This table looks like an invitation to have tea with its designer, Édouard Lièvre, and Barbedienne, the bronze founder who cast it.
Ferdinand Barbedienne (1810-1892) after Édouard Lièvre (1828-1886), c. 1880, bronze tea table with a dark patina featuring gold highlights and decoration imitating bamboo and dragons, cloisonné enamel top decorated with Jiaqing period flowers, 89 x 87 x 56 cm/35.04 x 34.25 x 22.04 in.
Lorraine-born Édouard Lièvre settled in Paris and worked with most of the late 19th century’s leading bronze decoration workshops. Successful at everything he touched, he was one of the period’s most innovative creators as well as one of the most prolific, designing projects for a wide range of products from bronze furnishings to ceramics and neo-Renaissance, Japanese or Sino-Japanese-style furniture.
The Japanese art Lièvre saw at the 1867 Universal Exhibition in Paris swept him off his feet. After his death, Drouot held two auctions of his work, from March 21 to 24, 1887 and on February 27, 1890. “The room was packed,” one critic wrote. “Lovers of fine art furniture have not had the chance to see such remarkable work by the late master at auction in a long time... His furniture will go down in history like that of his famous forbears in past centuries." This c. 1880 gilded bronze tea table by Fernand Barbedienne with a Jiaqing period (1796-1820) cloisonné enamel top fetched €37,800.