Rare pair of large and opulent armchairs with interchangeable frames in finely carved beech wood.
The fiddle-shaped backrests sport wide, deeply molded crosspieces; they are embellished with flowers on the shoulders and topped with an asymmetrical acanthus at the top.
The "whiplash" armrests are also adorned with acanthus.
The seat has low crosspieces in scroll braces on the sides, and a fretted crosspiece on the front, centered with an asymmetrical acanthus that echoes that of the backrest.
The seats rest on four arched legs, the front legs adorned with hollowed out shells.
Perfect state of preservation, without grafts or bites, traditional upholstery in natural horsehair, covered with a luxurious Genoa velvet. Both stamped "Père Gourdin" for Jean Gourdin carpenter received master in Paris in 1737.
Parisian work from the Louis XV period around 1750.
Provenance: La Rochefoucauld family at the Château de Verteuil. (Charente)
Measurements: Height: 98cm; Width: 69cm; Depth: 70cm
* The frame upholstery is very rare and reserved for the most beautiful seats.
Unlike other seats where the straps are nailed directly to the crossbars, frame models have removable frames that receive the straps, padding and fabric that is nailed to them.
These interchangeable frames can be tied with laces (Lyonnaise region), maintained by iron fixing pastes, or screwed, as on our model.
This practice reserved for the largest orders of the nobility had two goals:
The preservation of barrels:
This made it possible not to nail the upholstery directly to the chair, which avoided damaging it.
Remember that in the 18th century this type of armchair matched the woodwork and was not simply seen as a utilitarian piece but as a very expensive part of the decor.
Finally, this type of upholstery allowed the lords to easily change the fabric according to the seasons, point tapestries or velvets for winter and autumn and silks or lighter cotton fabrics for summer.
The removed frames were then kept well wrapped in hessian in the attics until the following season.
Such parcels are still found today in the attics of castles.
Jean Gourdin (known as Father Gourdin) was an eminent carpenter active in Paris between 1737 and 1763.
Established in the rue de Clery under the sign of "Saint Jacques", it produces seats of very high quality, with opulent lines and abundant and very fine sculpted decoration.
This undeniable class will be found in the production of his two sons Jean-Baptiste and Michel.
The legend says that he chose the mention "Father" of his stamping iron, to differentiate his excellent production from that of his sons, considered weaker.
It is much more likely that this mention was affixed only to differentiate the three family brands when his son Jean baptiste became a master in 1748.
This date and the end of Jean Gourdin's activity in 1763 gives us a fairly precise window on the period of use of this brand and therefore on the period of manufacture of our chairs.
Our opinion :
The high quality of our pair of seats is obvious from the first glance, starting with the opulence of the seat.
The design of our seats is particularly successful, fluidity, purity and nervousness mingle on all parts of the seat and the eye cannot detect the slightest error or the slightest stiffness.
Then comes the time for details and analysis which makes it possible to understand the keys to such success: to the perfection of the design are added wider and thicker crosspieces, cut in a chosen beech wood, with very fine grains. tight and with the perfect color, deeper moldings and finally a very nervous sculpture and in strong relief, which denotes a freehand work, with frank gestures and without hesitation, that only a great sculptor is capable of accomplishing.
If it is very important to talk about the frame upholstery, which is reserved for the most beautiful seats, we must not forget to mention the exceptional provenance of our seats.
Indeed these come from the castle of Verteuil in Charente.
This important residence, classified as a historical monument, had been the property of the de la Rochefoucauld family for over a thousand years.
After the death of François VIII de La Rochefoucauld in 1728, the inventory of the castle tells us that the furniture was very worn and old-fashioned; all the decorations and furnishings will be brought up to date in the years 1740-1750 by his son Alexandre 1er (1690-1762).
Grandson of the Marquis de Louvois on his mother's side, he inherited his father's titles on the latter's death. (Duke de la Rochefoucauld, Duke de la Roche-Guyon, Prince of Marsillac, Peer of France…)
Appointed grand master of the king's wardrobe, he very quickly became close to the young Louis XV and lived in Versailles.
But his hostility towards the Duchess of Chateauroux (Marie-Anne de Mailly-Nesle) who becomes the king's favorite will make him fall from grace.
From 1744 he retired to his Charente lands, devoted himself to science and literature and never ceased to embellish and improve all of his estates, with the help of the most eminent craftsmen of the capital.
The magic quartet "Beauty-Rarity-State-Provenance" will allow our pair of seats, after more than three centuries spent in the castle, to integrate the most prestigious collections.
Price : on request
12 000 €
6 800 €