he Migeon family were one of the important dynasties of Parisian Protestant ebenistes. consisting of three generations all with the same Christian name. ‘Pierre’, who succeeded each other at the same address in the Faubourg Saint – Antoine, in the rue de Charenton opposite the Con­vent of the English Sisters.

According to Salverte. Pierre I Migeon was born sometime between 1670 and 1675. and married the widow of the ebeniste Francois Collet in about 1700, his son Pierre II being born in 1701. The prosperity of the business is reflected in the day-book maintained between 1730 and 1736, which reveals a glittering clientele including the dowager Duchesse de Bour­bon. the Due d’Orleans. son of the Regent, the Duchesse de Rohan for whom Migeon supplied one of the first examples of a secretaire en armoire in 1731, the Marechal de Noailles and numerous important figures at the Court and in the Church. The day-book also notes the consignment of several commodes en arbalete’ (bow-shaped).

Pierre 11 married Madeleine Horry in 1732. At that time his assets were noted in the legal documents as being 43,000 livres. a considerable sum attesting to the prosperity of the family business, while his wife contributed a dowry of 10.000 livres (of which 9,600 livres was in cash). Two years later the young wife died. The resulting inventory which had to be drawn up itemized a workshop with nine work-benches, of which only four were equipped with tools. The stock comprised pieces of only low value (estimated at less

/I39J Cartonnier stamped special commission. (Sotheby’s

Migeon; the ummuif richness of New York, 17 Noivmber 1984, this piece suggests that it was a lot 2511 than 100 livres), including commodes, encoignures, bookcases and secretaires. According to Boutemy. secretaires were one of Migeon’s specialities. A note in the day-book records that ‘between 2 March 1726and2 September 1731 secretaires to the value of30.833 livres have been supplied to various clients.’ This is a con­siderable sum; if the average price of secretaires was be­tween 100and 300 livres. it means that several hundred must have been delivered over a period of five years. Boutemy draws a further conclusion, as he would place the beginning of Pierre II Migeon’scareer in 1726.

Pierre II Migeon was a dealer as well as an ebeniste. selling pieces made by his colleagues. His success and the considerable number of pieces which passed through his hands are confirmed by the list of amounts paid to his suppliers between 1740 and 1760 (particularly in the 175(b), more than two hundred and fifty artisans and traders being mentioned. Among them are found the names of the ebenistes Topino, R. V. L. C., Duval. Mondon, Fleury, Delaitre, Criard, Landrin, Dautriche. Birckle. Cana – bas, Macret. Bon Durand, Peridiez and others. In fact, on furniture stamped by Migeon. a second hidden stamp is often found, belonging to the maker. A famous example is the bureau ‘de Vergennes’. now in the Louvre, which, besides being stamped by Migeon. bears the stamp of Dubois, the maker of the piece, concealed on the carcase. Despite this wide range of suppliers, works carrying Migeon’s stamp present great stylistic unity. It is therefore probable that he im­posed this style on the ebenistes to whom he gave commissions. This style can be defined as a preference for veneering in geometric designs in dark woods (kingwood and bois satine). for serpentine shapes and for rather heavy forms (commodes en tom!>caux, low secretaires).

[140} Commode damped Migeon, c. 1750; with floral marquetry in bois de bout on a bois sating ground, the mounts struck with crowned C (1745-49). (Formerly in the Abdy Collection; archives Galerie Scgoura, Paris)

11411 Commode stamped Migeon, с 1750; with floral marquetry on a tulipwood ground. (Sotheby’s Monaco. 14 June 1982, lot 3661

Migeon also worked for the Court, supplying from 1740. through the offices of the Menus Plaisirs. a ‘bureau de musique in mahogany fitted with seven music stands and gilt candelabras’. Here is one of the earliest records of a piece in mahogany and he was probably one of the first to use this wood in Paris. Fol­lowing this he supplied various functional pieces to the Garde-Meuble Royal. The first pieces were for Mme de Pompadour and coincided with the early days of her favour. In 1747 he supplied several encoig – nures and a night-table for her apartment at Marly. Gaudreaus was then ebeniste to the Crown, but Migeon supplied bidets and cunningly disguised com­mode chairs. This specialization in ‘convenience’ fur­niture earned the famous quip of d’Argenson. criticizing Mme de Pompadours grant of a pension of

3,0 francs to Migeon ‘for having made a fine chaise percee (commode chair) for the said marquise.’

Migeon died suddenly in 1758 aged fifty-seven, and the family business was taken over by his son. Pierre 111 Migeon. who was received master in 1761.


Day-book of Migeon between 1730 and 1736: Bibliotheque Nationale. Ms, new acquisition no. 4765 List of suppliers of Pierre II Migeon: Archives de la Seine

Inventory taken after the death of the wife of Pierre II Migeon. Arch. Nat. Min. Cent. (‘1/309. 13 December 1734.

F. de Salverte: Les fSbenistes. pp. 232-33 Geoffrey de Bcllaigue: The James Л. de Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor, vol. II. pp. 877-78 11431 llidet in tuhpwood, stam/red Migeon; this type of commode chair was one of Migeon’s specialities. iSotheby’s Monaco. 4 March 1984, lot 4771 secretaires).

11441 Kinguvod commode Stamped Migeon. <Couturier – Nicolay. Paris, 19 November 1981. lot 219)