MONTIGNY. 1734-1800; MASTER 1766

B

orn in Paris, Philippe-Claude Montigny was the son of Louis Montigny. cbeniste and privi­leged artisan in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine. He became a master in 1766 aged thirty-two and took over his father’s workshop in the Cour de la Juiverie at the foot of the Bastille, where he remained for the rest of his life. He married and had a son. Jacques – Philippe. Montigny specialized in restoring Boulle furniture. The Almanack Dauphin describes him as ‘one of the most highly recommended for furniture in tortoiseshell, silver, ebony or brass of the type made by the celebrated Boulle*. Montigny not only restored furniture made by Boulle. but also copied it (see page 33). He also made Boulle pastiches, such as the secre­taire a abattant in the J. Paul Getty Museum (347). where old marquetry panels were reused.

The influence of Boulle can be felt in all Montigny*s work. In a series of secretaires a abattant in tulipwood (one in the Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, a second from the Chappey sale in 1907, and another which featured in an exhibition held in 1955 of the work of Parisian ebenistes and menuisiers of the eight­eenth century), gilt-bronze corner-plates are found on the corners, copied from those on armoires by Boulle. In a series of bureaux plats executed by Montigny be­tween 1770 and 1780, the combination of ebony and gilt-bronze appears as a conscious pastiche of Boulle’s style. The desks are decorated with gilt-bronze rosettes in square compartments and with very rich

I343J Secretaire d abattant in tulipwood, stamped Montigny, с. 1770. The mounts are inspired by Boulle; however, the central motif, of Jupiter and Antiope, is after the motif on a clock by Cressent. (Private collection.)

gilt-bronze friezes, such as that of Vitruvian scrolls on the bureau at the Banque de France and the example in the Bardac Collection (sale Paris. 9 December 1927. lot 112), or a frieze of arabesques, or again a frieze of interlaced ovals and rosettes, as on the Woburn Ab­bey desk and cartonnier (342) and one formerly in the Galerie Perrin. On simpler models the drawers are framed with a brass fillet let into the. ebony and separ­ated by square compartments with centred rosettes. These distinctive and easily-identified pieces are on square tapering or octagonal legs, always with the