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Lot n° 153


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SUPERB "ANTIQUE MALE BUST" WEDDING ARMOIRE BY THOMAS HACHE Very richly inlaid on both leaves and cornice, with a frieze of alternating light and dark wood dice, foliate and floral scrolls, an antique-style bust of a man, female figures, pediments, pedestals, bouquets of naturalistic flowers (carnations, tulips, sunflowers, narcissus, etc....), engraved blue scagliola ornaments (florets, draperies, ribbons, foliage), Renommées, garlands, leafy men's masks and oil lamps, in a tripartite composition of reserves surrounded by cartouches, on a stained walnut background and cloudy walnut burl countergrounds on the front. The walnut and blond sycamore fillet sides form three rectangular reserves and the cornice sides repeat the leafy masks of smiling men at the ends of the cornice frieze on the front. Removable dovetail-mounted fir wood interior pedestal, opening to two rows of three drawers each, with wire walnut front. Interior doors in walnut with two rectangular recesses. Fir wood frame, six blackened wood ball feet. Thomas HACHE (Toulouse 1664 - Grenoble 1747), Chambéry circa 1690-1695 H. 204.2 ; W. 152 ; D. 62 cm Interior and back restorations. Lifts, cracks and splits. Attached hinges, brass plugs and lock escutcheons, iron turntable, attached key and antique racks. The original back is reinforced with rods all around the fir planks. AN ORIGINAL "ANTIQUE" MOTIF BY THOMAS HACHE With this antique-style bust of a man, which adorns the center of the frieze of this so-called "wedding" or "ceremonial" armoire, such is the quality of its naturalistic marquetry - some of whose colors may have been bright originally - Thomas Hache once again demonstrates his wide range of sources, drawing here on Italian Renaissance sculpture inspired by Antiquity. Among the cupboards recorded to date, we often come across a motif inspired by the Middle Ages, on the theme of the Wild Man, in a scene where courtly love prevails over lust, illustrated by a young man grabbing the hair of a shaggy man who drops his club, visible on four cupboards (ibidem, pp. 82-83, 91, 92-93, 95). This motif of a man's bust in the antique style has been found again, quite recently, first on a cabinet simulating a two-body, then on a large mirror by Thomas Hache, which will be reproduced in Volume 2, as will cabinets with ornaments taken from ancient Egypt. Of particular note here is the presence of scagliola, an intense turquoise blue that has retained all the finesse of its engraving. This process, invented in 17th-century Italy to imitate at lower cost the marble and hardstone marquetry of the Florentine Renaissance workshops, uses selenite, a variety of gypsum, which is heated, crushed and mixed with color pigments, water and skin glue, then applied warm to the cavities in the decoration, before being engraved with a drypoint to bring out the details, and finally polished to give it the shine of marble. Thomas Hache, who first settled in Chambéry, the administrative capital of the Duchy of Savoy, very close to Italy, had the idea of using this complex process in his marquetry, while Parisian cabinetmakers used horn stained in various colors (ibidem, pp. 72-77). Expert: Françoise ROUGE, expert to the Paris Court of Appeal, 06 03 93 23 76