A remarkable, rare and important 19th century marquetry cabinet signed by Henri Picard - a bronzier notably commissioned by Napoleon III..
In the world of 18th and 19th century furniture, provenance is highly sought after and rarely attained. So often, time has destroyed all links to the past. So, suffice to say, we are delighted to present this extraordinary cabinet signed by Henri Picard, notable bronzier who amongst other work, was notably commissioned by Napoleon III..
Considered one of the most significant bronziers of the 19th century, his work embodied a style and quality of workmanship that surpassed many of his contemporaries, and he collaborated with the likes of Charles Perrault,Raingo Freres, Denière et Fils and Grault. Picard was known for producing exceptional objects, clocks, and candelabrum and contributed work to the petits appartements of Emperor Napoleon III with several pieces, including an important pair of twelve-light candelabra that remain in the Musée du Louvre today.
As well as the remarkable objects he produced, Picard also produced exceptional ormolu mounts for the top cabinetmakers of the time. This 19th century marquetry cabinet is signed by Picard, and is one such example. Exceptional in every way, the breakfront marble top above a finely inlaid and cross-banded frieze mounted with finely cast gilded bronze.
Look closely at the metalwork and you will see all manner of detail including veining in the leaves, and delicately chiselled hair and fruit above the cornucopia, perfectly illustrating abundance, over a breakfront door with profuse geometric and floral parquetry in cross-banded kingwood and walnut surrounding a central oval panel with ebony string inlaid cartouche bordering foliate marquetry in an array of exotic timbers in the form of flowers, leaves, urns, fruit and nuts, flanked by brass inlaid purple head pilasters and geometric parquetry side panels all raised on four turned tapering feet embellished with inverted ormolu mounts in the form of acanthus leaves.
One must look closely at the geometric and foliate inlay of this cabinet which each forms an individual piece of timber to appreciate the extraordinary time and care taken in producing this piece. This work has been done not just across the front of the piece but extended across the sides as well.
There are several recent auction examples of his work made in collaboration with Raingo Freres or Denière et Fils, both of whom have works still seen in the Louvre today and several examples can be seen in Christopher Payne’s recent publication, ‘Paris Furniture:The Luxury Market of the 19th Century’.
Left image courtesy of Mayfair Gallery, Napoleon III period ormolu clock set by Picard and Deniere.