Sideboard in marquetry with two bodies, attributed to Tomas Hache around 1690
Rare and luxurious sideboard with two bodies separated by a central belt.
It opens with two leaves in the upper part, two leaves in the lower part, and two drawers in the middle part.
The upper part uncovers a shelf and two drawers in walnut, and the lower part a central shelf.
The whole piece of furniture is decorated with a very dense and particularly fine floral marquetry in various kinds of wood - walnut, olive, plum, holly, ash, tinted and engraved sycamore maple, all enriched with Jasmine flowers made in bone.
The front panels are centered with octagonal reserves with facets, which are decorated with bouquets of flowers (tulips, carnations, hibiscus, roses ...) inspired by the compositions of Jean Baptiste Monnoyer (1636-1699), and supported by scrolls and entablatures inspired by engravings by Jean Berain (1640-1711).
These central panels are framed by geometric reserves with flowers au naturel.
The sides present similar bouquets, in rectangular reserves, but resting on columns in the antique style.
The drawers and the top rail are decorated with polychrome flower scrolls.
The reverse side of the doors has a maple veneer.
Very good condition, with small restorations of use.
Fir wood core (sides, bottom, and top); drawer bottoms and backs in oak, and cremone locks replaced around 1830*.
Work attributable to Thomas Hache, circa 1690.
Height: 210 cm; Width: 114 cm; Depth: 58 cm.
The sideboard we are presenting comes from a historic mansion, located in Peyrou, in the heart of Montpellier.
As the homogeneous furnishing of this private hotel suggests, it is very likely that our piece of furniture has never moved since its delivery and has known only two owners in three centuries, the former family who completely redecorated the hotel at the end of the 17th century, and the family to whom they sold the building in the 1830s.
*It was probably during this purchase that the furniture, which had fallen into disuse, was restored. The locks on the central doors, which were beginning to bend, were replaced by cremone locks that closed from above and from below, and the pine bottoms, which were certainly cracked, were replaced by oak.
These restorations are recurrent on Louis the XIVth furniture built in softwood.
It is important to note that the restorations date from the beginning of the 19th century and that the back (hand sawn, joined by mortise and tenon, dowelled), as well as the locks (riveted, leaf springs), are identical to what can be found on Charles the Xth furniture.
The piece of furniture that we present required thousands of hours of work as its decoration is so dense and does not leave any space for emptiness, in accordance with the concept of "Horror Vacui" which was still in fashion at the end of the 17th century.
The purity of the design, the cutting of the flowers’ fineness, the perfect mastery of the technique of "shading" which allowed the creation of embossment by burning the wood in hot sand, the green tint of the foliage, the enhancement of the colors, and the wood’s veining, as well as the play of light, allow us to attribute it to Thomas Hache.
Our hypothesis is reinforced by the fact that the former owners of the hotel at the end of the 17th century included prominent figures (Mayor, 1st Consul of Montpellier, President of the Court of Auditors, etc.) who sat in the Parliament of Languedoc located in Toulouse, a city in which they certainly met the Hache family, as did many Languedoc and Provençal families in whose homes this type of furniture was found.
We can also affirm that this is Thomas Hache's masterpiece as the quality of its decoration is close to that of Pierre Gole.
Indeed, only technical details (such as the absence of ebony, replaced by stained and burned wood), an assembly more consistent with that of Hache, and stylistic similarities with desks and chests of drawers mazarines, allow us to attribute it to the Grenoble workshop rather than that of the king's cabinetmaker.
The attribution to Thomas Hache is always difficult, but to question it would be to assert that there was at the time a workshop in the South of France that surpassed that of Thomas Hache, which we do not believe.