Desk Masterpieces Reproductions

French Neoclassical ormolu-mounted palisander and mahogany veneer inlaid bureau plat after the model made by Paul Sormani

Ref#D-W93 | Description

A remarkable French Neoclassical ormolu-mounted palisander and mahogany veneer inlaid bureau plat after the model made by Paul Sormani after the model by Simon Oeben, Paris, 18th century,

The leather top surface with an ormolu border above a frieze with three drawers with an engraved ormolu border. The central drawer with an ormolu foliate keyhole escutcheon. Each drawer has an ormolu ewer plaque with laurel ring handles. The corners ornamented with a fine chiseled ormolu ribbon knotted laurel festoons.

The sides are bordered with hammered ormolu band and the back similarly decorated with three faux drawers matching the front.

The bureau plat is raised on tapered legs ornate with a fine chiseled ormolu draped works connected to ormolu guilloche decorating each side of each leg and terminating with square ormolu toupee ball feet leaf beaded sabots.

We have produced the bureau plat with its matching cartonnier after the model of the original piece made by Oeben circa 1770

Ref# D-W93

160-75-80 cm

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Desk History

The original bureau plat by Oeben, made circa 1765, is illustrated in Alexander Pradère, French Furniture Makers. It originally 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, now in the Musée Condé at the Château de Chantilly.

Paur Sormani

Paul Sormani established the firm in 1847 at 7, Cimetière Saint-Nicholas in Paris. The location was then changed in 1854 to 114, Rue du Temple, and in 1867 to 10, rue Charlot. He was present at all the major exhibitions with petits meubles de fantaisie , as well as excellent quality reproductions of some of the Garde Meuble National items.

The firm won a bronze medal in 1849 and une médaille de première classe in 1855. At the 1867 Exposition Universelle, his work was described as such: " toute sa production révèle une qualité d'exécution de tout premier ordre"(the whole of his production exhibits craftsmanship of the highest quality).

When Sormani passed away, his son, Paul-Charles took over his father business alongside his mother, Ursule-Marie Philippine, hence the company"s name change to Sormani Veuve Paul et Fils. In 1914 Paul Charles Sormani formed a partnership with Thiebault Frères, and the firm was moved to 134, Boulevard Haussmann, where it remained until its closure in 1934. The furniture production was of the highest quality in the style of Louis XV and Louis XVI. An identical cartonnier was exhibited by Paul Sormani at the Paris 1900 Exhibition (Art Journal Catalogue, 1900, copied from the period desk in the Hamilton Palace sale.

Simon Oeben

Simon Oeben began his career as a cabinetmaker in the Gobelins workshop of his elder brother, cabinetmaker Jean-Francois Oeben . After the latter left for the Arsenal, he remained in the workshop and continued his activities alone. He obtained his master's letters in 1769 and, like his brother before, received the title of first cabinet-maker of the king. Alongside his royal functions, he has a very rich clientele and opens an important store to exhibit all his works.

His furniture, of Transition style and Louis XVI , of very good quality, are all executed with care and refinement. They are generally covered with leaf veneers or inlaid with geometric patterns especially cubes. One can mention very beautiful commodes of style Transition, double jump, mahogany or satin, with veneer of horizontal and very sobriety. The ornamentations are discreet and the woods used always present very warm tones. Jean-Francois Oeben , Roger Vandercruse and himself, very related in life, have often stamped works of identical models. The production of Simon Oeben also includes furniture more commonly used, such as bedside tables, bidets ... But always executed with the utmost care. Simon Oeben died in 1786, leaving only his debts to his widow. In spite of great efforts it will not be able to redress the disastrous situation and will be obliged to cease all activity a year later.