A very rare and beautiful Louis XV gilt bronze mounted parquetry kingwood and rosewood table à ecrire stamped with the marks of the eminent ébéniste Pierre II Migeon, the shaped rectangular top with cube parquetry within a cartouche-shaped panel surrounded by floral and foliate inlay, with gilt bronze moulding with three quarter gallery above a central front leather lined writing slide with key, above a feather-banded and floral and foliate panelled frieze, the sides similary decorated, each with a frieze drawer with diamond-shaped escutcheons, with scrolled foliate angle mounts continuing down the cabriols legs terminating in foliate sabots.
Paris, date circa 1755
Height 74 cm, length 82 cm, depth 52 cm.
Pierre II Migeon (1701-58) belonged to one of the most important Parisian Protestant family of ébénistes. His father Pierre Migeon I (b. circa 1670) established a thriving business with royal and aristocratic clientele. It appears that Pierre II’s career began in about 1726 but he was never received as a maître-ébéniste. This was probably because he was a strict Calvinist, which precluded him from becoming a member of a guild, except by special dispensation. We know however that by 1739 he was already firmly established as head of his father’s workshop and furniture emporium at rue de Charenton in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine. The firm’s day-book from 1730-36 reflects an extremely prosperous concern whose clientele included the dowager duchess de Bourbon, the duc d’Orleans son of the Regent and the duchesse de Rohan for whom Migeon supplied one of the first executed secrétaires en armoire in 1731.
Migeon worked both as an ébéniste and dealer, which would account for the large number of pieces that bear his mark. He was supplied by the very best craftsmen of his day, such as Boudin, Dautriche, R.V.L.C., Duval, Criaerd, Bircklé, Macret, Topino and others. Despite the large number of suppliers, pieces bearing Migeon’s stamp share a striking stylistic uniformity. His designs were restrained and never excessively rococo, though his work showed a preference to serpentine shapes and sometimes heavy forms such as his commodes en tombeaux and low secrétaires. His veneers tended to feature geometric patterns, often with dark woods such as kingwood or tulipwood and likewise often incorporated florally decorative cartouches. He sometimes used lacquered veneers and was probably the first ébéniste to use mahogany veneers.
Among Pierre II’s Migeon’s specialities were secrétaires, commodes, writing tables and small pieces with elaborate fittings such as luxurious water closets, supplied to the ladies of court and Mme de Pompadour. The latter was an important client for whom he made encoignures and a night table for her apartment at Marly as well as bidets and his speciality, the commode chair. From 1740 Migeon supplied the court through the offices of the Menus Plaisirs and also provided various functional pieces to the Garde-Meuble Royal, who were responsible for furnishing the royal palaces. Following Pierre II’s sudden death, his son Pierre Migeon III (1733-75, maître 1761) continued the already flourishing business until his own death. Thereafter the business was continued by the latter’s widow until about 1785. Work by all members of the family is of the very finest quality. Pieces by Pierre Migeon II can be seen in at the Musées des Arts Décoratifs, du Louvre, Petit Palais and de Carnavalet in Paris, at the Châteaux de Fontainebleau and Champs-sur-Marne as well as the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Lyon and at Beauvais. His work is also prized among the collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum and Wallace Collection, London as well as at Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire, the National Gallery of Art, Washington and the Residenzmuseum, Munich.