Gustave Duval, 1925. Sale: Château de Grand-Vaux, Savigny-sur-Orge, 22nd and 24th June 1935, lot 382. Purchased by Professor Guy Ledoux-Lebard, Paris.
Paul Marmottan, "Le Style Empire", vol. III, 1925, pl. 28, illustrated and noted as belonging to Gustave Duval. Denise Ledoux-Lebard, "Les Ebénistes du XIXe Siècle 1795-1889, Les Oeuvres et Leurs Marques", 1984, p. 437. Christophe Huchet de Quénetain, "Les Styles Consulat et Empire", 2005, p. 118, pl. 83, illustrating a very ornate gilt and patinated bronze console with pietra dura marquetry, 1797-8 attributed to Lignereux and Thomire for the first floor of l'hôtel Delannoy, which is supported on very similar sphinx monopods. And p. 120, pl. 86, illustrating a gilt and patinated bronze mounted veneered console, attributed to a collaboration between Lignereux, Thomire and Weisweiler featuring very similar monopodia supports.
A magnificent and very rare Empire gilt bronze mounted mahogany console with Wedgwood plaques representing allegories of Writing, Architecture and scenes from the Antique attributed to Martin Eloi Lignereux, Adam Weisweiler and Pierre-Philippe Thomire, the moulded blue marble top with demi-lune front above a frieze ornamented with three blue and white biscuit Wedgwood plaques within gilt bronze palmette frames above a mirrored back and a central caryatid with spread wings and Egyptian coiffée du Némès headdress on a monopodia support terminated by a lion paw foot, flanked on either side by rectangular supports on a stepped base ornamented on the front by oval Wedgwood plaques and on the inner sides by gilt bronze flaming torches with knotted ribbons, joined by a concave-sided triangular platform, the sides of the console mounted with gilded Mercury heads
Paris, date circa 1795-1800
Height 92 cm, width 149 cm, depth 48.5 cm.
Based on similar examples, this magnificent console can be attributed to a collaboration between the celebrated marchand-mercier Martin Eloi Lignereux (1752-1809), the ébéniste Adam Weisweiler (1744-1820) and the equally renowned fondeur-ciseleur Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751-1843). It compares closely with another console in the Museum of Decorative Arts, Budapest, known to be by Lignereux. The supports also compare with those by Thomire for a bureau plat by Weisweiler, now in Palazzo Reale, Naples (Patricia Lemonnier, "Weisweiler", 1983, p. 138). A similar support with a porcelain plaque also features on a guéridon preserved at the Correr Museum in Venice (ibid. p. 95).
A collaboration between Weisweiler and Lignereux also appears likely especially on account of the similarity with the console in the Budapest museum and a guéridon in the Grand Trianon, Versailles. This theory is reinforced by the fact that Weisweiler was already working with Lignereux's predecessor Dominique Daguerre, whose business Lignereux succeeded in 1793. It is therefore possible that Weisweiler made the console to the order of and after designs by Lignereux who would also have supplied the porcelain plaques. The attribution to Thomire is not only based on the quality of the fine gilt bronze mounts but also the fact that he was one of the main suppliers to Weisweiler, he was closely associated with Lignereux and collaborated with both of them. As a case in point Thomire supplied very similar winged supports for a later bureau-plat by Weisweiler made sometime before 1812 for the Quirinale in Rome.
During the mid 1780's Lignereux was associated with Dominique Daguerre; he also went to London for a few years to oversee management of the business there and then succeeded Daguerre in 1793. Despite the Revolution he continued his activities and made his fortune. He specialised in the production of precious pieces produced in small quantities but of the highest quality. But despite Lignereux's importance only three of his pieces can be truly identified, since none were stamped and only three carry his label. They include two cabinets, which were purchased by the Prince of Wales in 1803 and the aforementioned console in the Museum of Decorative Arts, Budapest.
There was a certain rivalry between Lignereux and his son-in-law the ébéniste François-Honoré-Georges-Jacob-Desmalter who married his daughter Adélaide-Anne in 1798. At the Exposition des Produits de l'Industrie, 1800-01 and after much deliberation the jury decided to give the gold medal to Desmalter rather than Lignereux. In 1803 Lignereux moved to the rue Taitbout and managed the Sèvres Porcelain factory warehouse. During the following year he sold his stake in the business and all its goods to Thomire and Duterme, which they continued with great success.