This rare chest of drawers, curved in plan and in elevation, opening with four drawers on three rows, called "en tombeau" or "à la Régence", is part of a much smaller group of chests of drawers called "à pont" and "à moustaches", with moreover an attachment of the corner falls placed very low recalling the sarcophagus models, and finally in the even more confidential circle of chests of drawers made by the unit.
It is topped with a Royal Red marble molded with a beak of corbels and adorned with an ornamentation of chiseled and gilded bronzes of great quality: espagnolettes, keyholes with leaning sphinxes, mascaron with smiling Bacchus, espagnolettes with empanelled female masks, hoofs stretched with acanthus leaves and finally horns of plenty. We find the low lines and, in the form of brass flutes, the horizontal divisions of the Louis XIV style, in the front under each row of drawers and on the side at the level of the upper row. Of course, we note the very unusual double arch of the lower drawer, an inventive trompe l'oeil form of two equal drawers in arch.
The greatest rarity of this chest of drawers is the wood with which it is entirely veneered, in leaves on the frame, in marquetry on the drawers and the sides, a wood with a charming name that one rarely encounters, and even more rarely on the whole of a chest of drawers: the bois d'amourette*.
The frame of the chest of drawers is typical of the most beautiful models of the Regency period, in quality conifer for the most part, but in walnut** for the drawers finely mounted in recess***. Also noteworthy is the lovely pale pink wash covering the darker areas of the cabinet, typical of the Regency period.
This chest of drawers is in a rare original condition (no notable accident to report), with all its period bronzes delicately chased and gilded, its original marble with chiselled back edge and water sawed edge as well as its old (and similar) locks operated by a period key, a superb original condition sublimated by a very delicate restoration and a varnish.
Parisian work from the end of the Regency period,
circa 1725 - 1730.
Jacques Denizot (1684 - 1760), is a Parisian cabinetmaker still not well known, as are many of the first Parisian cabinetmakers born at the end of the 17th century and who worked before the use of the stamp, such as Lieutaud and Mallerot that we had the opportunity to mention. He produced mainly Regency and early Louis XV commodes. It is generally agreed that his work is related to that of Etienne Doirat and Noël Gérard.
* Amourette wood, or letter wood, speckled letter or snake wood in Guyana (but not to be confused with the real snake wood from Brazil) and palo de oro, leopard wood ... is a precious Guyanese wood of the Moraceae family which owes its name to its mottled or tiger-like appearance of black on reddish-brown tone reminiscent of a leopard or snake skin. This very dense wood (it does not float) is particularly heavy and hard, with a strong distressing effect, which does not prevent it from being brought to a splendid lustre.
** Berger et Associés' comments from the description of a Regency flat desk given for "Travail parisien dans l'entourage de Noël Gérard" circa 1720:
"The frame in resinous wood (species composing our desk) is characteristic of the Parisian cabinetmakers of the Regency period, a construction habit coming from the Louis XIV period. A few years later the frames were made of oak.
The use of walnut for the construction of the drawers of our desk shows on the one hand a very Parisian work and on the other hand a careful work: commissioned furniture. On ordinary desks, the drawers would be made of oak... With the shortage of walnut following the great freeze of the year 1709, walnut will be replaced by oak, in the following years.
*** Let us recall that the rabbet or recessed assembly, typical of the Parisian masters, is a sign of careful manufacturing, and that it provides the advantage of sliding the entire drawer on a floor over the entire surface of its bottom, making it unnecessary to install runners and thus sparing any risk of wear and tear on the edges of the intermediate crosspieces in the long term.