Desk Masterpieces Reproductions

French Empire style ormolu-mounted veneer inlaid oval shaped Pedestal Desk on the manner of François-Honoré-Georges Jacob-Desmalter
|Ref#D-E464 | #D-E492 | #D-E488 |


An irresistible French Empire style ormolu-mounted veneer inlaid oval shaped Pedestal Desk on the manner of François-Honoré-Georges Jacob-Desmalter, circa.1770–1841. The ormolu mounted after the models of the preeminent bronzier Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751–1843)

The desk as displayed is offered in different style of veneer finishing like elm to imitate the Biedermeier style, palisander, mahogany, amboyna veneers, different rich marble types supports and variety of leather top types. Different styles pf supports varied between marble pilasters and Corinthian style fluted colonettes,

The oval shaped gilt-tooled leather top surrounded with a beveled border above a shaped frieze with three drawers of different sizes, ornate with different Empire Neoclassical ormolu mounts, above two cupboard doors with one shelf inside. The doors and the curved sides garnished with Empire Neoclassical ormolu mounts and figures varied between palmette and anthemion mounts, ribbon-tied wreath, the eternal flame, a playful putto and a winged female figure in diaphanous robes playing a pipe by one hand and the other holding a wreath,

The fine pedestal desk has eight caryatid marble pilasters, each headed by the head and bust of a beautiful Egyptian female ormolu figure wearing a royal Egyptian headdress or kleft over ringlet hair which is tied above her breasts, set on a plinth, upon a slightly tapering marble pilaster support mounted with stylised acanthus leaves and terminating with female feet and falling drapery which rest upon spas that project out from the base ornamented with ormolu rosettes. The other version of the desk has eight Roman style fluted column supports with Corinthian style ormolu capitals. The back has the same style of the front with faux drawers.

Ref#D-E464 | #D-E492 | #D-E488


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François-Honoré-Georges Jacob-Desmalter

François-Honoré-Georges Jacob-Desmalter ran one of the most important and prosperous furniture workshops in Paris at the beginning of the 1800s. The son of a well-known chairmaker, Georges Jacob, Jacob-Desmalter took over his father's business with his older brother in 1796. Worked in the Louis XVI style and Directoire styles of the earlier phase of Neoclassicism and executed many royal commissions.

When his brother died six years later, Jacob-Desmalter hired his father back as his partner and began to develop one of the largest furniture workshops in Paris. By 1808 he employed 332 workmen to produce pieces worth over 700,000 francs per year. A third of this stock was destined for export; his warehouse alone held over 500,000 francs' worth of furniture.

Furniture produced by the firm of Jacob-Desmalter et Cie (Co.) was mainly made from mahogany in the Empire style, where geometric shapes and straight lines prevailed. The clients included Pauline Borghese, Napoleon I's sister, and the Empress Josephine, for whom he supplied numerous pieces for the imperial residences. One particularly important commission was a magnificent cradle built for the infant Napoleon II, king of Rome.

Greatly dependent on orders from Napoleon's household, the business went bankrupt in 1813, when the Emperor fell from power. Jacob-Desmalter, however, managed to resurrect the company and continued to run it until his son, Alphonse-George, succeeded him in 1825.

Pierre-Philippe Thomire

Although trained as a sculptor, Pierre-Philippe Thomire decided to follow his father into the potentially more lucrative profession of bronze caster, becoming the most important one of the late 1700s. Before setting up his own establishment in 1775, Thomire trained in the workshop of Pierre Gouthière.

Thomire's big break came when he began assisting Jean-Claude-Thomas Duplessis, the artistic director of the Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory, in making mounts. When Duplessis died in 1783, Thomire took over his job, supplying all the gilt bronze mounts for the porcelain. This work kept him in business throughout the French Revolution, when many other producers went bankrupt. In 1804 he bought the business of a marchand-mercier, thus allowing him to sell furniture, Sèvres porcelain, and decorative objects, which he produced in his own workshops. In 1809 the Emperor Napoleon made him ciseleur de l'empereur (Engraver to the Emperor); because of the large number of pieces Thomire supplied to the palaces, his firm became fournisseur de leurs majestés (Furniture Suppliers to their Majesties) two years later.

Thomire's business managed to survive even after Napoleon's downfall, winning numerous medals at various exhibitions. He finally retired at the age of seventy-two but continued to work as a sculptor, exhibiting at the Salon until he was in his eighties.