All purpose table, which can be used as a writing table and a "cabaret" table, with a monoxyl top and a side drawer, in speckled mahogany for the top and the belts, and fine grain mahogany for the base.
This table is an example of the sober and refined furniture used at the end of the Louis XV period in the aristocratic society of Bordeaux. It is inspired by the luxury models of the greatest Parisian cabinetmakers (Oeben, RVLC, Boudin, Canabas, and later Weisweiler) using speckled mahogany, but, unlike in the capital (except for Canabas) exclusively in solid wood.
We note here the exceptional quality of the mahogany from the West Indies chosen with care, as well as the oak mesh of the drawer's frames.
A word about mahogany.
Mahogany has many faces, but there are only three varieties (one of which is African, which does not interest us here, and which is of much less interest from all points of view). To be precise, we should abandon the term "Cuban mahogany" (too generic and in fact inaccurate) and distinguish between the mahogany of Santo Domingo (the island of Hispaniola -now Haiti- a former French colony), Swietenia mahagoni, which we like to call West Indian, and the mahogany of Honduras, Swietenia macrophylla, which is more commonly known as Caribbean.
Here we are dealing with the more beautiful of the two varieties, the Santo Domingo (and the distinction is not difficult since the Honduras never presents a spotted aspect).
Contrary to an accepted idea (although unfortunately many tend to forget it) and defended by the best specialists, mahogany can present some worm holes, as we have seen, but these were very old predations and only present in rare parts of the sapwood). This is really very exceptional and that is why everyone, who has very little chance of encountering them, should absolutely consider that if a wood presents xylophagous attacks, it is not mahogany.
Since mahogany and exotic woods are only bought in bulk by carpenters and cabinetmakers in the major French ports, many craftsmen in neighboring regions have used walnut, stained with mahogany and dichromate, to imitate it. The imitation is perfect for a simple amateur except that it is almost always betrayed by the presence of worm holes. Thus we see on antique dealers' websites (even when they call themselves "Pro") "port" chests of drawers in waxed mahogany.
If the mahogany we are interested in exists only in two species, exotic woods, some of which have similarities (including hardness and resistance to insects), such as Saint-Martin, cedro, bagasse, courbaril, are very numerous. Almost always we will see them designated under the term mahogany. Thus we have recently read a cacophonous "mahogany of Saint-Martin", which is a great misunderstanding and very explicit on the jumble of the terms "mahogany" and "exotic woods". Saint-Martin is an exotic wood that comes in three varieties, it is not mahogany.
These small precious tables were very popular in the great Atlantic ports which were importers of drinks (coffee and tea) from the Americas and the Orient. They were very fashionable in the castles of the nobility and the private mansions of rich merchants, before becoming fashionable in Paris where the greatest cabinetmakers (Carlin - RVLC. ...) of extraordinary small cabarets in the most luxurious materials such as the oriental and European lacquers or the porcelain of Vincennes - Sèvres.
It is probably not useless to recall here the exact definition of what a cabaret table is: a small rectangular, circular, oval (or even triangular) table with a hollow top, or with a tray, or even flat but washable, used for taking drinks. It is understood that, for this last case, various materials, except wood, could be used: marble, porcelain, lacquer, earthenware, cane, sheet metal.
These tables could carry permanently a tea or coffee service
Superb condition and original patina, varnish-stamp finish.
Bordeaux, end of the Louis XV period, second half of the 18th century.
12 000 €
2 400 €
7 800 €