JOUBERT

1689-1775; SUPPLIER OF THE GARDE-MEUBLE ROYAL 1751-75; MARCHAND-EBfrsIlSTE

B

om into a family of Parisian menuisiers settled in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, Gilles was the son of Pierre Joubert and Therese Delanois. In 1702, at the age of thirteen, he was apprenticed to Pierre Dasneau, marqueteur in the Faubourg Saint – Antoine, for two and a half years. In 1714 he married Michelle Collet. daughter of Edmond Collet, an ebe – niste of the Faubourg, and cousin of Pierre II Migeon. She brought with her a dowry of 634 livres while Jou- bert’s marriage portion was fixed at 400 livres. The date on which Joubert became a master is unknown, but was probably between 1714 and 1722. He left the Faubourg for the centre of Paris, first settling in the Isle de la Cit£ in the rue de la Savaterie, where he is recorded in 1714, and then the rue Saint-Нопогё where he is mentioned as living in 1722. In 1757 he moved close to the Palais-Royal in the rue Saint-Anne on the corner of the rue l’Eveque in a house which he rented from one of the Due d’Orl£ans’ equerries. Jean – Jacques Fossier. The annual rent was 1.250 livres. and there he remained for the rest of his life. In 1749 he was elected a syndic of his guild for two years. In the preceding year Joubert had begun supplying furniture to the Garde-Meuble Royal including a small secre­taire for the Dauphin and various games-tables for Compiegne. At first small in number, the deliveries became more significant after 1751 when Gaudreaus the younger, who succeeded his father on the latter’s death in 1748. ceased to work for the Crown. From this time on Joubert was the principal supplier of fur­niture to the Crown, and remained so for nearly twenty-three years. Important commissions were exe­cuted in 1755 with two encoignures [204] made to match the medal-cabinet by Gaudreaus in Louis XV’s Cabinet Interieur at Versailles, followed in 1759 by a red lacquer bureau [203] intended for the same room.

Joubert made many pieces of furniture for Versailles. Choisy, and La Muette. and took part in the furnish­ing of the Petit Trianon in 1768. The volume of royal orders mounted year by year, from more than 15,000 livres in 1764 to 27,000 livres in 1766. reaching nearly

50.0 livres in 1769 and 80,000 livres in 1771.

Between 1748 and 1774 Joubert delivered nearly

4.0 pieces of furniture to the Crown. His productive capacity was not sufficient to meet these demands and he often resorted to subcontracting work to his col­leagues in order to fulfil the royal orders, bringing the habit of royal ebenistes of subcontracting to an unpar­alleled level. From 1758 his title was ‘£№niste ordi­naire du Garde-Meuble’; it was not until Oeben’s death in 1763 that he gained the position of ebeniste du roi’. In 1771 his wife died.

The inventory drawn up on her death with the aid of his colleagues Balthazar Coulon and Pierre Denizot as experts reveals an active workshop with four work benches and equipment and a large stock of furniture: 266 pieces are listed in various stages of completion, estimated in total at 13.460 livres. Almost a third (78) are simple pieces in walnut or wild cherry (commodes, night-tables, bidets and commode chairs). Of the veneers, kingwood was that most commonly em­ployed (on 15 pieces), which would seem an anachron­ism for the time, or else combined with the use of tulipwood (on 10 pieces). Tulipwood alone is also used on a dozen pieces. The stocks of wood confirm this predominance of king – and tulipwoods: ‘35 livres of tulipwood in sheets; 1,238 livres of tulipwood; approximately 30 livres weight of amaranth and other woods’. There are only two pieces in vernis de la Chine and one in vernis de Paris, although Joubert made several such pieces for the Crown. On the other hand there were ‘a number of panels of vernis de la

Chine’ which proves that he could himself handle the production of this type of chinoiserie furniture with­out resorting to the marchands-merciers (unlike 15. V. R. B. who had no lacquer panels in his pos­session. but received them from Hebert or Poirier as and when needed). No single piece in mahogany fur­niture is cited, although already in fashion, but Joubert had ‘6 bits of mahogany wood’. Of all the types of fur­niture mentioned, the commode is the most common. Thirty-five are listed in the inventory, certain of them with cabriole legs. Their value veers between 20 livres for those in walnut and almost 250 livres for those embellished with marquetry and gilt-bronze mounts. There are also numerous tables (78 tables for various purposes. 12 games tables. 26 tables de nuit and 7 dressing-tables), but all modestly valued. A few desks (18 examples) arc cited, furnished for the most part with serre-papiers and their stands. 4 secretaires en pente and as many secretaires к abattant. fairly luxur­ious no doubt in view of their estimates at 250 livres each. The most expensive pieces of furniture are two armoires in vernis dc la Chine (priced together with 4 encoignures and an armoire at 2.300 livres) while ‘2 large old cabinets decorated with gilt-bronze mounts with carved and gilded feet’ were valued at 800 livres. These were the two cabinets representing The Sun’ and ‘The Twelve Signs’ which Joubert had purchased at the sale in 1751 of the furniture of the Crown for 2.600L. There is no mention of style or marquetry, perhaps suggesting that Joubert was not working in floral marquetry at that period but rather in plain veneers or parquetry, which is confirmed by the Archives Royales. The only debit accounts mentioned are those for the King, and those for private clients are barely mentioned, or for small amounts. There is also no trace of litigation or payments overdue as is found in inventories of other ebenistes dealing with private clients. This would seem to indicate that Joubert had for many years worked on royal commissions alone, and hardly worked at all now for private clients.

Finally the inventory gives the names of those ebe­nistes who worked for Joubert and to whom he owed

12041 Encoignure, one of a pan supplied in 1755 by Joubert for Louis XV at Versailles, matching the medal cabinet by Gaudreaus 11161; an effort has been made
money ‘for deliveries made to him’. The main one was Roger Vandercruse (1.250 livres); there is also the name of Sieur ‘Laus. ebeniste’ (Deloose?) for 900 livres. Macret (320 livres). Boudin (632 livres). Den – izot (1,190 livres) and a certain ’Bailler ebeniste’ (Fran­cois Bayer?) for 106 livres. Joubert owed 313 livres to a certain Delorme (perhaps Alexis Faizelot-Dclorme or one of his brothers) and 960 livres to Joubert ’the younger’ (without doubt his brother Pierre Joubert. menuisier in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine who would have made the carcases of his furniture). A note indi­cates that Peridiez, a son-in-law of the latter and there­fore Joubert’s nephew, owed his uncle 5(X) livres ’which he was obliged to pay in work which Joubert had ordered from him’. He paid off his debt, as Chris­tian Baulez has discovered, by making a pair of encoignures for his uncle which the latter delivered to Madame Victoire at Versailles in 1769 (210). Finally the names of the bronze casters used by Joubert are given: the widow Forestier (618 livres) as well as the gilders Le Franc (350 livres) and Deudeville (1.233 livres).

Joubert still supplied numerous pieces of furniture for the Crown after 1771, almost all made by R. V. L. C. He retired in 1774 aged 85. succeeded in the post of ’ebeniste du roi’ by Riesener. He died in 1775 and in the same year there took place the ’sale of furniture and effects of the late Sr Joubert. ebeniste du roi. rue Sainte-Anne. on the hill of Saint-Roch’.