Pierre Kjellberg, “Le Mobilier Français du XVIIIe Siècle”, 1998, p. 94, pl. A, illustrating a similar commode stamped Boudin.
A magnificent Louis XV Transition Louis XVI gilt bronze mounted inlaid marquetry amaranth and bois de rose commode stamped C M COCHOIS and L BOUDIN and JME, decorated overall with a floral trellis-pattern, the serpentine shaped brèche d’Alep marble top above two long drawers with pairs of gilt handles à la Grec and single central scrolled escutcheon, decorated with a central C-scroll cartouche with bouquet of flowers in a basket within a rocaille frame, above a shaped apron mounted with a flaming urn and drapery, the hipped angles headed by scrolling acanthus mounts continuing down the cabriole legs terminating in scrolled sabots
Paris, date circa 1760-65
Height 88 cm, length 131 cm, depth 64 cm.
Charles-Michel Cochois (d. 1764), who was recorded at rue des Petits-Carreaux Paris during the 1730’s, appears to have begun his career as a dealer in clock cases. Later however he worked as an ébéniste making furniture in the Régence and Transitional style. Among other known pieces bearing his stamp is an amaranth and bois de rose inlaid commode in the J. Paul Getty Museum, California. Cochois’s stamp also appears along side that of Gaspard Feilt on a table from the Dodge Collection, Detroit Institute of Arts.
In contrast to Cochois, Léonard Boudin (1735-1807) started his career as an ébéniste before establishing himself as a dealer. Before Boudin was received as a maître-ébéniste in 1761, he worked as an independent craftsman in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, where he remained until circa 1767. Noted as an artisan of repute in “L’Almanach Dauphin” in 1770, much of his success lay in his great skill in marquetry in which he evolved characteristic motifs. Sometimes he featured small circles within a border enclosing floral panels and at other times he included rings in the four corners of his panels or at the top of the legs. Another typical motif was a large sunburst effect as well as cubic marquetry panels found on a number of his Louis XV secrétaires. Other of his pieces were ornamented in lacquer (e.g. at Château de Versailles) and also with japanning with European decoration (e.g. at Kunst. Husgerådskam, Stockholm). Boudin supplied furniture to a number of esteemed fellow ébénistes especially to Pierre Migeon for whom he made furniture in floral marquetry and in chinoiserie lacquer. He also supplied other colleagues including Gérard Péridiez, Roger Vandercruse (RVLC), Louis Moreau and most probably Pierre-Antoine Foullet.
His repute was enhanced after he supplied a bureau-plat to Gilles Joubert (marchand-ébéniste and supplier to the Garde-Meuble Royal) for the comte de Provence at Compiègne and a commode for the comte at Fontainebleau in 1771. Significant commissions followed which eventually resulted in him opening up a shop in the rue Froidmanteau sometime before 1775. Trading as a marchand-ébéniste he now commissioned pieces from other leading makers, such as Gilbert, Bircklé, Tuart, Macret, Chevallier, Foullet, Cordié, Evalde, Bayer, and Topino, whose stamps are found on a number of pieces, restamped Boudin in his role as retailer. Between 1772-75 Topino supplied him with 49 small tables decorated with Chinoiserie subjects. Kjellberg, ibid. also mentions other pieces bearing his stamp that were probably by Topino such as a small table decorated with vases and various objects.
Other pieces decorated with landscapes and architectural motifs bearing Boudin’s stamp were most probably made by Gilbert, while a small secrétaire galbé now in the Cleveland Museum of Art was almost certainly from the workshop of RVLC. Other collaborations included two Louis XV encoignures decorated with flowers and rocaille bronzes carrying the stamps of both Latz and Boudin. As Jean-Pierre Latz died about seven years before Boudin became a maître (i.e. when he first used a stamp) then the elder must almost certainly have made the piece.
Boudin then transferred his business to the cloister of Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois in 1777, by which date he appears to have ceased all activities as a craftsman and instead was acting solely as a trader, at which he was very successful. Gradually expanding the number of his premises, in addition to furniture he also sold other items in the ultimate taste, from bronzes and candelabra to exotic curiosities. At the same time he acted as an interior decorator, and in this capacity contributed to the furnishing of the duchesse d’Arenberg’s house in the rue de la Ville-l’Evêque.
The appearance of two stamps on the same piece of eighteenth century French furniture was by no means unusual since it was common practice among Parisian ébénistes to subcontract work from fellow colleagues. In some cases one maker supplied carcasses, which were then finished and retailed by another. At the same time numerous ébénistes supplied completed works to one of the marchand-ébénistes, such as Boudin, Migeon or Tuart who then added their own stamp before retailing the piece. The practice of double stamping (and sometimes even multiple stamping) has invariably led to confusion among scholars as to an exact attribution. However, as Kjellberg has stressed: in spite of the various origins of such pieces, those bearing Boudin’s stamp always reflect his taste, which though varied was always of the highest level.