An important Empire style gilt bronze mounted mahogany salon table after a model from 1808 by Jacob-Desmalter. Circular verde antico marble top surface above a mahogany frame, the frieze mounted with laurel leaf banding alternating rosettes and anthemions; three full bodied gilt bronze female Archaic caryatid supports, each with hair in plaits, bare feet and arms crossed, wearing arm bands and a low cut diaphanous dress gathered up toward her breast; the stretcher centred by a chased covered urn flanked by three elegant crouching winged Greek female sphinxes wearing Nemes headdresses and plaits tied at the front. Apollo described sphinxs as having a woman's face, the body and tail of a lion and the wings of a bird.
After a model from 1808 by Jacob-Desmalter commissioned for Caroline Murat, Napoleons sister, at the Elysee Palace; it is now displayed at Grand Trianon, Versailles. Jacob-Desmalter celebrated Parisian firm, based on designs by Napoleon’s chief architects and ornamentalists Charles Percier (1764-1838) and Pierre François Léonard Fontaine (1762-1853).
Literature: Denise Ledoux-Lebard, “Inventaire Général du Musée National de Versailles et des Trianons vol. I, Le Grand Trianon, Meubles et Objets d’Art,” pp. 25-26, illustrating and describing a rectangular table-console with almost identical caryatid figures centred by a very similar arrangement of two griffons rather than three sphinxes flanking a flaming rather than covered urn.
The French Empire style is considered an evolution of the Neoclassical period; this impressive design was promoted by Napoleon Bonaparte, influenced by war and ancient Greek and Roman architecture. Napoleon was a fierce military leader who crowned himself 1st emperor of France, notorious for commanding wars and controlling many important parts of Europe. Furniture and accessories of this period often used militaristic elements; symbols of war and victory such as the golden eagle, palm leaves, laurel wreaths, and the initial “N”. The Egyptian campaign inspired major Egyptian ornamentation such as obelisks, sphinxes, and pyramids. Extraordinary veneers, gilded bronze, and marble also characterized this period furniture. This important style became popular and was soon adopted across the courts of Europe. Today this classic French design is timeless and elegant, complimenting a traditional setting or adding exuberant contrasting highlights to modern and contemporary interiors.
Place of Origin: France
Period: Circa 1880
Diminisions: (36 in.H, 36"Dia)
Condition: Excellent Condition
Wear: Wear Consistent with Age and Use