An exceptional ormolu-mounted maple, amaranth and espenille marquetry, specimen marble and pietre dure inlaid secrétaire à abattant by Emmanuel Alfred Beurdeley
Lot 162
An exceptional ormolu-mounted maple, amaranth and espenille marquetry, specimen marble and pietre dure inlaid secrétaire à abattant by Emmanuel Alfred Beurdeley, circa 1880
Sold for £96,000 (US$ 150,550) inc. premium

Lot Details
An exceptional ormolu-mounted maple, amaranth and espenille marquetry, specimen marble and pietre dure inlaid secrétaire à abattant by Emmanuel Alfred Beurdeley An exceptional ormolu-mounted amaranth, palissandre and espenille marquetry, specimen marble and pietre dure inlaid secrétaire à abattant by Emmanuel Alfred Beurdeley An exceptional ormolu-mounted amaranth, palissandre and espenille marquetry, specimen marble and pietre dure inlaid secrétaire à abattant by Emmanuel Alfred Beurdeley An exceptional ormolu-mounted amaranth, palissandre and espenille marquetry, specimen marble and pietre dure inlaid secrétaire à abattant by Emmanuel Alfred Beurdeley A Pietre dure and marquetry secretaire by A.Beurdeley A Pietre dure and marquetry secretaire by A.Beurdeley A Pietre dure and marquetry secretaire by A.Beurdeley A Pietre dure and marquetry secretaire by A.Beurdeley A Pietre dure and marquetry secretaire by A.Beurdeley A Pietre dure and marquetry secretaire by A.Beurdeley A Pietre dure and marquetry secretaire by A.Beurdeley
The Beurdeley Collection
An exceptional ormolu-mounted maple, amaranth and espenille marquetry, specimen marble and pietre dure inlaid secrétaire à abattant
by Emmanuel Alfred Beurdeley, circa 1880
the portor marble top above a long drawer and a fall front, centred by a pietre dure marquetry panel depicting a leopard and a bird in a landscape within an inlay of laurel garlands, opening to reveal a gilt-tooled green leather writing surface within a Greek key surround and an interior in mahogany, sycamore and espenille, fitted with a shelf, two pigeon holes and four small drawers, the lower section opening with two doors to an interior with a shelf; decorated to the front and sides with pietre dure marquetery panels depicting birds and flowers, surrounded by an inlaid classical decor of ribbons, drapery and bouquets, stamped to the back A.BEURDELEY A PARIS, 68cm wide, 37cm deep, 143.5cm high (26.5" wide, 14.5" deep, 56" high).

Footnotes

  • Pierre Verlet wrote about the Beurdeleys' work : "Du grand art, qui laisse rêveur. Un XVIIIe qui continue de vivre."

    The present secrétaire can be considered as one of Emmanuel Alfred Beurdeley's "masterpieces". It seems a very good example to understand his eye and taste for perfection. The structure is inherited from the Transitional style but the ingenuity in the composition of the décor, the quality of execution and the combination of both marquetery and pietre dure are exceptional. According to Beurdeley's description (below) it was based on a model by Nicolas Petit for the Garde Meuble Royal. The piece concerned has not been found although Anne Droguet, in her book on Nicolas Petit, refers to a piece that could correspond (not illustrated- p.84).

    The significance of this piece is also reflected by the fact that it features in his last will and testament where he bequeathed it to his wife who was using it as her secrétaire [he only listed two other pieces of furniture: an 18th century cylinder desk, for his oldest son and the secrétaire after Riesener (see lot 170) for his daughter].

    Furthermore, we can see the present secrétaire in situ in Emmanuel Alfred Beurdeley's hotel particulier, in his bedroom, rue de Clichy in Paris (see illustration). It was situated under Emmanuel Alfred Beurdeley's portrait by the Swedish painter Anders Zorn (1860-1920) that can be seen today in the Musée d'Orsay, Paris.

    In his own Inventory of the content of his hotel particulier, in 1901, Beurdeley describes it as follows: Secrétaire en érable orné de tableaux en mosaïques motivés par une ornementation en marqueterie de bois. Dessus en marbre Portor. Exécuté par A. Beurdeley fils d'après un modèle de Petit qui avait fait tout un mobilier semblable pour la couronne de France, ce qui explique la fleur de lys des côtés.

    According to the archives he only made one other secrétaire of this type (private collection), with different pietre dure panels, illustrated on a photograph from the workshop archives (see illustration) and in Camille Mestdagh, fig.287.

    As noted in his personal copy of the first Beurdeley sale catalogue in 1895, 6-9 May: Catalogue of Furniture and Works of Art made in the workshop and under the direction of M.A Beurdeley, the present lot was bought back by Emmanuel Alfred Beurdeley himself who changed his mind and decided to keep it. It was originally offered under the lot number 328, described as follows: Secrétaire de style Louis XVI, présentant sur ses trois faces des plaquettes, oiseaux, vases, animaux, etc. en mosaïque de pierres dures entourées de motifs d'encadrement en marqueterie de bois clair. Il est enrichi de bronzes dorés. Dessus de marbre portor. Haut. 1m 43 cent; larg. 68 cent.; prof. 40 cent..

    Provenance:
    - Emmanuel Alfred Beurdeley Hotel Particulier, "chambre de M.Beurdeley", Paris.
    - Emmanuel Alfred Beurdeley's wife.
    - Thence by descent to the present owner.

    Literature:
    Camille Mestdagh, L'ameublement d'art français (1850-1900),(avec la colleboration de Pierre Lecoules), 2010.
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