FURNITURE DECORATED WITH PORCELAIN PLAQUES

Around 1758 Poirier conceived the idea of applying Sevres porcelain plaques to furniture, for which he ordered the ebenisterie from В. V. R. B. or R. V. L. C. These were mainly small tables called chiffonnieres’ which could double up as table-cabarets or writing- tables. At least six examples by В. V. R. B. are known, of which most are lacquered with a trelliswork pattern

echoing the painting on the porcelain plaques. The plaques arc the same shape and size as the trays sold by the Sevres manufactory and it is clear that the orig­inal idea was to combine two previously disparate ele­ments on one piece of furniture: the table and the cabaret. As early as 1748, Lazare Duvaux sold them as an ensemble and took care to match them as one may read in his Livre Journal: ‘a table in green lacquer with flowers, covered with velvet and silvered cornets with a cabaret similarly glazed; four cups and saucers, sugar pot and Meissen teapot painted with natural flowers on a green ground’. The first, it would seem, and the most sumptuous of all his porcelain-mounted furni­ture. was the commode decorated with ninety

/1901 Secreta ire-bookcase, attributed to В. V. R. B., supplied in 1755 by Імгате Duvaux for

Louis XV <if the Trianon; floral

marquetry on a tulipwood ground. (MusJe du Mansi

plaques, for the most part dated 1758, made for Mile de Sens, which belonged later to the Prince de Conde [ 189]. Plaques with serpentine outline of this very spe­cial type continued to be made at Sevres, but no other commode of this type was made, and the plaques were used to decorate the friezes on a number of bureaux by Joseph Baumhauer, with large gilt-bronze borders designed to mask the irregular outline.

Bernard III Vanrisamburgh. the eldest of Bernard IPs six children, seems to have been born around 1731-32. In 1764 his father became ill and he bought his father’s workshop with the furniture, finished and unfinished, that was in stock and the bronze models (see Appendix), at the same time renting part of the family home in the ruedeCharenton. In 1767 Bernard III married Fran^oise Joitant. daughter of a menuisier, from Dourdan, with a dowry of 2,500 livres. At this time he was a journeyman ebeniste living with his mother. He did not receive his mastership, but. thanks to his mother’s rights as the widow of a master, he was able to keep the workshop in operation until her death around 1774. He seems above all to have been a sculp – teur and the creator of models for gilt-bronze mounts and devoted himself exclusively to this profession af­ter 1775. He is mentioned in the documents of bank­ruptcy of a bronze-caster in 1786 as a ’modeller in plaster’ and he was described as ‘sculpteur’ at the time of his death in 1800.

11911 Low cabinet in bms satini, one of a pair stamped В. V. R. B.. with the marks of the

Chateau de Bellevue. (Archives Galerie Aivline, Paris)

APPENDIX

UST OF WORKS. MOUNTS AND £b£NISTERIE TOOLS SOM) BY BERNARD VANRtSAMBURt 111 TO HIS SON BERNARD VANRISAMBURGH. 18 OCTOBER 1764; min. cent. in/xxviii/389

II Two old commode carcases of which one has the bronze frames for the doors ami skies, as well as the upper and lower mouldings, still to be fixed

2) Item a bureau 5 pieds long ready to be lacquered ami with its moulded bronze rim

3) Item a serre-papiers without stand or clock, with rich mounts 4 ] Item one commotlc 5 pieds long ready to be lacquered

5| Item 2 commodes 3 pieds and 2 pieds long also ready to be lacquered

6| Item 2 clock-cases for a serre-papiers with mounts 71 The carcase of a bureau 6 pieds long in rather poor condition

8) Another one of 4 pieds in the same condition

9) The carcase of a serre – l>apicrs and its stand

10) Item the carcase of a commode 5 pieds long

III Item 2 further commode carcases each 3 pieds long

12J Item 3 pairs of encoignures of different sizes
131 Item 2 Інчічкіе tables in tulipwood veneered inside 141 Item 2 small bureaux of 3 pieds in length, at carcase stage 15) item the carcase of a table of 3 pieds in length, with shelves and drawers at each end 16| Item 3 small secretaire carcases in jx>or condition

17) Item a small secretaire carcase veneered inskle

18) Item a carcase of a chiffonnier in oak

19) Item 2 chiffonnier carcases

20) Item 2 small carcases of ‘mignonnette’ tables

21) Item the small carcase of a commode with drawers fitted for jewels, with small divisions

22) Item the carcase of a poor example of an encoignure

Took

23) Item 3 workbenches complete with tools

24) Item 12 saws, both hand and mechanical

25) Item 6 rods. 9 cramps. 12 clamps. 6 hot irons. 3 pots of glue. 5 candlesticks

26) Item 3 marquetry saws with different hand tools of all kinds

27) Item 4 vices on stands

28) Item one old hand vice, shears, files, hammers, stone drills and other tools

Mounts

29) Item 748 livres. some in models, some in overcasts, unchased bronze and raw metal at 40 sols the livre; item 216 livres of lead at 20L the 10; plus three cords of oak. more than 100 livres.

altogether mounting to the sum of 3,0001.

11921 Commode stamped В. V. R. B., c. і 766- 70. probably made by Bernard III Vanrisamburgh who made several other commodes and encoignures of the same model.

IMetropolitan Museum of Art, New York: Kress Bequest I

Germain