A very rare set of four Empire gilt bronze mounted mahogany fauteuils attributed to Jacob-Desmalter et Cie, each with a rectangular back and padded seat covered in a white and gold silk, the toprail centred by a central rosette and foliate mount, the downward scrolled arms supported by lion heads with flowing manes above square tapering supports above a slightly bowed seat rail centred by a central rosette and palmetted mount bordered either side by a rosette above shaped square tapering legs terminating in lion paw feet
Paris, date circa 1805
Height 92.5 cm, width 61 cm, depth 52 cm. each.
François-Honoré-Georges Jacob (1770-1841), who worked with his father Georges Jacob (1739-1814) under the name of Jacob-Desmalter, made a similar set of fauteuils, which are displayed at the Double Apartment of the Princes, Château de Compiègne (illustrated in Madeleine Deschamps, "Empire", 1994, p. 92). As here, the arm rests are supported by gilt bronze figural heads, though in the latter instance the supports are sphinx heads, which stand above uninterrupted square tapering leg supports but likewise terminate in lion paw feet. A further comparison can be made with an unattributed set of fauteuils at Château de Grobois (illustrated in Sylvie Chadenet, "Les Styles Empire & Restauration"). These again have sphinx head supports, with additional wings below the arm rests but as here display the same square supports above shaped tapering legs terminating in lion paw feet, as well as similar mounts along the seat rail and again on the similarly shaped rectangular top rail.
The modelling of the lion heads, with their distinctively animated faces is very unusual and though the firm of Jacob-Desmalter as well as other ébénistes of the period often featured lion heads on seats and other furniture, these particular examples posses a rare characterisation.