An extremely fine Louis XV gilt bronze mounted kingwood veneered bureau plat attributed to B.V.R.B., Bernard II Vanrisamburgh, the serpentine rectangular top with a dark brown gilt tooled leather-inset within a geometric veneered kingwood band and gilt bronze border above three frieze drawers with conforming end-cut kingwood veneer, the central drawer with a rocaille escutcheon, flanked by curved foliate mounts between the two outer drawers, each with double foliate pulls below a cartouche escutcheon. The reverse with three similar dummy drawers, each of the two ends with a central ornate foliate mount, on cabriole legs headed by scrolled foliate rocaille angle mounts terminating in conforming foliate sabots
Paris, date circa 1745-50
Height 77 cm, length 180 cm, depth 88 cm.
Literature: Pierre Kjellberg, “Le Mobilier Français du XVIIIe Siècle”, p. 141, illustrating a similar Régence bureau plat with rosewood veneer. Alexandre Pradère, “French Furniture Makers”, 1989, p. 187, pl. 173, illustrating a very similar bureau plat of circa 1735, with stamps for both B.V.R.B. and François Lieutaud, with kingwood oyster pattern veneer, at Temple Newsam House, Leeds.
In his book on French furniture, “Le Meuble Français et Européen du Moyen Âge à nos Jours”, 1996, (p. 146), Pierre Kjellberg illustrates various Régence bureau plats including one that is very similar to this present piece, noting that of all of them this overall design was the most elegantly proportioned and also the most sought-after model. The present high-quality piece, bears close similarities to a number of bureau plats made by Bernard II Vanrisamburgh, known as B.V.R.B. (circa 1696 – 1766), who is considered the finest ébéniste during Louis XV’s reign. The comparable bureau plat at Temple Newsam (op. cit) is one the earliest pieces of furniture bearing B.V.R.B.’s stamp. Other similar bureau plats by this great ébéniste include a model dating from about 1740, veneered in bois satiné (illustrated in Pradère, p. 186). Other similar bureau plats, with floral and geometric marquetry, include one stamped B.V.R.B., in the Cleveland Museum of Art and an almost identical example sold by Koller, Switzerland (20th September 2006, lot 1135), as well as an example in the Musée de Versailles. As here, the latter does not bear B.V.R.B.’s stamp and thus can only be attributed to the master, but we know that it was supplied in 1745 by one of B.V.R.B.’s main dealers, the merchant-mercier Hébert to the Dauphin at Versailles. Interestingly it was the first piece with floral marquetry to be delivered to the French royal family. Similar mounts can be found on some of the finest pieces of the period including a commode by Charles Cressent, which features the same foliate drawer-pulls (illustrated in Pierre Kjellberg, “Le Meuble Français et Européen du Moyen Âge à nos Jours”, 2002, p. 222).
Despite his extraordinary innovations and the superb quality of his craftsmanship it was not until 1957 that the identity of the initials B.V.R.B. were revealed. They belonged to a great dynasty of ébénistes of Dutch origin, all with the same first and last name who settled in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine in Paris, yet it was Bernard II Vanrisamburgh who was the first to stamp his furniture B.V.R.B. He was born in Paris, son of Bernard I (d. 1738) to whom he was apprenticed before being received as a maître-ébéniste, sometime before 1730. B.V.R.B had a separate workshop from his father in the rue de Reuilly and then in rue Saint-Nicolas, remaining in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine until his death. In 1730 he married Geneviève Lavoye by whom he had six children of which Bernard III (c.1731-1800) purchased the contents of the workshop on his father’s retirement in 1764.
Evidence shows that from 1730-38, B.V.R.B. worked for the King of Portugal, though sadly all early works from this period were destroyed in the Lisbon earthquake of 1755. B.V.R.B. appears to have worked almost exclusively for the Paris merchant-merciers notably Thomas-Joachim Hébert, Lazare Duvaux and Simon-Philippe Poirier, through whom his furniture was supplied to Louis XV, Mme de Pompadour, the Prince de Condé, the German courts and aristocracy. After 1740, B.V.R.B. revived the art of floral marquetry, which had gone out of fashion in France some forty years before and through Hébert a number of pieces with floral marquetry were delivered to the Garde-Meuble Royale. Another of B.V.R.B.’s specialities were some outstanding lacquered pieces, the first of which was a commode for Maria Leszczynska’s cabinet at Fontainebleau which was delivered by Hébert in 1737. Each of B.V.R.B.’s pieces, with their varied and novel decorative finishes were distinguished by the high quality of his mounts, which he generally designed himself and in later career were sometimes made by his son, Bernard III. Today one can find examples from B.V.R.B.’s outstanding career in many of the world’s finest collections including the Musées de Versailles, du Louvre, Nissim-de-Camondo and Arts Décoratifs in Paris as well as the Musées de Dijon, Mans, Caen and Geneva. Other of his pieces are now housed in the British Royal Collection, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Residenzmuseum in Munich, the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, the Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon and the Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul. One can also admire B.V.R.B.’s work at the J. P. Getty Museum, California, the Metropolitan Museum, New York, Cleveland Museum of Art and at the National Gallery, Washington.
Price : on request
25 000 €