Desk from the Regency period "Desk of the Dionysiac Procession" attributed to Noël Gérard, (1685-1736), Paris, circa 1725.
A “Certificate of Authenticity” will be given to the buyer regarding the era of the desk.
The wood and bronzes have been subjected to scientific analysis by CIRAM.
Full file upon request.
Source: Mr. & Mrs. Prouvost's collection
This rare Regency desk represents the Dionysiac procession or Thiasus. In Greek mythology, the thiasus is the group of creatures that accompany and serve Dionysus (Bacchus). This group is composed of satyrs and maenads (Bacchantes).
Our desk is adorned with ten bronze designs, in addition to the drawer framing nets and the protective strips on the tray and feet. These motifs are distributed all along the belt: Two busts of the god Dionysus (Bacchus) and two busts of Maenads (Bacchantes) at the top of the feet. Two busts of Boreas blowing in the middle of the short sides, heads of Satyr adorn the middle of the long sides. These very graceful bronzes and finely carved engravings recall the work of Noël Gérard.
Material: Fir frame, walnut drawers; rosewood and violet wood veneer, gilded bronze, leather.
Dimensions: H 78 cm (30 ¾in.), L 180 cm (71 in.), D 100 cm (39 ½ in.)
Flat desk with rectangular tray covered with rosewood and violet wood, opening with three large drawers, rests on four curved legs. The large tray, rectangular but recessed at the central drawer, is covered with a morocco black color with an embossed edge. It is surrounded by an ingot mold, whose angles are marked by staples adorned with a cartridge centered on an ove and held by a ribbon from which two oak leaves escape. The belt is covered with a rosewood leaf veneer in violet wood frames. It opens from the front with three large drawers. The central one, set back, is underlined by a gilt bronze molding perfectly rectilinear and is adorned with a very beautiful gilt bronze keyhole entrance representing two sphynges leaning against a lamp-base.
Lateral drawers in front of the previous one have a sinuous lower edge along which runs a gilt bronze rod. The movable handles or hands are formed by two intertwined serpents held by a leafed floret. Lock entries inspired by the motif of corner staples are concealed by a cartridge supported on two volutes of oak leaves. The inner edge of each of these two drawers is adorned with a beautiful applique of a bearded man crowned in gilded bronze representing Boreas, the god of the wind. His upward-looking head seems to be supported by a carved cartridge of rosette braces. The sides of the desk, with the same coating of rosewood and violet, are perfectly vertical but their lower sinous edge draws in the middle a sort of bowl that seems to support the beautiful gilt bronze applique that adorns the ribs. It represents a satyr's head with its bearded and mustached man's head whose hair is adorned with vine leaves and bouquets of straw.
The desk rests on four steep-sided legs edged with a gilded bronze rod and capped with angular falls, also in gilded bronze, alternately illustrating two Dionysus and two Maenads with vine branches in the hair. They are shod with foliated scrolls.
Two sphinxes leaned and leaning on a molding in C, facing each other and sitting on a small console. In Greek mythology, sphinxes are monsters that have a female bust on a lion's body. Here the sphinx bust represents an espagnolette with a turned head. Espagnolette are part of the specific ornaments of the Regency era. They are inspired by the characters of Comedia del Arte drawn by Antoine Watteau. This model of lock entry is present on many Noël Gérard and Estienne Doirat furniture as well as dressers signed by other cabinetmakers who subcontracted furniture and then affixed their stamp. The dresser of the Carnavalet museum bearing the stamp of Migeon is attributed to Doirat by Sophie Mouquin in her monograph on Migeon.
Noël Gérard worked as a cabinetmaker. In addition to the lock entrance, the dresser has several other bronzes that are found on many of these pieces of furniture. It is probable, however, that he did not contravene the regulations of the corporations by having his bronzes made for his furniture carved in his house. In fact, reported in the inventory is a state of goods established between Olivier de Rouvray and Louis Regnard, both master engravers in Paris residing at rue des Arcis, by which Rouvray and Regnard have admitted to have in their hands belonging to Gérard all fires, clocks, candelabra feet, and others that they would have had to repair and chisel at best for the price brought to this state.
No element allows us to establish with certainty the identity of the designer. The examination of the bronzes allows us to think of the vocabulary used by Noël Gérard, but we also find similarities with Etienne Doirat.
Noël Gerard particularly used the bust of the god Boreas in his furniture such as the dresser of Noël Gérard (1685-1736) attributed to the deposit of the Louvre Museum at the Palace of Versailles, 1937 (payment of the National Furniture at the Louvre Museum, 1901) contrary of his contemporaries who used it in cartels or groups of bronzes such as:
The Cartel with console and enameled dial. Base with a head of Boreas under two dragons by Cressent Charles (1685-1768) Chantilly museum of Condé or the group of bronze "Abduction of Orythyuia by Boreas" Chateau de Versailles and Chateau de Trianon.
We also find the hooves in volute foliage on a desk bearing the NG stamp, the initials of the cabinetmaker (sale of 12/14/2016, Pierre bergere -Drouot).
The heads of Satyrs remind us of the work of Andre Charles Boulle. The work of Noël Gérard is adorned with bronzes that he founded in his workshops, some of which are similar to André-Charles Boulle's models, which is not surprising when we know that he acquired upon the death of the latter all his stock of bronzes.