Maison Beurdeley

A Louis XVI Style Gilt-Bronze Marquetry Secretaire à Abattant

France, Circa 1870


A Louis XVI Style Gilt-Bronze Marquetry Secretaire à Abattant By Louis-Auguste-Alfred (Dit Alfred I) Beurdeley. This cabinet with drop down writing...


Height: 121 cm (48 in)
Width: 87 cm (35 in)
Depth: 39 cm (16 in)
REF NO : B76551


A Louis XVI Style Gilt-Bronze Marquetry Secretaire à Abattant By Louis-Auguste-Alfred (Dit Alfred I) Beurdeley.

This cabinet with drop down writing panel is an exquisite example of the art of furniture making exhibited during Alfred I Beurdeley’s tenure at Maison Beurdeley. The eared rectangular bleu turquin marble top above a frieze drawer applied with a pierced guilloche mount. The panelled front and sides inlaid with fine parquetryrosettes of geometric squares filled with daisy flower heads. The fall front has a green leather writing surface with gilt-tooled border and encloses an interior fitted with a shelf above three cubby holes and four short drawers. The base portion of the cabinet with doors enclosing a single shelf.

The distinctive design of the lozenge parquetry with flower heads is a familiar motif expounded by cabinetmakers during the Louis XVI period including Martin Carlin and Jean-Henri Riesener. The flower filled design is thought to be inspired by Japanese and Chinese lacquer work such as that employed on a lacquer cabinet, now in the Wallace Collection, that was produced for the European market in Kyoto around 1680 (Inv: F19).

Stamped twice ‘A. BEURDELEY A PARIS’

France, Circa 1870.


Circa 1870




Marquetry and Gilt-Bronze


Stamped twice 'A. BEURDELEY A PARIS'

Maison Beurdeley
Portrait of Emmanuel-Alfred (dit Alfred II) Beurdeley (1847-1919)

Emmanuel-Alfred (dit Alfred II) Beurdeley (1847-1919)

The Beurdeley family were a flourishing dynasty of three generations of fine quality cabinetmakers working from 1818 to 1895. The firm was particularly well known for its exceptional metalwork, most commonly basing their designs on important eighteenth century examples. Their mercurial gilding and hand chasing are often of such a high standard that it is difficult to distinguish them from late eighteenth century work.

The founder of the dynasty Jean Beurdeley (1772-1853) was a Burgundian craftsman conscripted into the Napoleonic army. After hostilities ended in 1815 he settled in Paris opening a shop for curiosités and working as a latter day marchand mercier. Initially based on the rue Saint-Honoré, in 1840 Beurdeley moved to the famous Hanover Pavilion situated on the corner of rue Louis-Legrand and boulevard des Italiens, and the business was run by his only surviving son, Louis-Auguste-Alfred (1808-1882). This successful business, which had numerous official commissions including in 1853 the marriage coffer for the Empress Eugénie, was continued by Louis’ son, Alfred-Emmanuel-Louis (1847-1919).

The business continued in its traditional style with very few variations until 1895. Alfred, along with the most famous artists of the period, took part in the 1878 Paris Exposition Universelle where he won the gold medal. Following on from this glory, he went on to open a shop in New York.

His participation in the 1883 Amsterdam Universal Exhibition drew even further attention to his work, and possibly as a result he was awarded the Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur, France’s highest official mark of recognition.

The incredible quality of each generation’s work ranked the firm of Beurdeley as pre-eminent amongst Parisian makers of meubles de luxe.

Ledoux – Lebard, Denise. Les Ébénistes du XIXe siècle, Les Editions de L’Amateur, (Paris), 1984; pp. 75-82.

Mestdagh, Camille & Lécoules, Pierre. L’Ameublement d’Art Français, 1850-1900, Les Editions de L’Amateur, (Paris), 2010; pp.262-276.

Meyer, Jonathan. Great Exhibitions – London, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, 1851-1900, Antique Collectors’ Club, (Woodbridge, UK), 1984 ; pps. 175, 247, 269, 270, 290, 298.


Pierre Lecoules Collection, Paris.


A detail of the front of this secretaire is illustrated in in C. Mestdagh, L’Ameublement d’art français 1850-1900, Les éditions de l’Amateur, Paris, 2010, p. 33, fig. 23.

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