Precious pair of armchairs with flat backs "à la reine" in beech wood gilded with leaf.
Model with wide curved backrests, with shoulders decorated with acanthus.
The upper and lower crosspieces finely carved with flowers centered on heart-shaped reserves, the whiplash armrests, the molded arched legs decorated with palm leaves.
The rear crosspiece embellished with reserves finely engraved in the primers.
Good state of conservation.
Original gilding with wear and minor retouching.
Both stamped inside the rear cross members: "N.HEURTAUT"*
Parisian work from the Louis XV period around 1765-1770.
Frame upholstery with "Les Ananas" fabric from Tassinari and Chatel.
Height: 100cm; Width: 73cm; Depth: 60cm
-Former Partridge collection; published page 205 of Bill Pallot's Book "The Art of Siege in the 18th Century"
Our opinion :
The pair of armchairs that we present, with frames and in gilded wood, represent the quintessence of the Louis XV seat.
Nicolas Heurtaut was one of the greatest exponents of this style and one of the few to master both the most exuberant rocaille and the softening of lines that began in the 1760s, under the impetus of a current "à la 'antique', which follows the rediscovery of the great sites of Pompei and Herculaneum.
The purity of the lines combined with a subtle decoration, composed of "hearts" and palm leaves, inherited from his period when he worked at Tillard, are characteristic of his work.
The stamp of this master, the trim on the frame, the original gilding and the presence of a rear decoration engraved in the primers prove to us undeniably that we are facing exceptional seats.
* Frame upholstery is very rare and reserved for the finest 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.
*Nicolas Heurtaut (1720-1771) is one of the greatest seat carpenters of the 18th century.
Received as a master sculptor in 1742, he probably worked for some time in the studio of Jean Avisse before becoming a master and founding his own studio (1753).
He works for a wealthy clientele from the great nobility.
To this day it holds the world record for an 18th century French seat; 1,352,000 euros for an armchair from the Comte d'Artois at the temple palace. (sale Sothebys Paris December 16, 2004).
The Palace of Versailles has a series of armchairs with flat backs and a Polish bed.
The Louvre Museum, the Palace of Versailles, the Getty, the Frick collection… have seats of the Grand Master.