Galerie Segoura Paris, purchased in 1993.
Alexandre Pradère "French Furniture Makers", 1989, p. 201, pl. 195, illustrating a very similar commode stamped Lhermitte.
An extremely fine Louis XV gilt bronze mounted bois de rose and amaranth bois de bout and bois de fil marquetry bureau plat attributed to Martin-Étienne Lhermitte, the shaped rectangular leather-lined top above a frieze inlaid overall with trailing bois de bout floral marquetry within three conforming panels with the three frieze drawers that reverse to sham drawers, with highly ornate foliate cast gilt bronze handles and a pair of crescent foliate mounts framing the drawers, the ends of the bureau centred by an elaborate foliate scrolled mount and the angles with rocaille scrolled chutes heading cabriole legs terminated by foliate cast sabots
Paris, date circa 1755
Height 82.5 cm, length 180 cm, depth 95.5 cm.
This handsome bureau plat shares much in common with other works by Martin-Étienne Lhermitte (b. circa 1730 d. circa 1765), some of whose work remained in his studio and was reputedly completed and stamped by B.V.R.B. The marquetry in bois de bout and bois de fil on a bois de rose ground featuring long attenuated floral and foliate sprays sparingly placed within distinct shaped panels, is typical of Lhermitte's oeuvre. In particular it compares with another very similar bureau plat stamped Lhermitte sold by Galerie Gismondi (illustrated in Pradère ibid.). The overall design can also be compared to a number of pieces stamped B.V.R.B., for instance one that was delivered in 1745 to the Dauphin at Versailles, which had identical amaranth marquetry decoration on a bois de rose ground.
Lhermitte, who was established in rue de Charenton opposite the Convent of the English Sisters, was received as a maître ébéniste in August 1753. His work was of the highest quality and ranged from bureaux to commodes and encoignures to coiffeuses in both the Louis XV and Transitional styles. Today one can admire a small Louis XV two-door armoire with marquetry panels decorated with bois de rose and bois de violette by him which is in the Musée des Arts et Décoratifs in Paris. Lhermitte often executed commissioned work for his fellow ébéniste Pierre Migeon to whom he supplied a number of items including a bedside table en cabaret with floral marquetry and a bureau veneered in bois de rose with a point de Hongrie pattern. Further evidence that Migeon subcontracted work from Lhermitte is given by a table à vantaux in bois satiné which bears both Migeon and Lhermitte's stamp (illustrated ibid. p. 166, pl. 142).
In addition the present gilt bronze rocaille mounts, which are of superb quality, compare with those adorning pieces bearing Migeon's stamp such as a commode now in the Musée Louis Vouland at Avignon.