provenance: Fontainbleu Palace (Queen Marie-Antoinette private apartments); Palais du Luxembourg; Palais de Saint-Cloud (1807); Lévy. Acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian through Owen at Lévy’s estate sale, Paris, June 1917.
description: Armchair executed in sculpted and gilded beech with extraordinary decorative motifs. These include Egyptian sphinxes at the end of the arms, supported by twisted columns that transform into dolphins at the waist of the chair. The top rail of the rectangular back is decorated with a bow of entwined ribbons and roses, while along the uprights, representing flaming torches, bunches of ivy creep, symbols of perseverance and happiness. At the waist, a rope of pearls between spiralling ribbons broken by four cubes decorated with a star, where the feet, in the form of quivers with arrows are inserted.
This chair, from the apartments of Queen Marie Antoinette at Fontainebleu, is one of a set commissioned from Georges Jacob, in the years 1785-86.