Important Mahogany, Mahogany-Veneered, and Gilt Bronze Guéridon, Empire period

François-Honoré-Georges Jacob-Desmalter

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Attributed to François-Honoré-Georges Jacob, known as Jacob-Desmalter
Important Mahogany, Mahogany-Veneered, and Gilt Bronze Guéridon
Paris, Empire period, circa 1805-1810
Height 74 cm; diameter 114 cm

The present circular guéridon is made of mahogany, flame mahogany veneering, and finely chased and gilt bronze. The apron, featuring three protruding sections, is adorned with applied motifs of trumpeting pairs of Cupids holding bows, double flaming hearts framed by leafy branches resting upon bows that support winged Cupids who are about to shoot arrows, and oil lamps with swan-neck handles over antique swords. This upper portion is supported on three tapering legs that are adorned with neoclassical female busts, whose sandal-clad feet appear at the bases, joined by a shaped triangular stretcher, centered by a gadrooned tazza with a pedestal base adorned with leaves and stylized friezes. The stretcher rests upon three quadrangular feet with sloping molded bases. The molded tabletop is made of blue turquin marble.

The present important guéridon may be attributed to the renowned Parisian cabinetmaker Jacob-Desmalter, who often employed similar tapering legs, many examples of which were produced in his workshop in the rue Meslée. Among the rare similar models known, one example is depicted in a painting by Sergio De Francisco, which shows the Grand Salon of the Ricci Palace in Rome (illustrated in J-P. Planchon, Pierre-Benoît Marcion (1769-1840) ébéniste de Napoléon, Editions Monelle Hayot, 2007, p. 72). A second example was formerly in the Mancel-Coti collection (see C. Bizot, Mobilier Directoire-Empire, Editions Charles Massin, Paris, undated, p. 65). A third example, which stood in the study of Queen Caroline, is today in the Blue Salon of Nymphenburg Palace (see L. de Groër, Les arts décoratifs de 1790 à 1850, Fribourg, 1985, p. 174, fig. 329). One further guéridon, quite similar to the present one, but smaller and less elaborately decorated, is in the Musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris (illustrated in E. Dumonthier, Mobilier national de France, Le meuble-toilette, Toilettes-coiffeuses portatives, Miroir, Psychés, Morancé, 1923).

François-Honoré-Georges Jacob, known as Jacob Desmalter (1770-1841)
May be considered one of the most important Parisian cabinetmakers of the first quarter of the 19th century. The youngest son of famous cabinetmaker Georges Jacob (1739-1814), in 1798 he married Adélaïde-Anne Lignereux, the daughter of the marchand-mercier and bronzier Martin-Eloi Lignereux. Early on his drawing talents were recognised, and in 1796 he went into partnership with his older brother Georges II Jacob (1768-1803). They took over their father’s workshop in the rue Meslée, founding the Jacob Frères firm. After the death of his brother, he went into partnership with his father and changed his stamp. For over a decade, they furnished the Imperial Garde-Meuble and wealthy connoisseurs of the period. However, in 1813, the delays in payment by the Imperial Administration caused the Jacob firm to declare bankruptcy. In 1825, Jacob Desmalter sold the remaining stock to his son, in return for a comfortable annuity of 6000 francs per year. Freed from his professional responsibilities, he was able to travel. One of his journeys was to England, where George IV asked him to help furnish Windsor Castle. He died in the rue Cadet in Paris on August 15, 1841.

Object Name: Important Mahogany, Mahogany-Veneered, and Gilt Bronze Guéridon, Empire period
Artist name: François-Honoré-Georges Jacob-Desmalter
Reference: O040
   
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