Art/ Collection/ Art Object


Design attributed to Charles-Auguste Questel (1807–1888)
Workshop of Georges-Alphonse Jacob Desmalter (1799–1870)
Carved decoration by Chabraux
French, Paris
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.
Credit Line:
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
Accession Number:
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 ]
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