Saturday, January 2, 1971

The "Crowned C"

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The bronzes of many Louis XV pieces of furniture had a bronze caster’s mark made up of the letter C surmounted by a crown, which intrigued specialists for a very long time. We now know that this mark sanctioned a tax paid between 1745 and 1749 on bronzes and copper pieces. The edict of 1745 required that “works old and new (…) which are or will be manufactured, be visited and marked.” The same text lists all the works “of pure copper, cast, molded, beaten, planed, engraved, gilded, silvered and colored without exception” that were required to receive the mark. Even though the royal edict seems not to have been scrupulously observed, the crowned C is sometimes found on everyday utensils. 
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Le meuble Français et européen du Moyen âge à nos jours. de Pierre Kjellberg. les édition de l'amateur. 

The Gilt Glass Technique

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The gilt glass technique goes back to antiquity. It consists in attaching a thin sheet of gold or silver under the glass. The design is executed in drypoint and held in place by a second layer or plate of glass. 
This process was used in Bohemia under the name of “Zwischengoldglasser.” 
In France, the dealer Jean-Baptiste Glomy (circa 1711-1786) made this process fashionable. He notably used this technique to frame his engraving by encircling them with a thin line of gold, subsequently giving his name to the procedure (“églomisé” in French). 



The Freres Martin

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In the XVIIIth century, the Martin brothers were rightly considered as the greatest varnishers of their period. The first two, Guillaume and Etienne-Simon, formed a partnership on November 10, 1727 and managed their workshops in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine and the Faubourg Saint-Martin respectively. 
Guillaume Martin was named “master painter, sculptor, illuminator” in Paris on August 22, 1713 and then Varnisher to the King, by royal warrant signed by the duke of Antin on June 25, 1725. 
Etienne-Simon was became a master on April 20, 1728.
The inventory of the Martins’ workshop in 1730 mentions that the painter-varnishers Dubuisson and Rémy, as well as Lamy, Guillaume Martin’s father-in-law and his brother Robert, worked at the Martins’ as jobbers. 
In the same way, Antoine Igou, a renowned varnisher, was a subcontractor for certain works sold by the Martin brothers. 
Later on, Robert and his youngest brother Julien joined the company formed by their elders and the Martins added a third workshop, located on the rue Saint-Magloire. In 1748, the Martin brothers’ firm was raised to a royal manufacture by the Crown. Despite changing tastes, the firm on the rue Saint-Magloire would survive until the eve of the French Revolution. The journal of Lazare Duvaux and the 1730 inventory give a very complete picture of their production: in it is found an extremely diverse group of furniture, painted with aventurine, jonquil yellow, green, red and black in the Chinese style.
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Henry Martin (sous la direction de). Le style Louis XV, Paris, 1944. 
Jean d'Arnault. Un meuble d'exception.

The Faience of Luneville and Saint Clement

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The Lorraine region has held, since the XVIIIth century, and still holds today an important place in the ceramics industry. The old faience pieces of Lunéville-Saint-Clément, known throughout the world, are very much sought after by collectors. 
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At the beginning of the XVIIIth century, a great many faience works were created in the eastern part of France because gold and silver dishes were subject to a heavy tax: plates in precious metals were used to pay Louis XIV’s costly war expenditures. Even King Louis XV used his gold dishes to mint currency. 
As a result faience dishes replaced and imitated these dishes in precious metals (1). 
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Faience made in Lunéville was famous well before 1718, to such an extent that in that year, the dealers of Rouen, leaders in the art of faience, wished to prohibit the sale of the wares made in Lunéville. 
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(1) People spoke of “putting oneself in faience”: gold or silver plates were melted or sold to buy faience. 

Pocelain: A Fragile Luxury From China

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Beautiful Chinese porcelain was one of the first Oriental imports of the Dutch East India Company. Starting in the early XVIIth century, this Chinese export article became a sought-after collector’s item and a precious type of durable goods. 
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The Portuguese initially brought it back from China and then sold it in many cities, among them Antwerp. The Netherlands was also supplied by Lisbon. However, when Philip I of Spain, at war with Holland, also became King of Portugal in 1580 and blocked trade between Portugal and the Netherlands, the Dutch shipowners decided to send their vessels to the Orient. 
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By attacking and capturing Portuguese ships (called “caracas” or “caraques” {carracks}), the Dutch appropriated products that could no longer be found on sale. It is likely that the porcelain requisitioned in this way owes its name of “caraque porcelain” to these ships. 
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Caraque or imported porcelain was purchased either directly from the East India shipowners or at auctions, fairs or shops by a constantly growing group of rich and powerful bourgeois who could afford this luxury and coveted it. According to the calculations of the English accountant Gregory King, the Dutch, at the end of the XVIIth century, had the highest average income in northern Europe. 
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At this period, sovereigns, wealthy shipowners and regents gathered precious collections of rare and exceptional art objects. These collections focused on “the natural,” i.e., objects produced by nature such as seashells or coral, and “the artificial,” products that were man-made. 
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These objects were exhibitied in rooms called “cabinets d’art” or art collection rooms. At the end of the XVIth century, Chinese porcelain already held a place of importance in the sovereigns’ collection rooms. They subsequently fitted out rooms especially for porcelain collections. Even though they no longer exist in Holland, we can still have a fairly accurate idea of these porcelain collection rooms in miniature through the Sara Rothé dollhouse found in the Gemeentemuseum, the municipal museum of The Hague, and especially thanks to the examples kept in Germany, such as the one in the Würzberg Residence. 
Porcelain made in China for European commissions was called “commissioned China.” By adapting itself to the style of the period, the aesthetic quality and typically Chinese style of this porcelain was supplanted by forms and decorations tailored to its customers’ wishes.
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As the demand for imported porcelain rapidly outstripped supply, Dutch potters went as far as imitating Chinese porcelain. The center of these activities was the city of Delft, advantageously located on the Schie, a river permitting navigable access to the rest of the country and abroad. 
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The production of Delft ceramics reached its apogee between about 1660 and 1725, a period during which the city was the most important faience production center in northern Europe. In the middle of the XVIIth century, the number of workshops went from eight to 288. Dutch ceramics became so refined that the faience makers called themselves “porcelain makers” to clearly distinguish this production from that of the coarser pottery they also manufactured. 
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Delft faience is still often called “Delft porcelain” today but, in truth, no genuine porcelain was ever produced for the simple reason that the faience makers did not have the kaolin needed for its manufacture. They imitated it by covering ordinary ceramics with a white tin enamel which, when subjected to the heat of the kiln, adhered to the pottery without melting. Starting in the mid-XVIIth century, in addition to blue porcelain, multicolored porcelain from China and Japan was imported that presented real technical challenges for the faience makers before they learned how to imitate them. 
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The production of and trade in Delft faience was of extraordinary scope. Its enormous influence could be seen in the number of faience works that were created in the southern provinces, Germany and France which, in their turn, imitated Delft faience. Toward the middle of the XVIIIth century, Delft’s reputation began to wane, supplanted by the competition of European porcelain which had at that period conquered the international market. 

Polychromy In XVIITH-Century Furniture

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Polychromy was one of the decorative inventions of the Louis XV style. 
In order to introduce color into furniture, polychrome craftsmen had the choice of several formulas. They began by spreading one or two coats of white. After polishing these coats, they applied coats of color that were heated. To obtain a perfect result, they began with two coats of rather strong glue, cold-ground and of equal thickness everywhere. Then, when the whole was completely dry, they applied colorless varnish. Lastly, they added the coats of color. 
Another procedure, although more complicated, produced excellent results: it was called “chipolin.” It consisted in applying seven or eight coats of white primer, freeing and smoothing the moldings or ornaments and lastly adding two coats of the desired color. The final step was a coat or two of pure light cold glue and two coats of alcohol varnish. 
It is often difficult nowadays to recreate the shades used in the XVIIIth century: 
- green was obtained with ceruse (white lead) and forest green ground and diluted with glue. 
- ordinary green, with a pound of ceruse, 60 grams of Troyes yellow lake and 15 grams of Prussian blue. 
- jonquil yellow with ceruse and Troyes yellow lake. 
- lemon yellow, with red and yellow orpiment. 
- pearl gray, with ceruse, vine black and a touch of pearl blue. 
- lilac, with one part azurite mixed with two parts pink lake and one part pure white. 
- violet, with lake, ceruse and a little carmine. (Ceruse, basic lead carbonate, is a poison. Its use has been prohibited since 1915). 

Manufacture of The Savonnerie

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By creating a “manufacture” of carpets at the Louvre palace, Henry IV wished to endow his kingdom with craftsmen capable of rivaling the foreign works that were being massively imported. Pierre Dupont, “Carpetmaker in Ordinary of Turkey carpets and Levantine imitations,” was placed in charge of this manufacture. At the same period (1607), the Flemish François de La Planche created a “manufacture of soaps [“savon” in French], trade and traffic in them in the cities of Paris, Rouen, Nantes and others” at Chaillot. 
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After the manufacture went bankrupt in 1609, the buildings were converted into a hospice by Marie de Médicis. On September 5, 1626, Pierre Dupont, “Carpetmaker in Ordinary to the King living in Paris at the Louvre galleries” and Simon Lourdet, “carpetmaker, living at the Savonnerie near Chaillot,” founded a partnership to produce “all sorts of carpets, other furnishings and works from the Levant, all in gold, silver, silk and ferreting as well as in wool,” using a few of the young orphans from the Chaillot hospice for whose education they were responsible.
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In 1671, the Dupont family left the Louvre galleries and settled in the Savonnerie. In 1673, the works became a royal manufacture following Louis XIV’s wishes. Starting in this year and for the next two decades, the Duponts and the Lourdets worked together at the Chaillot Savonnerie and created the celebrated series of carpets designed for the “Great Gallery of the Louvre.” 
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After a crisis period at the very end of the XVIIth century, the manufacture once again underwent rapid expansion, starting in 1708 (appointment of the marquis of Antin as the king’s director of building and manufactures) and 1713 (Utrecht Treaty). Throughout the XVIIIth century, it worked for the royal houses, under the direction of the Duvivier family, who replaced the Duponts subsequent to a marriage. 
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The French Revolution halted production but the works did not disappear. They became an imperial manufacture under Napoléon I. Finally, under the Restoration, the manufacture was attached to the Gobelins and despite the protests of the workers and its last director Ange Duvivier, was transferred to the Gobelins site in 1826. The Savonnerie thus lost its autonomy and became an annex of the Gobelins. 
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The quality of the drawings supplied by the cartoon artists unquestionably contributed to the success of the Savonnerie in the XVIIIth century. In 1670, Charles le Brun (Paris, 1615 - Paris, 1690) executed preparatory drawings at the Savonnerie for the Grand Gallery of the Louvre. Pierre-Josse Perrot, who was influenced by the ornamentalists Berain, Audran and indirectly by Watteau, created the Louis XV style in carpet decoration. 
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The painter Michel-Bruno Bellangé played the same role under Louis XVI, and at the close of the century he was undoubtedly inspired by Soufflot, Perrot’s successor. He held the monopoly on designs for the Savonnerie and created a very personal style that grew out of his training as a floral painter. In 1778, he worked for Marie-Antoinette’s Turkish boudoir in Fontainebleau, providing several drawings for the carpet. He executed several cartoons for Marie-Antoinette’s apartments in Versailles: for the Queen’s bedroom in 1779-1780 and for the Méridienne room in 1781. He died in Rouen in 1793, depriving the manufacture of a brilliant, original and productive talent which had created a precious, elegant and fantasy-filled style corresponding to Marie-Antoinette’s taste and which was very quickly imitated by other manufactures, notably that of Beauvais. 
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Three distinct techniques: 
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Inlay: The decoration (wood, ivory, tin) is inserted in grooves previously cut into a solid wood panel. 
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Veneering: A solid-color thin sheet of any number of precious woods (or other material) is glued onto a wood frame that it completely conceals. 
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Marquetry: The same principle as veneering, except that instead of a single sheet, an actual puzzle of wood pieces or other material in different tones is cut out to make up a decoration. It should be mentioned that the copper and tortoise shell motifs in Boulle furniture were executed in marquetry and not in inlay, as is occasionally incorrectly indicated. 
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Pierre Verlet, The James A. de Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor, the Savonnerie, Office du Livre, 1982. 
Pierre Kjellberg. Le Meuble français et européen du Moyen Age à nos jours. Les Editions de l’amateur.

Lacquers

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The Far East has exercised a mysterious power on Europe from time immemorial. The trade relations established in the XVIth century by the East India Company aroused the public’s curiosity. The rage for objects “from China” would continue until the end of the XVIIIth century. Among the treasures that accumulated in European ports were boxes, chests, folding screens and cabinets covered in a strangely resistant black material decorated with bright colors: lacquer. 
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Lacquer is a natural blond-colored resin that is extracted fom the Asian sumac that is found in China, Japan, Tonkin and Cambodia. Working with lacquer is delicate and painstaking and can take months, even years it is said. It can entail as many as 30 consecutive operations, interspersed with long drying periods. A thick primer coat is applied to very dry and perfectly polished wood. Next come coats of lacquer (between three and 18) that are increasingly fluid and transparent, each coat being carefully sanded. The last coats—the purest—are tinted black to serve as a ground for the decoration. Red grounds are rare and those of other colors rarer still. The decorations are applied with a brush. The Chinese were fond of a rather strong polychromy, while the Japanese preferred silver and gold. 
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Chinese lacquer in relief: decorations in relief, used in the two countries, were obtained by applying a thick paste made of lacquer blended with other materials. This paste was modeled and sculpted with a burin and then painted as described above. 
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Traditional lacquer: polychromy on a black ground (see explanation above). Today often crazed due to the lacquer’s rigidity. 
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Coromandel lacquer: center of China. Decoration engraved into a reddish black lacquer. 
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The Europeans began to make varnishes, initially to join up the lacquer panels once they had been veneered onto the furniture, as well as for use on the ornamentation of accessory parts such as uprights, legs, sides, etc. They imitated Far Eastern taste. The final evolution corresponded to the abandonment of any reference to this taste in favor of pastoral and romantic scenes. 
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European varnish: less compact than lacquer, these varnishes only produce fine superficial crazing. 
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Pierre Kjellberg. Le Meuble français et européen du Moyen Age à nos jours. Les Editions de l’amateur. 

Joiners and Cabinetmakers

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In the middle of the XVIIth century, the old joiners guild welcomed into its midst a new category of craftsmen, the cabinetmakers. From then on, and until the abolition of guilds in 1791, a very clear distinction was made between the two trades, which were not to be confused, although they were subject to the same regulations. 
The joiners worked on solid wood. They cut it, shaped it and assembled it to make up a frame that would remain exposed. They could possibly execute the sculpted decoration, although in principle, this phae, if it was important, had to be entrusted to a sculptor. Brackets, mirror frames and generally speaking all sculpted or molded solid wood furniture was produced in the joiners’ workshops. 
The cabinetmakers practiced veneering. They completely concealed the frames of furniture by applying, over the entire surface, thin sheets of wood or other materials. The first furniture made using this technique was veneered with ebony from which the name given to these craftsmen—“ébéniste” in French—comes. Commodes, corner cupboards, secretaires, desks and other furniture covered in tortoiseshell, wood veneer, marquetry, lacquer, varnish and porcelain were the domain of the cabinetmaker. 
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Le Meuble Français et Européen du Moyen Age à nos jours. Pierre Kjellberg

Japanese "Kakiemon" Pocelain

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The name “Kakiemon” comes from the surname given to the members of the Sakaida family, whose kilns were installed near Arita (on Kyushu island) in 1617, and where the family’s descendents (12th generation) still work today. The first Kakiemon (1596-1666) seems to have learned the secret of the glaze in 1644. From that year until 1720, exporting to Europe was extremely intense and was carried out through the intermediary of the Dutch who had settled on the island of Deshima (Nagasaki bay) in 1641. 
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“Kakiemon” porcelain was known in the West in the XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries under the designation “first quality colored in Japan.” Its decoration was incorrectly called “Korean decoration.” It was copied in the XVIIIth century in Chantilly, Mennecy, Saint-Cloud, Meissen (Saxony) and England. 
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“Kakiemon” porcelain is distinguished by its characteristic glazes: 
- azure blue 
- soft orange-red 
- primrose yellow 
- grass green 
sometimes combined with blue underglazing and gold. The glazes were applied with a very light hand, most often without outlines and leaving considerable space for the white grounds.

Faience Manufacture of Saint-Clement

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In 1757, Chambrette discovered clay banks in Saint-Clement. On January 3, 1758 letters patent authorized him to create a new works with the same privileges as Lunéville. Saint-Clément was the territory of the bishopric of Metz, annexed to the kingdom of France. The Saint-Clément production was less heavily taxed than that of Lunéville’s kilns. An ingenious procedure was instituted: Lunéville’s production was sold off by Saint-Clément. A tax fraud would explain why the productions bore no sign of origin during this first period.
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Production included fireplace ornaments, buzzards and recumbent lions, jardinieres and fruits baskets, vases of all sizes, candlesticks, table services, but also an extraordinary collection of 120 different subjects, works of the sculptor Cyffle, originally from Bruges. 
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The manufacture gave rise to the expression “to look at one another like faience dogs.” The works produced statuettes that became famous but also life-size dogs with forbidding expressions that were placed in the entrance hall of building, from which comes the saying. 
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Initially heavily influenced by Strasbourg (the Hannongs), Lunéville and Saint-Clément personalized their productions. The “Chinese-style” decorations date from this period. The Siamese ambassador was received at Versailles and the major Jesuit missions settled in China. These events strongly impressed people of the day, who were wild about “all things Chinese.” The manurfactures, which had been granted “royal”status, enjoyed a monopoly in the region and the setting up of the court of Stanislas Leszczynski I, king of Poland, helped to increase sales very rapidly. 
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But the death of Stanislas, the dissemination of porcelain and the invasion of English faience starting in 1786 drove the manufactures to bankruptcy. They would, however, be taken over and refocused toward an industrial production. This new orientation, created in the XVIIIth century, would allow them to continue their activity without interruption until the present day (Men, Monuments, Events of Lunéville).

Faience Manufacture of luneville

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The manufacture was created circa 1718, but its fame dates from 1723-1724. In 1731, Jacques Chambrette obtained his letters of franchise (or permit to manufacture). In 1749, the works were granted the title “royal manufacture,” the ultimate sanction. 

Ceramics

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• Ceramics made with porous paste: unglazed pottery, glazed pottery, faience. 
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The word faience comes from Faenza, an Italian ceramic production center of the XVIth century. Majolica exclusively designates Italian majolica. 
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“Tin-based” faience. After a bisque fire (900°), the clay piece is covered with a tin oxide glaze-based (enamel) which gives it its white color. The painted decoration is then applied after the enamel dries before the second firing called “the high fire” or glost fire. The “low fire” came later, in the XVIIIth century in Europe. It permitted colors that were less resistant to heat to be used during firing at a lower temperature (750°). One example is the famous red or purple of Cassius. 
Fine English faience is made of white clay. The glaze is lead-based and so is translucent and much less costly. 
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• Ceramics made with impermeable paste: stoneware, porcelain. 
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“Soft paste,” which was created in the late XVIIth century, attempted to compete with the hard porcelain imported from the Far East and whose manufacturing secrets were not known. It was in Meissen in Saxony that Nicolas Bottger, who discovered a deposit of kaolin, developed the hard porcelain technique in 1709. It did not appear in France until 1767. The porcelain object that undergoes an initial bisque fire is called biscuit. The decoration is then painted under or over a glaze derived from feldspath using either the high-fire or low-fire technique. Entirely vitrified at 1,400°, it is the only type of ceramics that cannot be penetrated by a steel point. 
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• Ceramics made with siliceous paste. 
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Specific to productions from the Middle East. The best known come from Iznik in Anatolia. 

A Brief History of Porcelain

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At the end of the XIIIth century, the accounts of Marco Polo, the great Venetian traveler, astonished all of Europe. He described to his contemporaries who were not familiar with glazed pottery a terra cotta used in China at the court of the great Kublai Khan: its pleasing ring when struck, it white paste which was so thin and translucent that the reflection of the tea could be seen through it.
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Fascinated by its translucency, it was named porcelain after the eponymous cowrie shell (“porcelaine” in French). It was made in China using the pure white clay from Mount Kao-lin. Despite all the energy and capital invested, its manufacture remained a mystery for the French, who contented themselves with importing it, at great expense via the Silk Road, then, at the beginning of the XVIIth century, by the ships of the East India Company.
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Faience was used as a substitute until the XVIIIth century. In 1709, in Germany, using kaolin discovered in Aue, large quantities of porcelain were produced for the first time. Made in Meissen in Saxony, it was imported throughout Europe. At the same time in France, a translucent material was finally obtained—soft porcelain or French porcelain—manufactured without kaolin. Its paste was complicated and costly to produce because of the large number of rejects after firing.
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Important personalities of the kingdom were interested in its production and became its protectors: in Saint-Cloud, the duke of Orléans, Regent of France, in Chantilly, the prince of Condé, but equally in Sceaux and Mennecy. The king himself protected the works in Vincennes which, after moving to Sèvres in 1756, became the Royal Manufacture of Sèvres. Starting in 1768, thanks to the discovery of kaolin, hard porcelain was produced there. The manufacture executed many service pieces used at the court for the king, as well as gifts given to French and foreign notables.

Friday, January 1, 1971

Adam Weisweiler

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Adam Weisweiler
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A cabinetmaker born in the Rhineland, Weisweiler moved to Paris and set up shop at 67 rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine. He married in 1777 and obtained the title of master a year later. His luxury furniture was sold through the furniture dealers Daguerre and Julliot. He worked with Riesner and Beneman. His furniture is of outstanding quality: he used very little marquetry, preferring the play of dark veneers such as ebony and mahogany. His production primarily consisted of commodes with folding-joint doors, secretaires in the form of cabinets, furniture equipped with mechanical means of transformation, console tables and small pieces (such as pedestal tables with a support in bronze imitating bamboo). He manufactured furniture for the Crown such as the secretaire for the private office of Louis XVI at Versailles or the Japanese lacquer table for that of Marie-Antoinette at Saint-Cloud. Many museums have Weisweiler’s works—the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art—as do important collections such as the Wallace and that of the king of Sweden and the queen of England. 

Bernard Vanrisamburgh (d.1800)

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Bernard Vanrisamburgh
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Bernard Vanrisamburgh I, of Dutch origin, set up in Paris before 1696 and founded a dynasty of cabinetmakers the last of whom died in 1800: 
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• Bernard Vanrisamburgh I (died 1738) 
• Bernard Vanrisamburgh II (1696-1766) 
• Bernard Vanrisamburgh III (1731-1800) 
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Bernard Vanrisamburgh I was named master before 1722. He specialized in the production of bracket clocks, mantel clocks and case clocks in Boulle marquetry. 
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Bernard Vanrisamburgh II was the best known of the family. He obtained the status of master in 1730 and used the mark B.V.R.B. He worked for the king of Portugal, then for the important Parisian furniture dealers such as Hébert, then Lazare Duvaux and Poirié, focusing on luxury furniture with wood, lacquer and porcelain marquetry. Vanrisamburgh’s great specialty was furniture decorated with Japanese lacquer such as the commode he made for the queen and delivered to Fontainebleau in 1737. He supplied a good deal of furniture to the Crown, for example, the secretaire-bookcase for the Trianon in 1755 (now in the Le Mans Museum). 
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Bernard Varisamburgh III, the son of Bernard II, bought out his father’s cabinetmaking business as well as the furniture in stock. He seems to have been above all a sculptor and creator of ormolu models and devoted himself primarily to this profession after 1775. A series of neoclassic pieces of furniture, dated after 1765 and marked B.V.R.B. prove that he continued to use his father’s mark. These pieces were done in Japanese lacquer such as the commode with drawers in the Frick collection. 



Claude Turcot (d.1782)

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Claude Turcot
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Claude Turcot, master joiner in Paris, worked on the rue Saint-Nicolas during the first half of Louis XV’s reign. In 1742, he lodged a complaint for the theft of a table in beautiful walnut that he had found on a neighboring cabinetmaker’s premises, bearing the same mark as those that could be seen on other tables in Turcot’s workshop. Pierre-Claude, his son, also seems to have devoted himself to ordinary cabinetmaking. Named master on July 23, 1734, he married the following year and set up his own business on the rue de Charonne, at the corner of the rue de Lappe, where he continued to practice his trade until his death in 1782.
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Les Ebénistes du XVIII° siècle. Comte François de Salverte. Vanoest, les éditions d'Art et d'Histoire. Paris 1953.

Roger Vandercruse (b.1728)

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Roger Vandercruse (LACROIX)

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Roger Vandercruse was born in 1728 to a free worker-cabinetmaker in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine. His family was connected to Oeben, Riesner, Guillaume, Levasseur, Pioniez and Marchand. He was named master in 1749 and married a year later. In 1755, he took over his father’s business and marked his furniture R.V.L.C. for Roger Vandercruse, gallicized into Lacroix or Delacroix. He delivered furniture to the cabinetmaker-dealer Pierre Migeon II, to Joubert and to Poirié. R.V.L.C. excelled in the production of commodes, lady’s writing desks and small tables. He made furniture for the Crown such as the commode for the countess of Provence in Fontainbleau in 1771. His works can be found in the Duc de Roxburgh Collection, the Wildenstein Collection, the Lurcy Collection, the Alfred de Rothschild Collection and in many museums such as the Petit Palais and Waddesdon Manor.


Charles Topino (1725-1789)

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Charles Topino
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Charles Topino (1725-1789), established himself in 1745. He was an independent worker for a long time before becoming a master on July 1773.
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He lived in Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, successfully making luxury furniture, which he lined with melted copper. His clients were members of the French and foreign aristocracy, including the Marquis de Graville who brought a "chiffonière à la félicité", rising to an indented top, with three drawers, the last one serving as a bookrest. But he worked mainly for traders, supplying the cabinetmakers Migeon, Denizot, Moreau, Delorme and others.
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He went bankrupt on December 21st, 1789 as a result of the upheavels caused by the Revolution.
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The cabinetmaker left his mark on pieces of furniture made with taste, which frequently stood out more for their elegant aspect than for their fine workmanship. The State collections have one of his mahogany commodes, now in the Palace of Fontainebleau. 
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Comte François de Salverte, Les ébénistes du XVIIIe siècle, édition Nobele, Paris, 1962.

Tilliard Family

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Tilliard, Family
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Jean-Baptiste Tilliard (1685-1766), a skilful furniture maker, belonged to the family of journeymen in the trade, with several members representing the Parisian community around the beginning of the reigh of Louis XV. One of them, Nicolas Tillard, was established at Aux armes de France in Rue de Cléry, and was the head of the guild in 1741.
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During this this period, Jean-Baptiste, who lived in the same street, was in the service of the Crown as a joiner in ordinary to the Royal Furniture Repository. He supplied the supplied the royal residences with tables, consoles and numerous chiars in the sinuous shapes that were fashionable at the time. He remained as the head of his business, at least in name, until he was seventy-nine years old.
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Jacques-Jean-Baptiste or Jean-Baptiste II, the son of Jean-Baptiste, received his title as master on July 16th, 1752 but did not register it until April 1764 when he took over from his father, for who he had worked until then.
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With the assitanace of skilful artists, such as the sculptor Chaillon and the gilder Mathon, he made chairs of an excellent quality and original taste, decorated with characteristic motifs in the form of escutcheons and cartouches. He forged strong business relations ans was employed by the Court.
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As this master was able to live off his own incom, when the Revolution broke out he left his workshop to go and reside in Rue Beauregard where he died in 1797. 
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Comte François de Salverte, Les ébénistes du XVIIIe siècle, édition Nobele, Paris, 1962.

François Rübestück (1722-1785)

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François Rübestück
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François Rübestück (1722-1785), who was og German origin, had been working for at least seven years in Faubourg Saint-Antoine when he obtained his title as master on May 7th, 1766. After living in Rue de la Roquette he transferred his workshop to Rue de Charenton.
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He was a skilful and meticulous cabinetmaker. Hawever his excesive habits, which led his wife to ask foe separation, prevented him from making the most of his talents.
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This master signed a fairly large number of works, several of which clearly disclose the technique of a foreigner. The most admirable piece bearing the stamp of Rübestück is a commode with a floral decoration, which was once part of the former Cronier Collection. 
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Comte François de Salverte, Les ébénistes du XVIIIe siècle, édition Nobele, Paris, 1962

Pierre Roussel (b.1723)

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Pierre Roussel
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Pierre Roussel was born in Paris in 1723, the son of a journeyman cabinetmaker. He was named master on August 21, 1745, became a juror for his guild in 1762, a deputy in 1777, deputy syndic in 1779 and head syndic the following year. He practiced his trade on the rue de Charenton, opposite the rue Saint-Nicolas, below the image of Saint Peter, his patron. After relatively humble beginnings, he succeeding in greatly enlarging his business and became a famous cabinetmaker (one of the leading craftsmen in his profession in the capital). His productions where as numerous as they were varied and showed an extremely fertile imagination and very sure talent: the most diverse types of furniture were handled with equal skill. He received commissions from the prince of Condé for the Palais Bourbon and the Chantilly château. When he died, his widow took over the management of his firm, aided by her two sons, Pierre-Michel, who became a master on August 28, 1766 and Pierre “the Younger,” named master on August 13, 1771. 

David Roentgen (1743-1809)

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David Roentgen
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David Roentgen (1743-1809), a famous German Cabinetmaker.
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From 1764 onwards, he worked as a partner of his father, Abraham Roentgen, who soon handed over the managment of the business to him. He succeeded his father in 1772.
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He carried out estensive promotional tours. In preparation, he went to Paris during the month of August 1774 on a study trip; During the nest five years, he producerd a series of masterpieces that mark the height of his career from the artistic point of view. He then returned to France in hope of making his talents known there. Behind him arrived carts laden with precious furniture. The most outstanding piece was a monumental sécretaire made for Louis XVI. The Queen also purchased a number of exceptionally fine pieces of furniture from him. He specialised in furniture with mechanisms and luxurious items items embellished with floral marquetry.
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In addition, he organised of his works that aroused great enthusiam. He finally achieved his goal. He delivered to Prince Charles de Laurraine, Governor of the Netherlands, a marvellous sécretaire similar to the one of the of France.
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Most of his works have remained in Germany. The former Royal Furniture Repository of Prussia owns a notable collection, kept in the Mon Bijou Pavilion and the Potsdam Castle.
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Comte François de Salverte, Les ébénistes du XVIIIe siècle, Nobele, paris, 1965

Jean-Henri Riesener (1734-1806)

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Jean-Henri Riesener
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Jean-Henri Riesener (1734-1806), the greatest cabinetmaker of all times in the view of experts.
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When he was still young, he entered the workshop of Jean-François Oeben, the cabinetmaker to the King at the Arsenal of Paris, where he was able to perfect his talents. On the death of oeben, he became the head of the workshop and received his title of master on January 23rd, 1768. In July 1774, he became a cabinetmaker in ordinary to the Royal Furniture Repository.
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The next years were the most brilliant in the career of this artist. The accounts of the Royal Furniture Repository testify to the extraordinary popularity he enjoyed at the Court. He was also employed by the Comte and Comtesse de Provence, the Comte and the Comtesse d'Artois, the Duc d'Orléans and Duc du Penthièvre. All of high society acquired furniture from him.
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He created numerous models, one more magnificent than the other, ornemented with bronzes, panels of porcelain or lacquer, or richly and harmonious inlaid compositions. All his pieces were made with materials of the highest quality.
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Comte François de Salverte, Les ébénistes du XVIIIe siècle, Nobele, Paris, 1965

Remy Pierre

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Remy Pierre
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Pierre Rémy was received as a master carpenter in 1750 and established himself in Rue Poissonnière in Paris. He became bankrupt in 1780 but did not retire from business until around 1788. Stylistically, his work is very close to the production of Nicolas Heurtaut and Louis Delannois. He participated actively in the neo-classic evolution in its Parisian centre between 1760 and 1775. 


Philippe Poirie (d.1753)

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Philippe Poirie
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Philippe Poirié, the nephew of the joiner Noël Poirié (died 1753) was named master on October 23, 1765. He opened his business on the rue de Charenton in Paris, in the cabinetmakers quarter. He worked under the same shop sign as his uncle—“au Poirier”—until circa 1788.
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His Louis XV-style chairs are of standard quality. Those in the Louis XVI style were very frequently marked by the transition style of the 1770s. He often used an oval back in his chairs.
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Bill Pallot Le Mobilier du Musée du Louvre Tome II Editions Faton 1993.

Fam Pluviet (d.1782)

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Fam Pluviet
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Philippe-Joseph Pluvinet, a Parisian joiner, became a master on July 14, 1754 and shortly thereafter set up his business on the rue de Cléry where he remained until his death in May 1793. He made a name for himself in the production of luxury seats. 
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Louis-Magdeleine Pluvinet, in all likelihood the son of Philippe-Joseph, became a master on April 19, 1775 and opened his own workshop on the same street—the rue de Cléry. He died between 1782 and 1785. The works signed with his mark are in no way less admirable than those of Philippe Pluvinet. 
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Comte François de Salverte, Les Ebénistes du XVIII°siècle.

Nicolas Petit (1732-1791)

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Nicolas Petit
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Nicolas Petit (1732-1791), a French cabinetmaker nominated master in 1761.
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His estblishments at An Nom de Jésus, in Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, were extemly popular.
His stamp can be found on a large number of works that reveal his good taste and versatile talents. Early examples include splendid commodes in the curved shapes typical of the Louis XV style. One piece of this kind, richly decorated in floral marquetry, adorns the lbrary of the toxn of Versailles. Under Louis XVI, Nicolas Petit produced mainly pieces of furniture in solid wood, sometimes decorated with panels of lacquer, Sèvres porcelain or Florentine mosaics 
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Comte François de Salverte, Les ébénistes du XVIIIe siècle, édition de Nobele, Paris, 1962

Jean-François Oeben (b.1720 -d.1763)

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Jean-François Oeben
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Jean-François Oeben, the famous cabinetmaker of Louis XV was born around 1720 and died in Paris on January 21st, 1763.
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His vocation for artistic cabinetmaking did not prevent him from trying his hand at wood sculpture and mechanical lock making during his youth.
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He was probably living in Faubourg Saint-Antoine when he married Françoise Marguerite Vandercruse on June 29th, 1749. She was the eldest daughter of the cabinetmaker François Vandercruse, known as Lacroix. Shortly afterwoards, he joined the workshop of Joseph-Charles Boule, one of the sons of the illustrious marquetry craftsmen, who sublet part of his lodgings in Louvre galleries, and lent hil some tools and number of his models. While assisting this artist, Oeben had the freedom to produce works independently. he supplied several to the dealer Lazare Duvaux, in particular seven inlaid frames for Madame de Pompadour; This was his first work for the King's Favourire who would soon become his loyal client.
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Following a recommendation by Marigny, he obtained a post as cabinetmaker to the King at the Manufacture des Gobelins. he specialized in making armoires to hold collections. He hired the most skilful crasftsmen available. With Riesner, his pupil and successor, he brought the cabinetmaker Leleu into his workshop and also used the talent of Carlin.
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On his death in 1763, Riesener became head of the workshop by marying Oeben's widow. As a result, many pieces of cabinetwork marked with the name of J.F. Oeben should, in fact, be attributed to his illustrious pupil 
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Comte François de Salverte, Les ébénistes du XVIIIe siècle, Edition Nobele, Paris, 1965

Nadal Family

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Nadal, a Parisian family of skilful makers.
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The oldest, Jean, had a flourishing business in Villeneuve around the middle of the 18th century. This master craftsman left his stamp on many pieces that belong to the height of the Louis XV style, such as a chair decorated with foliage and Rocaille motifs, owned by the Musée des Rats Décoratifs. Both two sons inherited his talents.
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Jean-René, known as Nadal l'Ainé, was born in 1733. After being received as a master on 22 September 1756, he settled in Rue de Cléry, at the Lion d'argent, where he ran a busy highly successful furniture workshop. During the reign of Louis XVI, he made pieces for the Royal Furniture Repository. After Jean-René Nadal retired, he lived in a country house he owned in Vilette. This craftsman marked his work with a stamp bearing his nickname "NADALLAINE". He is known for having made exceptionally fine pieces of furniture.
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Jean-Michel, known as Nadal le Jeune, the brother of Jean-René, was born in 1734. He obtained his title as master on 6 Febuary 1765. He too lived in Rue de Cléry. It was probably in the old family home where Jean-Michel considered himself as his father's successor because his pieces are signed with a similar inscription that bears the initial of his Christian name Jean, in front of his patronymic name. 
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Comte François de Salverte, Les ébénistes du XVIIIe siècle, édition Nobele, Paris, 1962

Bernard Molitor b.(1773)

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Bernard Molitor
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Bernard Molitor was received as a master on 26 October 1787. He was born in Germany and settled in Paris in 1773 with his brother Michel. Although he encountered difficulties at the beginning of his career, after he became a master, he began to receive commissions from the Court. He was unquestionably one of the greatest cabinet-makers of his time, not because of the large quantity of official commissions he received but because of the fine quality of his workmanship. Like G. Jacob, he was a precursor. After 1790, he applied motifs typical of the Empire period to his furniture. He had a large and distinguished private clientele. He died when he was over one hundred years old. 

Fam Migeon (b.1701)

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Fam Migeon
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Three representatives of this family, grandfather, father and son, were master cabinetmakers and dealers during the XVIIIth century. They all had the same first name: Pierre. The first was born sometime between 1670 and 1675. A Calvinist, he married a woman of the same religion about 1700, Judith Mesureur, widow of the cabinetmaker François Collet. Assisted by his wife, he ran a sizeable firm in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine on the rue de Charenton, opposite the Dames Anglaises convent, in a house where his son and grandson subsequently lived. One of his trade books, now at the Bibliothèque Nationale, shows that he manufactured all types of everyday and luxury furniture. 
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Pierre II, his son and successor, was even more renowned than his father. Born in 1701, he married a young lady by the name of Orry or Horry who bore him a single son and died in 1734. Five years after, he set himself up as a furniture manufacturer and dealer on the rue de Charenton, opposite the Dames Anglaises convent. At this point he was already reasonably prosperous and owned the building in which he worked. The archives of the Seine possess a large ledger written in his hand, in which he mentioned, from this period, on all payments made to his suppliers, their addresses, often with a list of their works and sometimes the names of customers who had placed an order with him. 
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Starting in 1740, he worked for the Menus-Plaisir and the Royal Furniture Repository, supplying Madame de Pompadour, the prince of Soubise and the chancellors of Aguesseau. Migeon obtained his stock from more than 250 craftsmen, among them Jacques Dubois, Criaed, Canabas, R.V.L.C., Mondon and Macret.
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Comte François de Salverte. Les Ebénistes du XVIII° siècle. Les Editions d’art et d’histoire. Paris, 1953.

Etienne Meunier

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Etienne Meunier 
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Etienne Meunier became a master circa 1732. He was the first and most eminent of the Meunier dynasty. He produced some furniture, but his talent was especially focused on seats: desk chairs of many kinds, armchairs with light and graceful curved backs, chairs with carefully designed sinuous curves and in particular daybeds of which he made a great many. 
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Etienne Meunier’s style was extremely simple. He limited himself to flower heads used in a very restrained manner to decorate his chairs which, although characterized by a severe line, were always harmonious. 
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Jean Nicolay "L'Art et la Manière des Maîtres Ebénistes Français au XVIII° siècle". 

Etienne Levasseur (b.1721- 1798 d.)

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Etienne Levasseur
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Etienne Levasseur, born in 1721, was among the leading cabinet-makers of his time. After working with one of the sons of André-Charles Boulle, known as Boulle de Sève, he established himself as a skilled craftsman, under the patronage of the king, at the Cadran Bleu in Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine. After marrying a daughter of the cabinet-maker Nicolas Marchand, he became a master on 2 April 1767.
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During the reign of Louis XVI, Levasseur devoted part of his time copying and repairing marquetry which was once again in vogue. The knowledge he acquired from the descendants of the great artist enabled him to excel in this field. He also reproduced precious pieces in lacquer, mahogany and satinwood inlaid with amaranth. His talents were used by the Court which asked him to make furniture for the Château of Versailles and the one at Saint-Cloud. In 1782, his colleagues elected him as deputy or councillor of the community. He does not seem to have exercised these functions after the Revolution but continued to live in Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, where he passed away on 8 December 1798 at the age of 77. 
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Comte François de Salverte 
Les Ebénistes du XVIII° siècle.

Charles Joseph Lemarchand (1795-1872)

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Charles Joseph Lemarchand
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Charles-Joseph Lemarchand was the son of Antoine-Adrien, a postmaster in Dieppe, where he was born. He had one brother and three sisters, one of whom married a craftsman-carpenter and another a cabinet-maker, the son of the famous P. Roussel.
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He was received as a master on the eve of the French Revolution, on 17 May 1789. On 4 March 1795, he married Radegonde Fouquet, daughter of a merchant of pins, and had two sons, one of them being Louis-Edouard who worked for his father from 1815 onwards.
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Louis-Edouard Lemarchand (1795-1872), son of Charles-Joseph and of Radegonde Fouquet, was born in Paris on 9 October 1795 in the house on Rue du Pas de Mule where his parents lived at the time, before they moved their cabinet-making workshop into it. He first studied architecture, a knowledge which was considered to be very useful for furniture-making. 
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DENISE LEDOUX-LEBARD 
Les Ebénistes du XIX° siècle 
Les éditonds de l'amateur réédition 1984 

Jean-François Leleu

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Jean-François Leleu 
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Comte François de Salverte, Les ébénistes du XVIIIe siècle, édition de Nobele, Paris, 1965

Jean-Pierre Latz (b.1691-d.1754)

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Jean-Pierre Latz
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Jean-Pierre Latz (1691-1754) was born in the electorate of Cologne circa 1691. He arrived in Paris in 1719 and was naturalized in 1736. In May 1739, he purchased the office of Privileged Cabinetmaker to the King, which absolved him from the obligation of becoming a master. He worked for Madame Elisabeth, Frederick II of Prussia and Augustus II of Poland. Legal proceedings of 1849 mention that he chiseled his own bronzes and owned his models, which would explain the originality of his furniture’s bronzes. Even though he was in violation of the casters-chiselers guild regulations, he took charge of his bronzes until the end of his life, as Charles Cressent and Jacques Confesseur were the experts for his models.