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Armchair

  • Place of origin:

    France (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1870 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Solid mahogany and mahogany veneer on beech, with gilt-bronze mounts and covers of silk damask

  • Museum number:

    W.27-1980

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Underneath this chair are all the stencilled and inked inventory marks that should connect it with a set of chairs supplied to Napoleon I at the Palais des Tuileries in Paris between 1799 and 1803. In fact the chair is a fake. The faker has taken the frame of a genuine chair from this set and decorated it in a much grander fashion. The foot mounts, for instance, were designed for a table, and close inspection of the sides of the front legs shows that they have had to be built out to make them thick enough to fit the mounts.

Physical description

Archair of mahogany with gilt-bronze mounts, the arm supports as winged sphinxes. This chair is stamped by Jacob Fréres and is stencilled underneath with the inventory marks of the Palais de Tuileries and the number 27463, which refers to its removal to the Garde-Meuble in 1826 from Chateau de St. Cloud. Though the inventory marks are genuine, the chair itself is a fake, built on the carcase of a simpler chair supplied by Jacob Fréres in 1802-3. The legs have clearly been thickened to take foot mounts that elsewhere are only used by Jacob for tables.

Place of Origin

France (made)

Date

ca. 1870 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Solid mahogany and mahogany veneer on beech, with gilt-bronze mounts and covers of silk damask

Marks and inscriptions

JACOB FRERES / RUE MESLEE
Makers's mark; under front rail; stamping (marking)

PLS DES TUILES
Stamp; under back rail

27463
inside PL rail; stencilling

SC
inside back rail; stencilling

Dimensions

Height: 107.8 cm, Width: 64.5 cm, Depth: 56.5 cm

Object history note

Originally on of a set of 6 mahogany armchairs supplied for the household of Napoleon as First Consul at the Palais de Tuileries: '11 pluviôse an VIII(31 janvier 1800): pour le service du Premier Consul, six grands fauteuils en acajou, à crosse, pieds de devant à gaines sculptés de chimères ailées’. In 1826 they were sent from the Chateau de Saint Cloud to the Garde Meuble. This very grand, throne form, was presumably built up on the carcase of one of this set in about 1870-80. Evidence of thickening of the legs is clear and the only use by the firm of Jacob of this particular foot mount is on tables. The model may be the giltwood chairs designed for the Throne Room at the Palais de Tuileries in 1804 by Percier and Fontaine, supplied by Jacob on 1 December 1804, the day before the coronation of Napoleon as Emperor. One of this set was sold by Sotheby's, London, 7 July 2009. The portrait of Jerome Bonaparte, King of Spain, painted by François Pascal Simon Gérard in 1810 (Chateau de Versailles) shows a throne with a cresting very similar to this chair.

Descriptive line

Armchair of mahogany, with gilt-bronze mounts, upholstered in red and green silk damask

Labels and date

ARMCHAIR

W.27-1980

'American and European Art and Design 1800-1900'

The chair is stamped 'JACOB FRERES RUE MESLEE' (the firm used this stamp from 1796 to 1803) and 'PLS DES TUILES', for the Palais des Tuileries. It also bears a stencilled number 27463, referring to its removal to the Garde-Meuble, the national furniture repository, from Maréchal Berthier's rooms at the Château de Saint Cloud. The presence of sphinxes may indicate the influence of Napoleon's Egyptian campaign of 1798. [1987-2006]
Armchair
Jacob Freres
Manufacturer
French: 1800-1803
Mahogany with ormolu mounts, modern upholstery
This elaborate chair bears the stamp of Jacob Freres, the most celebrated French cabinet makers of their day. There are several other pieces of their furniture in this gallery. It bears inventory marks indicating that it was made for the Tuileries and was at St Cloud by the 1820s. Jacob supplied chairs for Napoleon's apartments at the Tuileries in 1800. [pre 1999]

Production Note

Possibly made in 1870-1880 incorporating elements from a chair c. 1800.

Materials

Mahogany; Gilt-bronze; Beech; Silk damask

Techniques

Gilding; Joinery; Veneering; Upholstered

Subjects depicted

Sphinxes; Lyre

Categories

Furniture; Fakes & forgeries

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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