An extremely fine Louis XVI carved giltwood console with an oak framed carcass, the shaped demi-lune bleu turquin marble top above with a frieze with carved egg and dart decoration above a delicate pierced entrelac border, supported by two classical female caryatid angular sided tapering columns ornamented with rinceaux and foliage and joined by a boldly shaped stretcher with foliate carving to the top and an entrelac border to the sides, centred by a flaming vase with a pair of long horned ram's head handles on turned toupie feet
Paris, date circa 1785
Height 87.5 cm, length 129 cm, depth 48 cm.
Several elements of this console compare closely with pieces delivered to Queen Marie-Antoinette during the 1780's. Firstly identical caryatids ornament the jambs of a marble fireplace enriched with gilt bronze mounts, housed in Marie-Antoinette's inner cabinet, known as the cabinet doré at Château de Versailles. They were made by the fondeur-ciseleur Pierre-Auguste Forestier (1755-1835) and were transformed by Marie-Antoinette's favourite architect Richard Mique (1728-94). Mique entirely refurbished the ornamentation of the fireplace and did so once more in 1783. Secondly the semi circular entrelac lacing along the console's frieze evokes certain cane-work motifs appearing on a set of seats made by the esteemed furniture maker Georges Jacob (1739-1814) in 1787 for Marie-Antoinette, which were made for her bedchamber at the Trianons (illustrated in Madeleine Jarry and Pierre Devinoy, "Le Siège Français", 1973, p. 246, pls. 242-243). The third comparison to mention is the carving of the foliage in fine relief, which is reminiscent of the supports surmounted by Egyptian heads adorning the Turkish bed, delivered by Jean-Baptiste Sené (1747-1803) for Marie-Antoinette's inner chamber at Château de Saint-Cloud (illustrated ibid. p. 242, pl. 239).
Also of note is the similarity between the classical vase that centres the stretcher and another in the same position on a console by Jean-François Thuillier (maître 1752, d. circa 1786), of circa 1780 or later, which is now in the Wrightsman Collection, Metropolitan Museum, New York, (illustrated in F. J. B. Watson, "The Wrightsman Collection", 1966, vol. I, p. 125, no. 85). Though the latter vase has a cover rather than flames and is of a more upright shape, it has almost identical carved rams' head handles.