Design attributed to Charles-Auguste Questel (1807–1888)
Workshop of Georges-Alphonse Jacob Desmalter (1799–1870)
Carved decoration by Chabraux
Ebony, ebony veneer, ebonized maple, oak, maple, rosewood, snakewood, ivory, mother-of-pearl; brass hardware and mounts; lined with silk velvet not original to the piece
Overall (at base): 53 x 32 1/8 x 23 1/8 in. (134.6 x 81.6 x 58.7 cm); Overall (at widest edge of lectern): 53 x 30 11/16 x 21 5/8 in.
Purchase, Louis V. Bell, Harris Brisbane Dick, Fletcher, and Rogers Funds and Joseph Pulitzer Bequest; and Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan and Rogers Fund, by exchange, 2006
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 554
The shaped aprons on the front and back of this bookstand bear the crowned initials FPO for Ferdinand Philippe, duc d'Orléans (1810—1842), oldest son of King Louis-Philippe. A noted patron of the arts with eclectic taste, the duke commissioned this striking black and white showpiece from the ébéniste Georges-Alphonse Jacob Desmalter, grandson of the celebrated eighteenth-century menuisier (joiner) Georges Jacob, in 1839. Most likely intended to display Les Offices de la Vierge, a lavish book of hours created for Ferdinand Philippe the previous year, the bookstand consists of a base, a bookcase with two openwork doors supported on baluster-shaped legs, and a sloping upper part with a book rest. A detailed mémoire by Desmalter indicates that the velvet-lined interior originally held a pillow for the missal. The top has a ratcheted mechanism that allows the central panel, embellished with marquetry of ivory, mother-of-pearl, and snakewood, to be raised. The historicizing design by Charles-Auguste Questel reflected contemporary interest in the Renaissance style. The sculptor Chabraux carved the elaborate decoration in ivory and ebonized maple.
Before being sent to the Tuileries Palace, where it furnished the duke's salon d'attente, the bookstand was exhibited at the 1839 Exposition des Produits de l'Industrie in Paris.
Signature: Stamped three times, once underneath the base at the back side, once each underneath the left and right side of the cabinet: *Jacob
Inscription: crowned initials FPO [Ferdinand Philippe d'Orléans]
Ferdinand-Philippe d'Orleans ; His widow, Hélène of Mecklembourg-Schwerin (until sold in 1853) ; Louis-Auguste-Alfred Beurdeley (from 1853) ; Private Collection, Belgium ; [ sale, Christie's, Amsterdam , February 15–16, 2005, lot 400; sold to Zietz ] ; [ Rainer Zietz Limited , London, 2005–06; sold to MMA ]
Artist: Marquetry by Alexandre-Jean Oppenordt (Dutch, 1639–1715, active France)Date: ca. 1685Medium: Oak, pine, walnut veneered with ebony, rosewood, and marquetry of tortoiseshell and engraved brass; gilt bronze and steelAccession: 1986.365.3On view in:Gallery 531
Artist: Stammer & Breul (active mid-19th century)Date: 1855Medium: Oak and pine veneered with rosewood, tulipwood, ebony and ebonized wood, and micromosaic decoration of various natural and stained woods; modern silk-velvet; coated brassAccession: 2008.452a, bOn view in:Gallery 554
Artist: Attributed to Herman Doomer (Dutch, Anrath ca. 1595–1650 Amsterdam)Date: ca. 1640–50Medium: Oak veneered with ebony, snakewood, rosewood, kingwood, cedar and other woods; mother-of-pearl, ivory, green stained boneAccession: 2011.181On view in:Gallery 636
Artist: Jean Henri Riesener (French, Gladebeck, near Hessen 1734–1806 Paris)Date: 1783Medium: Oak veneered with ebony and 17th-century Japanese lacquer; interiors veneered with tulipwood, amaranth, holly, and ebonized holly; gilt-bronze mounts; marble top; velvet (not original)Accession: 20.155.11On view in:Gallery 524