French Occasional Table Attributed to Paul Sormani

Do we have favourites? Hmmm…Yes we undoubtedly do.

Whilst at times it can feel like choosing between one’s own children, there are some pieces which really do leap out. Quality of inlay, exceptional metalwork, a timeless and sophisticated design are all great reasons to love a piece of antique furniture…but some just have that certain  je ne sais quoi. Watch our latest video on an occasional table we attribute to the famous Paul Sormani.


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An exceptional 19th century French occasional table attributed to Paul Sormani, the beautifully shaped top with central radiating cross banded sunburst veneer inlaid with tulipwood flowers and leaves flanked by a pair of geometric floral panels, kingwood cross bandings and original gilded bronze moulding in the form of reeds, olive leaves and ribbons over a shaped kingwood, cross-banded frieze with original gilded bronze handles housing a single drawer with polished mahogany interior raised on finely tapering cabriole legs embellished with gilded bronze. This is a truly remarkable little table of outstanding workmanship and design.

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Paul Sormani (1817 – 1877) was a preeminent 19th Century Italian cabinetmaker (ébéniste), born in Venice in 1817, and was a maker of fine ‘meubles de luxe’.

Having moved to Paris, Sormani established his workshop there in 1847 and soon began producing high quality items of standard and fantasy furniture, which he described as meubles de luxe (‘luxury furniture’). Sormani specialised in reproducing styles of the Louis XV and Louis XVI eras, which proved immensely popular with discerning European aristocracy. The Empress Eugenie, for example, who was wife of Emperor Napoleon III, chose to decorate her palaces with Sormani’s beautiful furniture.

His work was described in the catalogue of the 1867 Exposition Universelle as: ‘toute sa production révèle une qualité d’exécution de tout premier ordre’. Sormani exhibited in Paris in 1849, 1855, 1862, 1867, 1878 and 1900, and in London in 1862, winning numerous medals.

The catalogue for the 1867 Universal Exposition described his work as one with “une qualité d’exécution de tout premier ordre” or as one with having “a quality of execution of the first order.”



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