Extremely rare bathroom cabinet in blue lacquered wood.
The concave sides, the domed top cover, the entrance and the finely chiseled, engraved and gilded hinges.
Very beautiful decoration in strong relief with gold and copper powder (maki-e) of a rooster and its offspring in a plant environment, in imitation of the lacquers that we find on the early Japanese cabinets from the Edo era around 1650.
Interior in vermilion red lacquer.
Very good condition, tiny alterations in the decor.
Parisian work from the beginning of Louis XV's reign around 1720-1730, probably by the workshop of Guillaume Martin (1689-1749). *
Height: 11.5 cm; Width: 30 cm; Depth: 23cm
Similar box and bibliography:
The secrets of French lacquer, Martin varnish, Musée des arts décoratifs, box Page 153.
* We find in the inventory of Guillaume Martin's workshop on his death in 1749 several toilets (names given to these boxes) "two other black toilets, another green and a blue. »(AN, MC, CXXI ??345, August 18, 1749, folio 4, verso)
Guillaume Martin, born in 1689 received master painter in 1713.
He worked as a varnishing painter with the title of “varnisher of the King”.
He associated his four brothers with the business.
His technique consisted of passing four to five coats of preparation then several coats of black lacquer covered with several coats of transparent lacquer, each coat being polished before receiving the next.
The Martin technique was not only applied to wood but also to different supports such as metal and made it possible to imitate different materials: tortoiseshell, marble enamels, gold.
We owe the polychromy to Guillaume Martin. The backgrounds are black, red, green, yellow, brown or aventurine.
Aventurine is a reddish stone studded with gold-like glitter.
The "aventurine lacquer" was made from gold powder. The particles were blown into the lacquer layer. Guillaume Martin was a past master in this field.
When Guillaume Martin died in 1749, it was his brother Etienne Simon who was involved in the decoration of the apartments of the Marquise de Pompadour.
Our opinion :
The importance of the superposition of the layers and the resistance of this lacquer allow us to present the decoration of this box as it left the varnisher's workshop.
The protective varnish having slightly yellowed, it gives us back a color that tends to green but it is indeed a "celestial blue" colored lacquer that is hidden under the original varnish.
We can appreciate the original color, on the desk stamped "Migeon", on that attributed to Delorme or on the chest of drawers stamped Jacques Dubois presented on page 91, 92 and 96 of the book on French lacquer cited above.
The great mastery of Japanese decorations in strong relief of metallic powders greatly contributed to the fame of the Martin brothers but it was indeed the emancipation of the oriental model, with the discovery of blue and pink backgrounds, then unknown in Asia, which gave birth to the name "Martin varnish" for this new technique.
In addition to the rarity of the blue background, the quality and thickness of the decoration so perfectly imitates the most beautiful Japanese lacquers that it would be almost impossible for us to differentiate them on a black background and on a more neutral shape than that of these typically Parisian toilet boxes.