Henry Dasson

An Important pair of Napoleon III Secrétaires Abbatants, After Jean-Francois Dubut

France, Circa 1880.


An Important Pair of Napoleon III Gilt-Bronze Mounted, Marquetry Inlaid Secrétaires Abbatants, by Henry Dasson, After the Model by Jean-Francois Dubut. Stamped...


Height: 119 cm (47 in)
Width: 60 cm (24 in)
Depth: 29 cm (12 in)
REF NO : B75640


An Important Pair of Napoleon III Gilt-Bronze Mounted, Marquetry Inlaid Secrétaires Abbatants, by Henry Dasson, After the Model by Jean-Francois Dubut.

Stamped to the reverse of the bronze mounts ‘HD’

Each secrétaire is of violin shape with a rectangular ‘rouge Griotte’ marble top above a spreading pediment and shaped sides, the angles mounted with fine gilt-bronze acanthus-cast clasps, the upper section with a fall front inlaid with floral end grain marquetry, opening to a fitted interior with a leather writing slide, an open compartment and five drawers; the lower section with a similarly embellished cupboard door opening to an interior fitted with a single shelf; raised on fronded acanthus cast scrolled feet.

This remarkable pair of Louis XV style secrétaires are based on the celebrated model by Jean-François Dubut (maître in 1760), and formerly in the Hillgdon Collection. Illustrated in P. Kjellberg, “Le Meubles français du XVIIIe siècle”, Paris, Éditions de l’Amateur, 2008, p.6 and 327.

Embodying the flowing natural curves characteristic of the Louis XV style they became a highly appreciated model in the 19th century, with important versions made by leading ébénistes of the day including Dasson, Monbro, Lexcellent and Sormani.

A comparative pair of 19th century examples, attributed to Sormani are in the Frick Collection, New York (1915.5.36); an example supplied in 1856 by Monbro Fils Ainé in the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle (FW.95); a pair stamped by Edward Holmes Baldock in the Jones Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum (1012A-1882). A further example, also by Henry Dasson, is illustrated in C.Mestdagh, “L’Ameublement d’art Français 1850-1900”, Les Editions de l’Amateur, Paris, 2010, p. 58, fig. 54.

French, Circa 1880.


Circa 1880.




Kingwood Gilt-Bronze


Stamped to the reverse of the bronze mounts 'HD'

Henry Dasson

Henry Dasson (1825-1896) was one of the finest makers of gilt-bronze mounted furniture in the nineteenth century. Unlike other cabinetmakers of this time Dasson started his career as a bronze sculptor, and for this reason one of the characteristics of his work is the great quality of his bronze and more precisely of the chiselling.

With a workshop established in Paris at 106 rue Vieille-du-Temple, he specialised predominantly in the production of Louis XIV, XV and XVI style furniture using the very finest gilt-bronze mounts.

In 1871, he purchased the flourishing business and remaining stock of Charles-Guillaume Winckelsen, who had established a reputation for furniture of the highest quality. Dasson almost certainly inherited the craft of ciseleur from Winckelsen.

At the 1878 and 1889 Paris Expositions Universelles Dasson exhibited a number of pieces in the Louis XV and XVI styles, as well as pieces of his own modified eighteenth-century design. The exhibits in 1878 included a table entirely in gilt-bronze, purchased by Lord Dudley. His copy of the celebrated Bureau du Roi sold at the same exhibition to Lady Ashburton.

Dasson ceased production in 1894, and at this time held a sale of his models, listed in Catalogues of drawings for art bronzes, style furniture and important decoration with rights of reproduction by Henry Dasson et Cie, manufacturer of art bronzes and cabinetmaker as a result of cessation of production..’ The records from this sale show that Paul Sormani, as well as Joseph Emmanuel Zweiner, Maison Millet and Beurdeley acquired certain drawings and models by Dasson.

Jonathan Meyer illustrates a number of exceptional items exhibited by Dasson in 1889 in his book on the Great Exhibitions.

Mestdagh, Camille & Lécoules, Pierre. L’Ameublement d’art français : 1850-1900, Les Editions de l’Amateur, (Paris), 2010.

Ledoux-Lebard, Denise. Les Ebénistes du XIXeme siècle, Les Editions de l’Amateur, (Paris), 1984; pp. 146 – 151.0

Meyer, Jonathan. ‘Great Exhibitions – London, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, 1851-1900′, Antique Collectors’ Club, (Woodbridge, UK), 2006; p. 269, pls. H7, H8, H10: p. 270, pl, H12.

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