POITOU

point of success. Poitou rented four houses in the rue Joquelet on the corner of the rue Notre-Dame-des – Victoires. establishing his shop at the junction of the two streets.

On 22 November of the same year Poitou was re­ceived master, but died at the end of 1718. The inven­tory drawn up after his death and completed on 2 June 1719 gives a picture of a very prosperous workshop. At the time, Poitou was a ‘marchand-ebeniste’ as is noted in the records, and the atelier boasted four work-benches. The assets were estimated at 2.745 livres with 2.400 livres’ worth of furniture in stock. Like his father. Joseph Poitou owned his own bronze models. Described are:

Various lead models of different sizes and types, price 210L

Copper bronze weighing 168 livres. price I68L The same gilt-bronze weighing 32 livres. price 32L Л package with several sheets of amaranth.

These bronze models were probably supplied by Cressent. The man who is described as ‘sculpteur to the King and of the Academy of St Luke’ had close connections with the Poitou family. Collaborating with Joseph Poitou, he was named at the time of the succession as guardian to the Poitous’ child. He lent money to Poitou’s widow and eventually married her and took over the establishment in the rue Notre-Dame-des-Victoires.

The description of Joseph Poitou’s stock of furni­ture shows clearly that, unlike his father, who special­ized in Boulle marquetry, Joseph preferred the use of amaranth or palisander:

3 commodes, of which 2 in palisander-wood with ornaments and locks and the third in olive-wood decorated solely with locks and escutcheons. 85L 3 commodes, of which 2 in amaranth and the other in Japanese wood, decorated with masks and figures in bronze-coloured brass, one of them being small, and all with their marble tops of different colour, priced together 650L

An old cabinet in walnut. . . supported on twisted columnar legs. 12L

An armoire in ebonized wood with 2 doors and fillets of bronze-coloured brass. 20L

3 commodes in palisander-wood. viz. one embellished with handles, locks and escutcheons, the 2 others without mounts. 85L

Another commode in bois des Indes with bronze mounts and marble top. 70L

A commode in palisander wood mounted only with locks with marble top. 45L

A low armoire in green ebony with metal frame. 35L 4 commodes in palisander wood, of which 2 have their mounts and the other 2 almost finished. 120L 2 corner armoires in acacia wood with marble tops. 50L A night-table in walnut. 6L

A cabinet in wood from Grenoble (walnut] with cupboard underneath, the top with several drawers. 20L 2 armoires. one in amaranth, the other in ebonized wood. 80L

4 gu^ridons. of which two in walnut 5 la capucine (painted like natural wood), the other 2 in inlaid woods. 6L 2 armoires. black, almost complete. 300L

The furniture in Boulle marquetry is very much rarer:

A large toilet mirror with curved frame decorated with tortoiseshell marquetry. 2 toilet boxes and 2 pedestals also in marquetry decorated with gilt bronze. 90L A small marquetry table on cabriole legs decorated with bronze mounts. 30L

A marquetry commode embellished with bronze locks and marquetry top. 80L

2 toilet boxes and a mirror frame, all in marquetry. 20L

Finally, certain pieces of furniture reflect the growing taste for chinoiserie:

2 cabinets, one large, the other small, in wood decorated in imitation Chinese lacquer. 12L

6 shelves in wood decorated in imitation Chinese lacquer and ebonized. a small cabaret also in elx>nized wood, two screens, altogether 36L

2 cabinets in imitation Chinese lacquer with an dxmized base on twisted columns. 40L A small table in imitation Chinese lacquer

No piece of furniture can be attributed with cer­tainty to Joseph Poitou; nevertheless, the numerous links with Cressent must encourage research in that direction.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Arch. Nat. Min. Cent, xni/199: Inventory after the death of Joseph Poitou. 2 June 1719

Arch. Nat. Min. Cent. Vii/186: Inventory after the death of Philippe Poitou. 23 May 1709 Mile Ballot: ‘Charles Cressent’ in: Archives de і Art Franqais, vol. x. pp. 21-32

Jean-Pierre Samoyault: Andre-Charles Boulle et safamille, Librairie Droz. 1979. pp. 36-37

H. Vial. A. Marcel and A. Girodie: Les Artistes decorateurs du bois, pp. 91 and 155

;lfbl&r

Frangois