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Boulle Library with pagoda roof, Paris circa 1700
Boulle Library with pagoda roof, Paris circa 1700 - Furniture Style Louis XIV Boulle Library with pagoda roof, Paris circa 1700 - Boulle Library with pagoda roof, Paris circa 1700 - Louis XIV Antiquités - Boulle Library with pagoda roof, Paris circa 1700
Ref : 110985
55 000 €
Period :
18th century
Provenance :
Medium :
Ebony, brass
Dimensions :
l. 74.8 inch X H. 96.06 inch X P. 19.49 inch
Furniture  - Boulle Library with pagoda roof, Paris circa 1700 18th century - Boulle Library with pagoda roof, Paris circa 1700 Louis XIV - Boulle Library with pagoda roof, Paris circa 1700 Antiquités - Boulle Library with pagoda roof, Paris circa 1700
Franck Baptiste Paris

16th to 19th century furniture and works of art

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Boulle Library with pagoda roof, Paris circa 1700

Bookcase Boulle with pagoda roof, Paris circa 1700

Rare and important bookcase in marquetry Boulle of ebony veneer inlaid with brass nets.
The model opens with two doors separated by a frame on the front. The uprights with wide
cut sides are fluted with copper and roughed with bronze asparagus; Like the frame, they
are treated as pilasters ending in gilded bronze capitals. The double-shaped cornice imitates
the pagoda roofs of China. The whole rests on a rectangular plinth with Greek-style
projections which is embellished with angles with gadrooned friezes, framing flowerbeds and
a gilded bronze goddess mask.
The doors and sides are decorated with brass nets. The edges of the glazed panels and
cornice are highlighted with wide copper fluting. Original wrought iron cremone lock
concealed in the frame.
The four hallmarked hinges of the crowned "C" probably during a restoration between March
1745 and February 1749, between which dates the copper tax was in force.
Fir core, oak bottom.
Very good state of preservation.
Parisian work from the end of the Louis XIV period around 1700-1715.
Attributable to the
cabinetmaker Alexandre Jean Oppenordt (1639-1715)


Height: 244 cm; Width: 190 cm; depth: 49.5cm

Our opinion:

Our bookcase, with its highly architectural shapes, is perfectly representative of the opulence
and power of the Louis XIV style. Its cornice with its multiple slightly that imitate the roofs of
Asian pagodas is a technical feat and perfectly reflects the taste for the Orient that touched
France at the beginning of the 18th century. It is easy to imagine that such a room was used

as a showcase for porcelain and other mounted objects. It is part of a very small corpus of
bookcases and cabinets with similar shapes and bronzes.
Indeed, we know of only a handful of copies, including a library formerly in the Rothschild
collections (Sothebys Mentmore sale 18 May 1977 lot 7), a library in the Louvre Museum
(N°Inv OA 10448) and a pair of cabinets in the Museum of the Palace of Versailles. This last
pair is interesting because its trajectory is known, it is inventoried in the inventory after the
death of Noël Gérard in 1736, before one of the two was sold in 1749 to the financial
controller Jean Baptiste Mauchaud d'Arnouville. The other belonged for a time to the
collections of the Russian princes Beloselski-Belozerski, and both were later reunited in the
collections of the Palace of Versailles where they are still on display.
These two bookcases which present bronze bottlenose dolphins were probably produced for
the young Duke of Burgundy who bore the title of Dauphin of France. They are the most
luxurious version of the model; the nature of the decoration and the use of mother-of-pearl
and tinted horn allow it to be attributed to Louis XIV's cabinetmaker Alexandre-Jean
Oppenordt, rather than to Noël Gérard, who worked only as a mercantile merchant in the last
years of his life.
This attribution is interesting because, in addition to the similar shapes and bronzes, the pair
preserved at Versailles has an atypical decoration of quatrefoils and brass thread windings
on the reverses of the doors that is identical to the decoration of our library, which allows us
to also attribute our library to the royal cabinetmaker. A very fine study of this corpus is
published in Calin Demetrescu's book "Les ébénistes de la couronne sous le règne de Louis
XIV". It sheds light on this atypical production that was reserved for a very small elite.
Alexandre Jean Oppenordt (1639-1717) was a cabinetmaker of Dutch origin, born in
Gelderland, a city under Spanish rule. Oppenordt came to settle in Paris at the beginning of
the reign of Louis XIV and became one of the leading cabinetmakers of that time. He began
working in the privileged enclosure of the Temple, where free craftsmen, not members of a
guild, could continue their trade without being prosecuted. A few years later he married a
French woman and became a naturalized citizen in 1679. After completing an apprenticeship
at the Gobelins factory, in 1684 he received lodgings in the galleries of the Louvre. Proof of
the king's esteem, and he began to work for the royal buildings department for which he
executed furniture and parquet floors, decorated with brass and tortoiseshell marquetry as
well as many decorative works. Oppenordt's works are less well known than his life. He
probably executed "Twelve Marquetry Cabinets for the King's Medals" in ebony inlaid with
copper, a work often attributed to Boulle, who, like him, was housed in the Louvre and with
whom he certainly collaborated on many works. His activity seems to have ceased shortly
after 1705, when he is cited for having contributed to the embellishments of the mansion
owned by the Prince de Condé at Versailles. He was then living in the Rue Fleury, near
Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois, and it was there that he died in 1715.

Franck Baptiste Paris


Bookcase & Vitrine Louis XIV