The grandness and luxury of French design culminate in this partner’s desk and multiple-drawer cartonnier, crafted by master cabinetmaker Paul Sormani. Sormani created this exceptional work after the model by Simon Oeben, one of the most successful ébénistes of the 18th century. The original set, made circa 1765, belonged to the Duc de Choiseul-Praslin, Prime Minister for Louis XV, and can be recognized in one of the gouaches by Van Blarenberghe of the interiors of Choiseul’s house, circa 1770.
The contents of Choiseul’s house were sold in 1796 and Oeben’s model was purchased by the Duke of Hamilton. In turn, the Duc d’Aumale purchased the same cartonnier from the Hamilton Palace sale of 1882 and it now resides in the Musée Condé at the Chateau de Chantilly. The piece is illustrated in French Furniture Makers by Alexander Pradere. An identical cartonnier was exhibited by Paul Sormani at the 1900 Paris Exhibition.
Adorned with majestic ormulu bronze and intricate marquetry of amaranth, satinwood and oeil de vermeil, the incredible partner’s desk features a gilt tooled brown leather writing surface set within quarter veneered satine. Three frieze drawers are set on each side, with one lock plate signed “Sormani Á Paris.” The outstanding artistry flows gracefully onto the matching cartonnier. Once used to hold important documents, the cartonnier’s upper section is set with three gilt-tooled, brown leather faceted drawers, while the lower section is fitted with two cupboard doors on each side opening to one shelf. A patinated and gilt-bronze figural clock with a twin train movement crowns the cabinet, and is stamped with the Marti pastille AA52.
Sormani was respected around the world due to the exposure he received from numerous international exhibitions. Recognized as the artistic heir to Andre-Charles Boulle, Sormani received a medal for his glorious designs at the Exposition Universelle in 1867, and was described as “…a distinguished ébéniste of Paris, whose works deservedly attracted the attention of the public, and received the marked approval of the connoisseur.”
The Vanderbilts were included among Sormani’s world-class clients. The distinguished family commissioned several of his works, many of which are still housed in the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park, New York. The work of Simon Oeben is distinguished by fine and meticulous cabinetmaking in the transitional and neoclassical styles boasting wonderful veneers and geometric marquetry patterns, often favouring the inclusion of squares and cubes. Though often confused with his more famous brother, Jean-Francois, his work exudes a certain sobriety, in stark contrast to his brother’s more floral and exuberant designs, mounted with bronzes that are purposeful rather than merely ornamental. Conferred with the title of première ébéniste du Roi circa 1771, Oeben opened a shop from which his work was sold and he enjoyed patronage from a varied clientele, including the duc de Choiseul.
This outstanding desk is sold through MS Rau Antiques in New Orleans
Important French Bureau a Cylindre and Fauteuil de Bureau
The finest ormolu fixtures swathe this Restoration-period roll-top desk (bureau à cylindre) and (fauteuil de bureau) swivel desk chair, both crafted of fine Cuban mahogany. The desk is appointed with a fitted interior of compartments, lockable drawers and a retractable red leather lined writing surface. For added security, the lower right compartment contains a hidden, lockable coffer to store precious valuables. Two additional red leather lined writing surfaces extend from each side for added convenience and workspace, with a black fossil-marble top inscribed “Johnson/7533.” An intriguing aspect of this desk is that the interior drawers and compartments are crafted of quarter-sawn oak, which is harvested from the inner most sections of the oak log. This intensive and costly process produces sections of wood that resist warping, perfect for creating an elegant piece of furniture that will last many lifetimes. The desk chair was designed by Jacob Desmalter for Jerôme Bonaparte, King of Westphalia and brother of Napoleon. It features an out-swept back and handsome red leather seat for maximum comfort and refinement.
French Style Partners Desk www.liveauctioneers.com
Grand Desk with Leather top surface, Gilt Bronze Detail, in the style of Louis XVI
Large, Glitzy Ebonized French 5 Drawer Desk w/Ormolu & Orig. Top
Spectacular showstopping one of a kind vintage French style desk or bureau plat. This fine desk offers a breathtaking ebonized finish that contrasts ever so elegantly with the glamorous Dore ormolu trim. Five drawers make using this desk an absolute breeze, as they all glide effortlessly and offer substantial storage, too. Although this desk appears to be a partners desk, it is not however, the drawers run the entire depth within the case. The original green and gold tooled leather top should clean up considerably to last another 40 or 50 years. Whether you use this desk in your home for paying bills, at your offices reception area as a glamorous touch, or in your own executive office reminding your colleagues of your successes. This gorgeous desk could also be utilized as a phenomenal dressing table in the right space.
Elegant French LXVI Ebonized Mahogany 3 Drawer Bureau Plat/Desk
Sophisticated and elegant, this gorgeous desk emphasizes fine French craftsmanship and design. Expertly constructed of mahogany over a solid oak carcass, this ebonized desk contrasts ever so well with the original polished brass hardware. Three smooth functioning drawers with locks provide ample storage and security, while the gorgeous tooled leather top has two hidden extensions for those really big jobs. Whether utilized as a spot for jotting notes to loved ones, paying bills or using your computer, this outstanding bureau plat would easily work in a master bedroom doubling as a great dressing table or vanity, with other antiques in the front parlor or serving double duty as a sofa table and desk when the need arises. Please note, that although this extraordinary desk is finished all the way around, it only opens on the one side
Ebonized Antq. French Louis XVI Bureau Plat w/Black Leather
Spectacular antique French Louis XVI style ebonized desk resting on its original fluted legs and having its original polished brass trimmings, too. This desk is breathtaking, from its sultry black leather top to its polished brass feet, this fine desk has an over the top appearance. Being finished on all four sides, this dynqamite desk can easily float within a room or make a stunning dressing table by simply adding a mirror.
French Transitional Louis XV Cylinder Desk
French “bureau a cylindre” of the transitional period between Louis XV and Louis XVI, Breche d’Alep marble top surface with pierced bronze gallery, surmounting an exceptional parquetry geometric cube and sunburst design cylinder part opens to reveals pull out work surface, interior contains drawers and secret compartments for storage; kneehole has center drawer which is flanked on left by two drawers and right side by one double drawer, exceptional gilded bronze mounts and hardware, supported on four slight cabriole legs with gilded bronze mount on knee with leg ending in gilded bronze sabots.
Louis Xv Transition Style French Marquetry Desk. Three Centuries Shop
Important Secretaire a Abattant by Molitor
In his most extraordinary se´cretaire a` abattant by Bernard Molitor displays superb proportion and balance. Beautifully crafted of mahogany with ormolu mounts and accented by a fine white marble top, the se´cretaire features a fall-front that opens to reveal a green tooled-leather writing surface and a multitude of fitted drawers (in both the secretary and base), shelves and secret compartments, perfect for protecting one’s most precious documents. Born in Luxembourg, Molitor was one of the rare and fortunate e´be´nistes whose furniture-making business prospered both before and after the French Revolution. Because of his long career, Molitor’s work reflects the changing fashions in furniture, from the grand and elaborate pieces of the ancient regime, the austere and sparsely decorated furniture of the Revolution and Republic, to the Louis XVI influence during Napoleon’s reign. Molitor is known for using only the finest woods, mounts, and hardware, and his precisely made, beautifully finished work exhibits an architectural sense of proportion and retraint of decoration that suggest a thoroughly modern functionalism.
Louis XV Kingwood cylinder desk with heavy gilding, brass ormolu trim, intricate marquetry work, and bombay sides. The gallery is decorated with brass figural cherubs. This desk is a copy of Linke desk which sells for around $500,000 It is extermely high quality and is no longer made. This Desk is currently on auction for 22K at Antiquarian Traders