A Rare and Important Napoléon III Gilt-Bronze and Sèvres Style Porcelain-Mounted Mahogany and Lemon Wood Bonheur Du Jour
A Rare and Important Napoléon III Gilt-Bronze and Sèvres Style Porcelain-Mounted Mahogany and Lemon Wood Bonheur Du Jour, Attributed to Édouard Kreisser,...
DimensionsHeight: 146 cm (58 in)
Width: 118 cm (47 in)
Depth: 66 cm (26 in)
A Rare and Important Napoléon III Gilt-Bronze and Sèvres Style Porcelain-Mounted Mahogany and Lemon Wood Bonheur Du Jour, Attributed to Édouard Kreisser, Paris, Circa 1855
This magnificent bonheur du jour has a cabinet superstructure above a desk base with central pullout frieze drawer fitted with a writing slide. The precious timbers are mounted with finely cast and chased gilt-bronzes and some twenty-eight Sèvres style porcelain plaques. The top of the cabinet has a central raised socle for displaying a vase, bust or object. The three cupboard doors are framed with large Sèvres style plaques: the central door with an oval plaque with an Rococo fête galante of the marriage proposal; the flanking doors with shepherdesses. The sides of the cabinet and the top of the desk with porcelain plaques en suite. The central frieze drawer with a ribbon-tied lambrequin frame enclosing a three scene porcelain plaque fronting the pullout writing slide, flanked to each side by a drawer. On four fluted tapering legs headed with ionic capitals and joined by a platform stretcher with concave from beneath a central entablature or socle.
France, circa 1855.
This bonheur du jour can be firmly attributed to Édouard Kreisser. Listed and illustrated as a work by Édouard Kreisser in Christopher Payne’s seminal book on nineteenth century furniture ‘Paris Furniture, the luxury market of the 19th century’ this firm attribution is based upon comparison to signed pieces. Most notably this bonheur du jour incorporates the same distinctive design of lambrequin framed drawer and tapering fluted legs with ionic capitals as the famous table in the V&A Museum London which was commissioned by Queen Victoria as a Christmas present for Prince Albert in 1855. These elements also feature to a Sèvres style porcelain-mounted table illustrated by Payne in Paris Furniture, page 408.
Édouard Kreisser (fl. 1843-1863), established his firm in Paris at 30 rue Neuve-du-Luxembourg in 1843, moving three times, finally to the prestigious rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honore in 1862. This last address in a fashionable retail district was probably a showroom rather than a workshop, and reflected the patronage Kreisser received from both the French and English Royal families. In 1844 King Louis Philippe purchased “un dessus de baignoire” set with Sèvres plaques, for 2,000 francs. The following year a jardiniere was purchased for the rooms of the duc d’Aumale at the Tuileries (1,000 Francs). In 1846 the duc de Montpensier complimented Kreisser that he was was very satisfied with “l’exécution des objets d’art qu’il lui avait commandés”. The firm was granted Royal Appointment to “sar la reine des Francais, fournisseur des Princes et de la famille Royale”.
Kreisser exhibited in the Exposition des produits de l’industrie francaise in 1844 and again at the 1855 Exposition universelle which was France’s answer to the British success of the Great Exhibition, which had been held in the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, in 1851. In 1855 Queen Victoria visited the Paris Exhibition with the Prince Consort, to underline the new relationship with France under the Second Empire. The Royal couple stayed at Saint-Cloud as guests of Napoléon III and developed a warm relationship with the Imperial family, especially the Queen and the Empress Eugenié. On her return to London, Queen Victoria ordered from Kreisser, a table with marquetry, porcelain plaques and gilded and silvered bronze mounts, costing 2,500 francs as a Christmas present for Prince Albert in 1855. The porcelain plaque to the front carries their joint monogram ‘VA’ and is today in the collection of the V&A Museum, London (W.9-1964). Queen Victoria also purchased a porcelain-mounted side cabinet by Kreisser for 8,000 francs. It is also in the Louis XVI revival style and decorated with sixty Sèvres style porcelain plaques, which the Queen gave to her husband on his birthday, 26 August 1856, and remains in the Royal Collection at Osborne House (RCIN 1448).
At the 1855 exhibition Kreisser showed “des porcelaines avec montures de bronze doré, entre autres un trés beau bureau et une table avec peintures sur porcelain” (J. Cherbuliez, Promenades dans l’exposition universelle de 1855, Paris, p. 74). Published on 24 October 1855 the newspaper La Presse on a visit to the 1855 Exhibition records a crowed gathered to admire the stand of M. Kreisser, whose workshops will be occupied fulfilling an order for “la reine d’Angleterre”. The pieces being made for Queen Victoria will, together with other commissions for a most notable mansion in Ireland, first be shown at the shop of M. Kreisser at 52, rue Basse-du-Rempart. The article praises M. Kreisser as a true artist, having drawn and made himself all the objects, and with astonishing skill, mixing wood, bronze, porcelain, paint and all the richness of art. The manufacture of one piece, a bonheur, is complimented for the application of bronze and “porcelaines en pâte”.
Kreisser settled a 10,000 fr. claim over ownership of models with the bronze maker Victor Paillard in 1852. By 1861 Kreisser was still advertising as “fournisseur de toutes les cours étrangères”, but a year later a small notification of an auction of “ameublements et meubles d’art de M. Kreisser” appears to represent the cessation of the firm.
Payne, Christopher, ‘Paris Furniture, the luxury market of the 19th century’, Éditions Monelle Hayot, Paris, pps. 408-409.
Jervis, Simon, ‘Art & Design in Europe & America’, Herbert Press, 1987, pps.94-95
Ledoux-Lebard, Denise, ‘Les Ebenistes du XIX Siecle’, Paris, 1984. pps 395-6
De Bellaigue, Geoffrey, ‘Victoria buys French in 1855’, ‘Antique Collector’, April 1975.
Payne, Christopher, ‘Paris Furniture, the luxury market of the 19th century’, Éditions Monelle Hayot, Paris, p. 409 (illustrated).