Offered by Franck Baptiste Paris
16th to 19th century furniture and works of art
Important series of four large (74cm) solid beechwood armchairs.
Model with flat backs called "à la reine" with interchangeable frame* upholstery.
The backs are strongly molded and finely carved with acanthus leaf spandrels on the shoulders and bouquets of tied flowers at the top.
The attachments between the back and the seat are in the form of poly-lobed clasps.
The deeply molded and nervously treated armrests have rare intermediate carvings on the armrest support.
The front crosspiece is strongly curved and centered with an acanthus leaf, while the sides have circular reserves.
The ensemble rests on four cambered legs, two of which end in acanthus leaves at the bottom and are delicately carved with flowers that echo the carvings on the backrest at the top.
Beautiful natural patina of the beech wood.
Very good condition, no grafting in the legs, small restorations of use and small traces of xylophagous insects.
The majority of the screws are original.
Traditional upholstery (natural horsehair and straps) redone by our workshop.
The four are stamped on the inside of the rear crossbars "P. Bara "*.
Parisian work of the Louis XV period around 1760-65.
Width: 74 cm; Height: 96 cm; Depth: 70 cm.
Our opinion :
The series of armchairs we present is quite exceptional, whether by the extremely nervous and complex form, or the finely carved decoration of flowers. The height of luxury, our carpenter has taken care to make a series where each seat has a different variety of flowers (roses, daisies, poppies ...).
It is very likely that we are in front of the most beautiful production made by Pierre Bara.
It is also amusing to note the stylistic similarity between our seats and a series of armchairs by his neighbour from the Rue de Cléry, Jean Boucault, one of which was sold at an auction (Sotheby's New York, May 8, 2009, lot 73) while the rest are kept at the Louvre (OAP232).
We find the same play of curves and counter curves that end in opposite scrolls.
While conserving an extreme opulence of forms, our seats maintain a lightness and a perfect balance, which combined with the finesse of a floral decoration that prefigures the emerging Louis XVI style, gives a particularly successful result.
*Pierre Bara - Master on June 28, 1758. His workshop, rue de Cléry, continued to prosper in 1768. He signed in large irregular letters.
His production is composed of very beautiful armchairs, cabriolets or flat backs, very often gilded and carved with flowers.
These lines are fluid but very nervous.
* The frame upholstery is very rare and reserved for the most beautiful seats.
Unlike other seats where the straps are nailed directly to the crosspieces, the stretcher models have removable frames that receive the straps, the upholstery and the fabric that is nailed on.
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 the 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, tapestries or velvets for winter and autumn and silks or lighter cotton fabrics for summer.
The deposited frames were then kept well wrapped in burlap in the attics until the next season.
Such packages can still be found today in the attics of castles.