11086

A MAHOGANY AND FAUX BRONZE DEMILUNE PIER TABLE IN THE RETOUR D’EGYPT TASTE

Paris. Early Nineteenth Century.

Measurements

Height: 32 1/8" (81.5 cm); Width: 47 7/8" (121.5 cm); Depth: 23 7/8" (60.5 cm).

Research
Of mahogany with finely carved bronzed ‘mounts’. The original statuary marble top with stepped edge above a massive ogee undermold resting upon a plain shallow frieze. Four herm legs are headed by a finely carved and bronzed female Egyptian bust above bronzed foliate floral mounts. The base of each leg terminating in a bronze inverted cone. The leg surface mounted to a painted faux verde antico plinth upon which rests a thin repaired statuary marble plateau.

Provenance:
Old Private Parisian Collection

This austerely elegant demi-lune table is an early example of a format that would enjoy considerable popularity during the Consulate and Empire periods in France. The tapering Herm-form supports culminate in an inverted cone tip in the manner of Thyrsi and, unusually, extend down over the front of the plinth. Interestingly, this element is painted in imitation of verde antico and in turn is topped by a thin plateau of statuary marble. Such unusual inventive conceits suggest the hand of an architect in the design of the piece, as do the moldings whose angular nature is not normally found in the repertoire of furniture making. Such demilune tables were designed to be placed against a mirror in a pier between two windows, the reflection creating the illusion of a fully circular tabletop. Later examples were created by the Jacob brothers for Napoleon at the Palace of Fontainebleau and the Grand Trianon.

This table is part of a suite of furniture (figure 1), the armchairs of which have been stamped with the mark of ‘Demay, rue de Cléry’ referring to Jean-Baptiste Demay (1758-1848), the son-in-law of the famous ébéniste, Claude Sené. Although displaying some elements of the Empire taste that would become prominent under Napoleon, the present table is more characterized by the austere elegance of the preceding Directoire period. Egyptianized decorative elements would suggest that the table is datable to Napoleon’s campaigns in the Middle East that lasted from 1798 to 1801, and which served to make Egyptian style intensely popular in France.

Full research report available on request.

Full research report available on request.