A French late 19th century ormolu mounted kingwood, bois satine and marquetry cartonnier secretaire attributed to Joseph Emanuel Zwiener (1849-1895)

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Lot 115* TP
A French late 19th century ormolu mounted kingwood, bois satine and marquetry cartonnier secretaire attributed to Joseph Emanuel Zwiener (1849-1895)

Sold for £ 7,500 (US$ 9,316) inc. premium
A French late 19th century ormolu mounted kingwood, bois satine and marquetry cartonnier secretaire attributed to Joseph Emanuel Zwiener (1849-1895)
Of serpentine form, with stylised floral and foliate tendril inlay, the shaped cartonnier comprising six short graduated and hinged lidded drawers each with a gilt-tooled leather facade, on scrolled acanthus sabots, above a shaped secretaire drawer with a central scrolled foliate and rocaille escutcheon, enclosing three short drawers and a gilt-tooled leather surface, over a pair of shaped glazed panel mounted doors enclosing a mirrored interior, flanked by female espagnolette, scrolled acanthus, floral and rocaille mounted keeled angles, on acanthus headed lion paw sabots, each section branded with a: 'G' below the Prince of Wales feathers, the lower section also with a printed paper label which reads: 'Property of his majesty King George V, (Heir-Loom)(Private Property)', 99cm wide x 41cm deep x 160cm high, (38 1/2in wide x 16in deep x 62 1/2in high)

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    At the beginning of the 20th century the present lot, which belonged to George V while serving as the Prince of Wales, numbered among the furnishings in Marlborough House where the Prince resided with Queen Mary until the former's coronation in 1910.
    It is highly likely that the offered cartonnier secretaire remained at Marlborough House until being sold at Christie's, London, Objects of Art, English and French Furniture from Marlborough House, by order of Her Majesty the Queen, 1 October 1959, lot 177.
    Since that time it has formed part of a private collection in Switzerland, and also featured at Koller Auctions, Zurich, 5 December 2002, lot 1109.

    The brandings of the letter 'G' beneath the Prince of Wales feathers, which appear twice to the reverse, prove that the present piece was recorded in a Royal inventory as the private property of the Prince of Wales some time during the period 1901-10. However, it is not clear whether the offered cartonnier was originally purchased by George V in his capacity as Prince of Wales or whether it was in fact bought by Queen Mary. It seems equally likely that George V inherited the secretaire from his parents, Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, upon acceding to the throne.

    Only six years after Her Majesty's coronation, Elizabeth II presented Marlborough House to the Commonwealth Secretariat. As a result, various objects, artefacts and furnishings from the house, including the offered lot, were auctioned off at Christie's in 1959. And according to the information encapsulated in a letter, dated 19 June 2006, from the Assistant Curator of the Royal Collection Trust, the present lot was evidently housed in the State Dining Room of Marlborough House until the aforementioned sale.

    The construction of Marlborough House in St James's, Westminster, was completed in 1711 by Sir Christopher Wren (1632-1723), with assistance from his son of the same name, on behalf of Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, who was a close friend and confidante of Queen Anne. Following the lapse of just over a century, the Royal family took over ownership of the house from 1817 onwards. During the 19th century, some principal members of the Royal family lived at Marlborough House, notably including Dowager Queens of the time.

    However perhaps the most important residents at Marlborough House were Prince Albert Edward of Wales, later Edward VII, and his wife Alexandra of Denmark, then Princess of Wales. Also, in the period 1853-61 students at the National Art Training School, which subsequently became the Royal College of Art, were allowed to use the property at the behest of Prince Albert. Between 1861 and 1863 some additions and enlargements were made, after various designs by Sir James Pennethorne, at the request of Edward VII when he was Prince of Wales. From that point on, the house was to become a major hub of activity within the highest social circles of London.

    In 1865, a son born at Marlborough House to Prince Albert Edward of Wales and Alexandra of Denmark, went on to become George V following the end of the former's reign as Edward VII in 1910. Also, after Edward VII's death, Alexandra returned to reside at the house until 1925. Then, from 1936 onwards, Queen Mary went back to live there following George V's death. Currently, Marlborough House serves as the headquarters for the Commonwealth and centralised base of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

    The beautiful ormolu mounts on the offered cartonnier are certainly comparable to the exuberant rococo mounts favoured by the renowned cabinet maker Joseph Emanuel Zwiener on much of his late 19th century furniture. Especially reminiscent of Zwiener are the mounted busts of nubile young ladies which adorn the angles of the present lot. While the foliate and floral tendril marquetry is similar to that used on a great number of Zwiener pieces, which in turn is influenced by the type that often appears on Louis XV furniture executed by Jean-Pierre Latz (1691-1754).

    Joseph Emanuel Zwiener
    Although born in Prussian Silesia (modern day Germany) in 1849, Joseph-Emmanuel Zwiener emigrated as a young man to France. He opened his first atelier at 12 rue de la Roquette in Paris in 1880, before establishing a firm in the fashionable Faubourg Saint-Antoine district just two years later. He is noted for an elegant interpretation of Rococo furniture from the Garde-Meuble National of France, and perhaps most celebrated for producing, on commission from Ludwig II, an exceptional copy of the celebrated bureau de Roi originally made by Jean-Henri Riesener and Jean-François Oeben.

    Zwiener employed Leon Message (1842-1901) as his gilt bronze sculptor to create the stunning mounts for a great number of his most important pieces. He was among the first cabinetmakers in France to collaborate with Message and they began working together in circa 1880. His influence added a distinctly Art Nouveau tone to Zwiener's work and his unique style won Zwiener the gold medal at the 1882 exhibition of the Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.

    Zwiener went on to exhibit at the 1889 Paris Exhibition where he was awarded a gold medal and where the jurists commented: dès ses débuts d'une Exposition universelle, s'est mis au premier rang par la richesse, la hardiesse et le fini de ses meubles incrustis de bronzes et fort habilement marquetis. In 1895 his workshop was taken over by the important émigré ebeniste, François Linke (1855-1946), who Christopher Payne speculates may have worked under Zwiener when he first arrived in Paris in 1875. Linke is known to have also taken on Zwiener's sculptor Leon Message.

    Literature
    A copy of a letter, dated 19 June 2006, written by the Assistant Curator at The Royal Collection Trust is available upon request from the furniture department.
    J. Stourton, Great Houses of London, 2012, London.
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marlborough_House
    A.H. Beavan, Marlborough House and its Occupants - Present and Past, London 1896.
Contacts
A French late 19th century ormolu mounted kingwood, bois satine and marquetry cartonnier secretaire attributed to Joseph Emanuel Zwiener (1849-1895)
A French late 19th century ormolu mounted kingwood, bois satine and marquetry cartonnier secretaire attributed to Joseph Emanuel Zwiener (1849-1895)
A French late 19th century ormolu mounted kingwood, bois satine and marquetry cartonnier secretaire attributed to Joseph Emanuel Zwiener (1849-1895)
A French late 19th century ormolu mounted kingwood, bois satine and marquetry cartonnier secretaire attributed to Joseph Emanuel Zwiener (1849-1895)
A French late 19th century ormolu mounted kingwood, bois satine and marquetry cartonnier secretaire attributed to Joseph Emanuel Zwiener (1849-1895)
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