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Louis XVI period "Vernis Martin"  chest of drawers
Louis XVI period "Vernis Martin"  chest of drawers - Furniture Style Louis XVI Louis XVI period "Vernis Martin"  chest of drawers -
Ref : 101806
Period :
18th century
Provenance :
Medium :
Oak, marble, fir
Dimensions :
l. 51.18 inch X H. 34.25 inch X P. 21.65 inch
Furniture  - Louis XVI period "Vernis Martin"  chest of drawers 18th century - Louis XVI period "Vernis Martin"  chest of drawers
Galerie Delvaille

French furniture of the 18th century & French figurative paintings

+33 (0)1 42 61 23 88
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Louis XVI period "Vernis Martin" chest of drawers

Paris, circa 1780
Dimensions : H. 87 x W. 130 x D. 55 cm

This elegant chest of drawers is of half-moon shape, opening on the front with two drawers without crossbar, and with doors on its rounded sides. The "Vernis Martin" used here for the decoration was invented by the Martin french brothers in the middle of the 18th century. Based on copal, this varnish made it possible to imitate the Chinese and Japanese lacquers which arrived on panels from the East, and whose prices were obviously exorbitant. The Martin varnish technique has nothing to envy to the oriental lacquers because it allows a great fineness of drawing and subtle transparencies. The great period of these oriental decorations is the Louis XV period, during which the fashion for chinoiseries swept through the circles of power and aristocracy; but cabinetmakers continued under the reign of Louis XVI to decorate the most sumptuous pieces of furniture with black lacquer with Chinese decorations.

The line of this chest of drawers is superb for several reasons: the body of the furniture is very high on beautiful square and tapered legs, which gives it a great lightness. The front, slightly curved, initiates the rounding of the sides. The two drawers are decorated with a single decorative panel, thanks to the process of drawers without crosspiece, which was reserved since the Louis XV period for the manufacture of the most beautiful furniture. Finally, the half-moon shape with a door opening reduces the massive appearance of rectangular chests of drawers. It should be noted here the small depth of this chest.

The decoration is both pure and of great finesse. The goal was to create a contrast between black and gold. The Chinese design is very balanced, it takes perfectly into account the positioning of the bronzes; they are finely chiseled, and we must particularly notice the beautiful and rare apron. These bronzes have been simply cleaned, their "Gold Varnish" is original.

Not surprisingly, this important chest of drawers is topped with one of the most appreciated and expensive marbles of the Louis XVI period: the Aleppo Breche. This marble is particularly well suited to lacquer, and one must appreciate the superb molding that precisely follows the line and the projections formed by the squares of the legs.

This chest of drawers has just been completely restored. Its state of conservation is remarkable, especially regarding the lacquer which for once is original in its almost totality.

Galerie Delvaille


Commode Louis XVI