Desk Masterpieces Reproductions

Louis XVI style kidney-shaped gilt-ormolu-mounted black colored desk on the manner of Guillaume Benneman

Ref#D-CN625 | #D-K32 | Description

A unique Louis XVI style kidney-shaped gilt-ormolu-mounted black colored desk on the manner of Guillaume Benneman craftsmanship, Late 19th century,

The beveled fitted gilt-tooled leather top above the apron contains three drawers, the central concave long drawer with ormolu foliate keyhole escutcheon, flanked by two convex drawers with lyre shaped ormolu handles, all drawers ornamented with ormolu knotted-ribbon oak-leaves and separated by blocks decorated with ormolu rosettes,

The above apron surmounting four deep drawers, two to each side, bordered with a hammered ormolu band and drape shaped ormolu handles terminating with scalloped shaped frieze ornate with foliate design ormolu mount, and headed with gilt-ormolu acanthus volute bracket shaped chutes to each corner,

The desk is raised on astonishing massive ormolu acanthus-sheathed hairy paw feet. The back and curved sides are plain bordered with hammered ormolu band and centered with fine ormolu capushon.

The desk originally produced in a veneered version and available per request.

Ref#D-CN625 | #D-K32


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Guillaume Benneman

Guillaume Benneman arrived in Paris from Germany in the early 1780s as an unknown ébéniste but was soon chosen to provide furniture for the royal family. At first he simply repaired the royal family's existing furniture and made functional objects such as firescreens, boxes, and bidets. Benneman then became the court ébéniste, copying and altering existing furniture to unify the interiors of the royal residences.

As his work gained the Crown's admiration, large sums of money passed from the royal coffers to Benneman to outfit his workshop with tools and equipment for sixteen craftsmen. Under the direction of the sculptor Jean Hauré, who acted as coordinator, Benneman produced pieces in the style of such ébénistesas Jean-Henri Riesener and Jean-François Oeben. He also altered existing pieces of furniture by removing porcelain plaques and mounts from one piece and placing them on a new copy. The old piece then served as a base for a new design.

Benneman continued to work throughout the French Revolution, although at a reduced level, but during the Directoire he gained a certain amount of new business. Scholars have difficulty assessing this cabinetmaker's personal style as his best-known objects are copies of other eighteenth-century ébénistes.