late 19th century
Sold for US$353,000 inc. premium
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An important François Linke Louis XV style gilt bronze mounted marquetry bibliotheque
late 19th century
late 19th century
height 100in (254cm); width 108in (274cm); depth 19in (48cm)
Provenance: Corinthian Studios, Saratoga, California
Illustrated; Christopher Payne 19th Century European Furniture, Suffolk, 1981, page 166, illustration 445.
This bibliotheque, after mounts and marquetry found on Louis XV's Bureau du Roi. According to Christopher Payne in his book, Francois Linke 1855-1946, The Belle Epoque of French Furniture, Linke produced a number of models incorporating the mounts and marquetry panels of the Bureau including three Bureaux du Roi and three bureaux plats after Benneman, in addition to a commode (#720), a chair (#2165), a pedestal, two pianos and an enormous bibliotheque for a client in Pittsburgh (#2429), as well as the offered bibliotheque.
THE BUREAU DU ROI
One of the most important masterpieces of the 18th century is the Bureau du Roi by Jean-Francois Oeben, completed by Jean-Henri Riesener for Louis XV and delivered for the King's study at Versailles in 1769. After the Revolution Riesner removed the medallion with the king's portrait as well as the Sevres porcelain plaques with interlaced "L's". Those plaques were replaced with Sevres blue and white bisque plaques. The first 19th century copy of the Bureau was made for the Marquess of Hertford between 1853 and 1870 by either Dreschler or Drexler and is now in the Wallace Collection. Linke's version, first produced in the late 19th century, was clearly an attempt to recreate the original Riesener model, incorporating the marquetry panels, fascae, palm fronds, tied laurel enclosed medallions, cornucopiae, Chinese urns and clock, later incorporating these into the offered bibliotheque.
The panels on the bibliotheque are nearly identical to those found on the Bureau du Roi. The themes, trophies and medallions on the original Bureau are heavily influenced by Cesare Ripa (1555-1622) and his Iconologia published in 1593. The Iconologia is a treatise on symbolism in art and dictates symbols that should be used to depict various themes in literature and painting, even suggesting symbolic mottoes to incorporate on trophies, banners and paintings. This treatise was extremely influential and translated into many languages.
The lower panels on both case side of the bibliotheque, the fruits de mer and the peaceful harvest of plenty are found on the right side of the Bureau du Roi as marquetry issuing from the gilt bronze cornucopiae (see illustration). Both the celestial and terrestrial panels on the main door of the bibliotheque are found on the back of the Bureau du Roi. The two martial trophies on the case sides of the bibliotheque are those of the Royal martial trophy. The roundel panel on the right side of the bibliotheque, depicting the two eagles, is found on the right side of the Bureau du Roi cylinder lid, with the inclusion of two of Cesare Ripa mottoes: BREVI COMPLECTOR SINGULA CANTU (I embrace unique things in a short song) and PASTORUM CARMINA LUDO (I play song's of the shepherds).
The roundel on the right side of the bibliotheque depicts an open book with verse from the Iliad: O MUSES QUI REGNEZ DANS LE CELESTE EMPIRE, DITE CEQU'AUX MORTELS VOUS SEULES POUVEZ DIRE, CHASTE DIVINITES A QUI DANS L'UNIVERS, TOUS LES TEMS, TOUS LES LIEUX SONT A LA FOIS OUVERTS, LA SEULE RENOMME ET M'INSPIRE ET NOUS GUIDES... (O Muses who reign in the celestial empire, Tell to the mortals as only you can (speak), Chaste Divinities who are in the Universe, All the times, all the places are open at once, Fame alone inspires and guides me ... On the Bureau du Roi this panel was depicted with the addition of other Ripa mottoes: NON NISI GRANDO CANTO (I sing only of great things) and IRRIDENS CUPIDE FIGO (Riducule wounds as pricks).
Recently sold examples of Linke Bureau du Roi influenced furniture include: Sotheby's: New York, April 2007, lot 72; Paris, October 22, 2008, lot 159,
Christopher Payne, Francois Linke 1855-1946, The Belle Epoque of French Furniture, Suffolk, England, 2003
Camille Mestdagh, L'Ameublement d'Art Francais 1850-1900, Paris, 2010
Christopher Payne, 19th Century French Furniture, Suffolk, England, 1981