Veuve Sormani & Fils

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Veuve Sormani & Fils

A Very Fine Regence Style Gilt-Bronze Mounted Bureau Plat

FRANCE, Circa 1880

REF No. B71770

Signed 'VVE P. SORMANI & FILS 10 R. CHARLOT PARIS' to the lock.


Height :81 cm | 43⁷/₈ in
Width :180 cm | 82⁷/₈ in
Depth :97 cm | 38¹/₄ in


A Very Fine Regence Style Gilt-Bronze Mounted Bureau Plat By Veuve Paul Sormani & Fils, After The Model by Charles Cressent.

This elegant Regence style bureau plat has a shaped top with a tooled leather writing surface above one long and two short drawers, with finely cast gilt-bronze encadrement. The desk is raised on cabriole legs with exceptional gilt-bronze acanthus framed figural espagnolettes in the form of female figures, the legs terminating in acanthus wrapped sabots.

Following the 1882 retrospective of Cressent's work at the Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs, many of the leading cabinet makers of the day, including Paul Sormani, rediscovered the sculptural designs of the eighteenth century Royal ébéniste Charles Cressent. Sormani produced a number of bureau plats in the 1880's based on Cressent's work, often reinterpreting them with subtle elements of modernity. The distinctive figural espagnolettes to the head of each leg on the present bureau plat are based on a model by Cressent conserved at the Château de Versailles.


A. Pradère, ‘Charles Cressent, sculpteur, ébéniste du Régent’, Dijon, 2003.

Charles Cressent

Charles Cressent (1685-1768) was a leading French ébéniste and sculptor of the late Régence and early Rococo periods, becoming a master sculptor in 1719. He worked as both ébéniste and sculptor to the Regent, Philippe II, Duc d'Orléans. His furniture was often decorated with plain veneers, usually of satinwood and amaranth, or veneers in patterns of parquetry.

Cressent was best known for the highly sculptural and often figurative, gilt-bronze mounts that ornamented his furniture.


Born in Venice in 1817, Paul Sormani (1817-1877), was a Parisian maker of fine 'meubles de luxe'. His work was described in the catalogue of the 1867 Exposition Universelle as: 'toute sa production révèle une qualité d'exécution de tout premier ordre' (all of his production reveals a quality of execution all of the first order').
Sormani exhibited at the International Exhibitions in Paris in 1849, 1855, 1867, 1878 and 1900, and in London in 1862, winning numerous medals.
Paul Sormani established the firm in 1847 at 7, Cimetière Saint-Nicholas in Paris, moving in 1854 to 114, Rue du Temple, and in 1867 to 10, rue Charlot.
After his death in 1877 Sormani's son Paul-Charles took over the business that later moved to 134 boulevard Haussmann.
It can be difficult to date Sormani's work, as the firm produced furniture for nearly ninety years. However, when Paul Sormani died in 1877, his wife and son took over the business and from this date onwards pieces are normally signed 'Veuve Sormani & Fils'.

Maker Bibliography:
Mestdagh, Camille and Pierre Lécoules, 'L'Ameublement d'art français : 1850-1900, Editions de l'Amateur', (Paris) 2010.
Meyer, Jonathan, 'Great Exhibitions - London, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, 1851-1900', Antique Collectors' Club, (Woodbridge, UK), 2006.
Ledoux - Lebard, Denise, 'Les ébénistes du XIXe Siècle', Editions de L'Amateur (Paris), 1984. pp. 583-588.

Veuve Sormani & Fils

A Very Fine Regence Style Gilt-Bronze Mounted Bureau Plat

Tel +44 (0)20 7495 2324