Offered by Galerie Léage
French furniture of the 18th century
This exceptionally large Compigné painting, in stamped pewter leaf and enhanced with gold and gouache, represents a view from the gardens of the Palais Royal. In the foreground, several parallel alleys shut by trellises frame a wider alley leading to a circular pond in the center of which gushes a large spurt of water.
The central alley is extending to the Cour d'Honneur of the Palais Royal, which entrance is delimited by a barrier. Two green carpets framed by trees skillfully trimmed into a ball shape
extend in front of the façade of the Palace. This one, constituting the background of the composition, accurately reproduces the somewhat heterogeneous elevation of the building. Thus, the central facade of the eighteenth century, now gone, with its two levels of elevation and three bays is topped by a roof punctuated with oculi. Preceded by the main courtyard, it is flanked on the right by a main building with a high roof and on the left by buildings with mansard roofs, which are also in the continuity of other buildings at right angles adorned with balconies on the second floor. On the left, high roofs can be seen in the background, matching the Opera’s and the one above the staircase. Another set of buildings also close the composition on the right. Following fires and changes of use, the elevation here shown has undergone several alterations since the end of the 18th century and is therefore quite different from the one that can be seen today. It corresponds to the Palais Royal as it was in the second third of the 18th century. The numerous ramblers evoke the success of the gardens. Opened to the public, they were a very popular stroll at the time.
The whole composition is underlined by a frame of green scrolls on a cream background, encircled by white scrolls on a green background with pewter borders.
Paintings in Compigné
Of great preciousity and variety of materials, the paintings in Compigné were made according to a mysterious process starting from a sheet of cardboard or tortoiseshell to which a pewter or gold leaf was applied. The surface could then be decorated with gold, silver, gouache and colored varnishes. These miniatures, known today under the name of Compigné, had a great success in the 1760s.The small format, characteristic of this production, required to work in extreme precision, probably with the help of a magnifying glass in order to develop the perfection of these technical details and colors.
Th rectangular paintings were generally about 8 inches wide. This one is 12,5 inches wide and is therefore remarkable for its size.
Thomas Compigni probably arrived from Italy around 1750, and later on took the name Compigné when he settled in the shop Roi David, rue Greneta, in Paris. As a tabletier, he specialized in the manufacture and sale of boxes, knitting sets, draughts and chess sets, snuffboxes and other cane handles of blond tortoiseshell inlaid with gold. Renowned for the quality of his objects, he passed on to posterity through the production of precious paintings which technique remains unknown to that day. In 1773, he presented two views of the Château
de Saint-Hubert to the King and obtained the title of “tabletier privilégié du Roi” under Louis XV and Louis XVI. His themes of predilection were most often views of towns, monuments, and châteaux in the extension of park or landscape perspective. The ensembles were almost always animated by small characters.