An Important Gilt-Bronze, Mahogany and Bois Satiné Centre Table
An Important and Rare Gilt-Bronze, Mahogany and Bois Satiné Centre Table, with Campan Rubané marble top. By François Linke. Paris. Linke Index Number...
DimensionsHeight: 76 cm (30 in)
Diameter: 100 cm (40 in)
An Important and Rare Gilt-Bronze, Mahogany and Bois Satiné Centre Table, with Campan Rubané marble top. By François Linke. Paris.
Linke Index Number 1103.
The reverse of the gilt-bronze mounts stamped ‘LINKE’ and ‘FL’ and variously numbered.
The circular top inset with a Campan Rubané
marble slab within a moulded edge gilt-bronze surround. The frieze is ornately mounted with a gilt-bronze strapwork frame around a central rocaille cartouche. The slender cabriole legs are headed by scallop shells filled with delicately modelled carol and seaweed. The legs terminate it hairy lion paw feet. The stretcher is surmounted by a spirally fluted flaming urn.
Recalling the triumphant architectural style favoured during the Régence period this centre table is a revival piece designed with characteristic gusto by the master ébéniste of the Belle Epoque, François Linke.
The precious marble top is Campan Rubané, quarried in the Campan valley of the High Pyrenees region of France. Campan Rubané marble was used for fireplaces and wall-panels in Louis XIV’s apartments at Versailles, and therefore complements perfectly this Régence style centre table.
This centre table is index number 1103 in François Linke’s inventory and recorded to have been made three times. Two tables are recorded to feature a cherub, known as ‘l’enfant guerrier’, to the stretcher, and one example with a flaming vase, such as featured to the present table and therefore identifying it as a unique example.
Christopher Payne notes that the gilding for such tables was tasked to Maury and the cabinetry to Schmit aided by Sebestik who dedicated over 500 hours of work to their production.
France, Circa 1900.
Mahogany and Gilt-Bronze
The reverse of the gilt-bronze mounts stamped 'LINKE' and 'FL' and variously numbered.
François Linke (1855 – 1946) was the most important Parisian cabinet maker of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and possibly the most sought after cabinet maker of his period.
He was born in 1855 in the small village of Pankraz, in what is now the Czech Republic. Records show that Linke served an apprenticeship with the master cabinetmaker Neumann, then in 1875 at the age of 20 he arrived in Paris where he lived until he died in 1946.
It is known that the fledgling Linke workshops were active in Paris in the Faubourg St. Antoine as early as 1881, and during this time he supplied furniture for other more established makers such as Jansen and Krieger.
The quality of Linke’s craftsmanship was unsurpassed by any of his contemporaries and reached its peak with his spectacular stand at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900, where his Grand Bureau took the gold medal. He gambled his fortune and reputation on this stand, exhibiting several breathtaking items of furniture with sculptural mounts of the most exceptional quality and proportion. His gamble worked and his reputation was established to such an extent that Linke continued to be the pre-eminent furniture house in Paris until the Second World War.
As the Art Journal reported in 1900 on Linke’s stand:
‘The work of M. Linke … was an example of what can be done by seeking inspiration amongst the classic examples of Louis XV and XVI without in any great sense copying these great works. M. Linke’s work was original in the true sense of the word, and as such commended itself to the intelligent seeker after the really artistic things of the Exhibition. Wonderful talent was employed in producing the magnificent pieces of furniture displayed….’
The formation of Linke’s distinctive style was made possible by his collaboration with the sculptor Léon Messagé. Together Linke and Messagé designed furniture for Linke’s 1900 exhibition stand, with exuberant allegorical figures cast in high relief, that exemplified Linke’s ability to seamlessly merge the different mediums of wood carving, bronze and marquetry into a dynamic unified whole.
Today Linke is best known for the exceptionally high quality of his work, as well as his individualism and inventiveness. All of his work has the finest, most lavish mounts, very often applied to comparatively simple carcasses. The technical brilliance of his work and the artistic change that it represented were never to be repeated.
Payne, Christopher. François Linke, (1855 – 1946), The Belle Époque of French Furniture, Antique Collectors’ Club, (Woodbridge, UK), 2003.
Meyer, Jonathan. Great Exhibitions – London, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, 1851-1900, Antique Collectors’ Club, (Woodbridge, UK), 2006; pp. 298 – 300.
Ledoux – Lebard, Denise. Les Ébénistes du XIXe siècle, Les Editions de l’Amateur, (Paris), 1984; pp. 439-43.
Revue Artistique & Industrielle, (Paris), July-August 1900.
Coral Thomsen, D. (ed), The Paris Exhibition 1900, The Art Journal, 1901; p.341.
Christopher Payne, François Linke: The Belle Epoque of French Furniture, Woodbridge, 2003, p. 241, pl. 257.