Ref#D-2200 | Description
Our delicate reproduction of the fine Louis XV Rococo style ormolu-mounted veneer and marquetry inlaid bureau de dame after the model by François Linke and Léon Messagé, Circa 1900-1910
The ormolu foliate filet mounted bombé superstructure surmounted by a circular opened ormolu gallery above two drawers ornamented with ormolu encadrements with foliate movements,
The reverse as well with foliate ormolu encadrement centered to top by an ormolu acanthus leaf, C foliate scroll works and a blossoming branch and elongated to the base above the kidney form desk set with foliate marquetry patterns writing surface,
The pierced half-gallery inset at corner with encrier with shell-cast lid, above a conforming frieze drawer decorated with C scrolled foliate and acanthus ormolu filets and blossoming bouquet in a satin and burnish finish, the back is likewise decorated,
The desk is raised on cabriole legs tapering to paw-cast feet and an ormolu band that continues up to an extraordinary pierced acanthus and foliate ormolu chutes.
François Linke Petit Bureaux History
Originally modeled for the Paris 1900 Exposition Universelle, this ladies' writing desk is one of the most innovative of the cooperation between Linke and his sculptor Léon Messagé.
One of Linke's key pieces, it was central to the display on his stand at the 1900 Paris exhibition. It combines the traditional Louis XV rococo style of the 18th century with the ultra-modern, contemporary Art Nouveau. One of the first pieces to be started for the exhibition, Linke notes that casting for the master patterns commenced on Christmas Day, 1897.
There are two examples listed in the Blue Daybooks and five further examples in the green registres. The first, original, exhibition example cost 3,339 francs to make, plus an additional 8 francs for the engraving of the Linke signature by Peletier. By the second example, Linke had reduced the cost to 1,559 francs. There is no entry date for the second example; the 3rd was made between 1905 and 1908. Against the first example Linke has written in pencil ‘offre 5500.' This is consistent with the original recommended retail price, which had leapt dramatically by the 1921 revision to 19,400 francs. The difference in costs of the first two examples is mainly due to the cost of making the master patterns. Simply chasing the master models is noted at 430 francs, with an additional 379 francs for cleaning, chasing and finishing the casts. The gilding costs of 300 francs had to be added to this figure. Linke appears to have paid Messagé and his team 1,057 francs for the modeling, with his idiosyncratic spelling ‘Mesaget et aut’.
In accordance with French cabinetmaking tradition, the original two carcasses would have been cut at the same time, Linke allowing 80 francs for the wood of each desk. The cabinetmaking was shared almost equally by Fink and Marseiller at 458 hours.
A similar desk, judged by the quality of the bronze mounts to be the 1944 version, was sold, Hotel des Ventes Nice-Riviera for Euros 200,000.
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