Category FRENCH FURNITURE MAKERS

GILBERT

1746-1809

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ndre-Louis Gilbert became a master in 1774 after an apprenticeship under L.-N. Malle, one of the principal marquetry-makers in Paris. He then settled first in the rue Traversiere. then in 1785 in the Grand-Rue du Faubourg Saint – Antoine and was active until 1789. Like his former master he specialized in marquetry pieces and particu­larly in architectural scenes in the manner of Hubert Robert.

His furniture is generally simple in form, decorated on the front with rectangular panels of minutely detailed marquetry scenes of townscapes with numer­ous buildings, the windows highlighted with mother – of-pearl. The compositions are often centred on a por­tico. an arcade or a temple. These marquetry pictures are seldom of the same size as the panels making up
the piece, and th...

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BIRGKLE

1734-1803; MASTER 1764

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aving first worked as an independant artisan in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine. Birckle became a master in 1764. Established in the rue Saint-Nicolas. in 1785 he began working for the Garde-Meuble Royal, supplying it with regular con­signments of simple furniture. In January of 1787 he supplied for the Comtesse de Provence at Versailles ’2 commodes i’/z pieds long veneered in tulipwood with 4 drawers fitted with locks, decorated with ring – handles. capitals, gilded sabots, with white marble top at 132 livres each’. On 10 June 1787 he supplied for the Queen’s use at Saint-Cloud

no. 156) Л commode 4 pieds in length in mahogany with 5 drawers fitted with locks, decorated with a frieze of flutes and florets, (lilt-bronze sabots and capitals...

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PIONIEZ

c. 1730-90: MASTER 1705

According to Salverte, Pierre Pioniez appeared in about 1758 as a privileged artisan in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine. and moved, after he became a master in 1765, to a workshop in the rue Michel-le-Comte in the Marais where he would remain for the rest of his life. The majority of furni­ture bearing his stamp is in Transitional style, com­modes and tables of rectangular form with cabriole legs. On certain tables and bonheurs-du-jour a type of scroll-topped leg is found which would seem characteristic of Pioniez’s work. The marquetry often consists of pictorial motifs such as vases and utensils in chinoiserie taste deriving from motifs on Coroman­del lacquer screens. The same marquetry is found on pieces by his brother-in-law Vandercruse (R. V. L. C...

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TOPINO

MASTER 1773

Born around 1735. Topino worked for a long time as an independent craftsman before being received master in 1773. Settled in the rue du Faubourg-Saint-Antoine, he specialized in pieces of light furniture, small tables, bonheurs-du-jour and chiffonnieres. and perfected a type of bonheur-du- jour of oval form for which he seems to have had the monopoly. The marquetry decoration which is the chief attraction of these pieces consists of two types: — Still-lifes with teapots, vases and various utensils in chinoiserie taste, derived from motifs on Coroman­del lacquer screens. These would seem to have l>een very fashionable between 1770 and 1775.

— Garlands and bouquets of flowers highlighted on a ground of pale wood, citronnier or yellow-stained maplewood, found on furniture betwe...

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LEVASSEUR

1721-98; MASTER 1767

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ne of the most important ebenistes of his time, Etienne Levasseur is also one of the least known. We know nothing of his forma­tive years apart from the assertion made by his grand­son in an advertisement in the Bazar parisien in 1822 that he was trained by Boulle. This is certainly fanci­ful, as Levasseur was only eleven years old at the time of Boulle’s death in 1732. It is more likely that he was apprenticed in the 1740s with one of Boulle’s sons, such as Andre-Charles, known as ‘Boulle de Seve’ (died 1745) or Charles-Joseph (died 1754). He began his career as an ‘ouvrier privil£gie’ at ‘Ли Cadran Bleu’ in the rue du Faubourg-Saint-Antoine. He then mar­ried the daughter of the ebeniste Nicolas Marchand
and was himself made a master in 1767, bene...

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MONTIGNY

same capitals of laurel festoons.

Another scries of smaller desks with marquetry with gilt-bronze drapery motifs at the corners some­times bears Montigny’s stamp, and sometimes that of Dubois, for whom Montigny must have worked. As a number of other pieces bear both their stamps it seems that they were commissioned by or sold to Dubois from Montigny. This is the case with a lacquer commode at VVaddesdon Manor identical to other furniture by Dubois, and with a low cabinet in ebony in the Wallace Collection (its pair is stamped by Levasseur with whom Dubois must have placed the second order). Montigny was related to Rene Dubois, being his first cousin and exact contemporary (both were born in 1734): in 1772 he was a witness at Dubois’s marriage. Montigny ‘also makes clockcases

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MONTIGNY. 1734-1800; MASTER 1766

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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)...

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DUBOIS’ PRODUCTION

Rene Dubois used the same stamp as his father. I DUBOIS’, which makes the attribution of certain pieces problematic. But as Jacques IXilwis died in 1763 (and despite the fact that the inventory after his death men­tions several pieces a la grecque’), it is reasonable to attribute the furniture in rococo taste to the father.

13281 iMrgc armoire-seerftaire stamped Dubois and J. Goyer in Japanese lacquer. Stephane lloiron has discovered the contract drawn up in і 774 between Goyer and the gilder Denis Joseph Rabulfor the gilding of the mounts of this piece at the enormous cost of5,000/..

(Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire)

and those pieces in Neo-classical taste to the son...

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DUBOIS

1737-99; MASTER 1755

J

acques Dubois’ two sons, Louis (bom in 1732) and Rene (born in 1737), both qualified as master eb^nistes in 1755. The elder son was quick to change profession, becoming a master stove – modeller. He was also accepted as a member of the Academy of Saint-Luc.

On the death of Jacques Dubois the workshop was taken over by Rene who was twenty-six, under the nominal control of his mother Marie-Madeleine Brachet. On 4 October 1772 he married Barbe – Marguerite Anthiaume. daughter of the silversmith Jacques Anthiaume, who brought with her a dowry worth 10,000 livres. In July 1772 the widow Dubois relinquished nominal control of the workshop to Rene, selling him the existing stock for 25,002 livres.

The inventory taken at that point indicates a very prosperous busines...

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PETIT. 1732-91; MASTER 1761; MARCHAND-EBENISTE

Nicolas Petit started as an ebeniste and furni­ture-seller in the rue du Faubourg-Saint – Antoine in an establishment called Vu Norn de Jesus’. In 1758 he married Marie-Magdeieine Dig – noir who died in 1765. The inventory taken after her death descrites 8 work-benches, denoting an import – ant activity, but with few pieces of furniture in stock: ‘2 carcases of toilet-tables. 1 clock-case. 2 carcases of secretaires en armoire. 1 night-table. 5 tables ‘migno­nettes’. 1 encoignure veneered with tulipwood. 1 toi­let-table. This scarcity, along with the absence of private clients mentioned, confirms that the output of the workshop was purchased immediately by dealers or fellow ebenistes. Petit produced many cases for long-case clocks, mostly for the clock-maker Lepaute. who owned him 31...

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