French furniture in the Rococo style

On 12 June 2019, by Anne Foster and Claire Papon

Produced in the 19th century, this cabinet chest with doors is based on a medal cabinet made for the king at the Palace of Versailles. The bronzes, treated as genuine sculptures, almost overshadow the marquetry. 

19th century, cabinet chest with doors in kingwood marquetry with latticework motifs and Breche marble top, after Louis XV's medal cabinet at the Palace of Versailles, 92 x 173 x 64 cm.
Estimate: €80,000/100,000

The model for this cabinet can be considered one of the masterpieces of French royal furniture: the medal cabinet delivered in 1739 for a corner room in the Palace of Versailles, where it can still be seen today. Although there is no stamp, it was made by Antoine-Robert Gaudreaux (ca. 1680-1746), cabinetmaker to the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne from 1726 until his death, and a specialist in kingwood marquetry work. He also produced the chest of drawers with bronzes by Caffieri in the king's bedroom at Versailles, and the low wardrobe with three doors in the form of a bookshelf delivered in 1744 to go with the medal cabinet. Gaudreaux was not the only one involved in his furniture. The brothers Sébastien-Antoine and Paul-Ambroise Slodtz, designers for the King's Bedroom and Cabinet, drew the extremely precise plans used by the cabinetmaker, while the bronzes were entrusted to a sculptor, Caffieri or the Slodtzes themselves. As an icon of French furniture, this piece was copied many times in the 19th century, including by the cabinetmaker Sormani. We also know that Richard Seymour-Conway (1800-1870), the father of Richard Wallace, had this model reproduced in Paris between 1850 and 1870, at the same time as a dozen other pieces of furniture.

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