This is a truly delightful antique French marquetry and ebonised three-tier etagere or occasional table in Louis XV style, circa 1860 in date.
This elegant table features exquisite ormolu mounts and stands on shaped ebonised legs. Each tier is rectangular in shape and features superb marquetry floral decoration.
Such a beautiful and highly versatile piece is indeed a rare find and would look lovely almost everywhere.
In excellent condition having been beautifully cleaned and polished in our workshops, please see photos for confirmation.
Dimensions in cm:
Height 80 x Width 47 x Depth 37
Dimensions in inches:
Height 31.5 x Width 18.5 x Depth 14.6
is decorative artistry where pieces of material (such as wood, mother of pearl, pewter, brass silver or shell) of different colours are inserted into surface wood veneer to form intricate patterns such as scrolls or flowers.
The technique of veneered marquetry had its inspiration in 16th century Florence. Marquetry elaborated upon Florentine techniques of inlaying solid marble slabs with designs formed of fitted marbles, jaspers and semi-precious stones. This work, called opere di commessi, has medieval parallels in Central Italian "Cosmati"-work of inlaid marble floors, altars and columns. The technique is known in English as pietra dura, for the "hardstones" used: onyx, jasper, cornelian, lapis lazuli and colored marbles. In Florence, the Chapel of the Medici at San Lorenzo is completely covered in a colored marble facing using this demanding jig-sawn technique.
Techniques of wood marquetry were developed in Antwerp and other Flemish centers of luxury cabinet-making during the early 16th century. The craft was imported full-blown to France after the mid-seventeenth century, to create furniture of unprecedented luxury being made at the royal manufactory of the Gobelins, charged with providing furnishings to decorate Versailles and the other royal residences of Louis XIV. Early masters of French marquetry were the Fleming Pierre Golle and his son-in-law, André-Charles Boulle, who founded a dynasty of royal and Parisian cabinet-makers (ébénistes) and gave his name to a technique of marquetry employing shell and brass with pewter in arabesque or intricately foliate designs.
Etagère is a piece of light furniture which was extensively made in France during the latter part of the 18th century. It consists of a series of stages or shelves for the reception of ornaments or other small articles. Like the what-not it was very often cornerwise in shape, and the best Louis XVI examples in exotic woods are exceedingly graceful and elegant.
In modern usage, an étagère is often used to refer specifically to a long-legged shelf unit that fits over a bathroom toilet, also known as a space saver.
Ormolu (from French 'or moulu', signifying ground or pounded gold) is an 18th-century English term for applying finely ground, high-carat gold in a mercury amalgam to an object of bronze.The mercury is driven off in a kiln leaving behind a gold-coloured veneer known as 'gilt bronze'.
The manufacture of true ormolu employs a process known as mercury-gilding or fire-gilding, in which a solution of nitrate of mercury is applied to a piece of copper, brass, or bronze, followed by the application of an amalgam of gold and mercury. The item was then exposed to extreme heat until the mercury burned off and the gold remained, adhered to the metal object.
No true ormolu was produced in France after around 1830 because legislation had outlawed the use of mercury. Therefore, other techniques were used instead but nothing surpasses the original mercury-firing ormolu method for sheer beauty and richness of colour. Electroplating is the most common modern technique. Ormolu techniques are essentially the same as those used on silver, to produce silver-gilt (also known as vermeil).
Our reference: 09316
Antique French Marquetry & Ormolu Three-tier Etagere Table c.1860
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