretaires a cylindre). as well as chests and screens. The considerable quantity of merchandise on the one hand and the absence of any mention of mounts or marble on the other, as well as the low stock of wood and tools, is curious. Did Criard finish his furniture somewhere else, perhaps in the shop in the rue de Richelieu? Or did he mainly supply furniture to his fellow ebenistes who fitted their own mounts before selling them on? The docu­ments of 1777 give the names of three ebenistes among Criard’s debtors, which may perhaps shed light on this matter: Chevallier (528L), Landrin (211L) and Ledoux (36L).

Whatever the case, the inventory of 1777 reveals that Criard had a private clientele. The following names are found; the Due de Cosse (4.248L), Mme de Monteynard (833L), the Due d’Avaray (575L), the Comte de la Marche, future Prince de Conti (various bills relate to him from 1774 for a sum of 945L), the Qjmte de Hussy (291L). and the Comte de Montau – sier (111 L), as well as the actors LeKain and Mile Arnoult.

Antoine-Mathieu Criard went on working until 1783. still at the same address in the rue de Grenelle. He was still working for the Princesse dc Craon in 1782 (bill of 234L). Later he retired to a simple room in the rue du Вас where he died on 24 December 1787 The inventory taken after his death on 2 January 1788 (LXV-489) reveals that he was not very well-off. His assets amounted to 1.261 livres. one-fifteenth of his worth in 1777 at the time of his wife’s death.