• Paris, 1785
  • Walnut gilded in gold leaf; Gobelins tapestry
  • Inv. 127

Firescreen

Jean-Baptiste Boulard

This firescreen, with its sober and elegant lines, is decorated in wood with repeated shells and pearls. Each foot, which features the same motif, is finished off with a stylised flower at the end.

The frame is lined with a tapestry made by the Gobelins Manufactory, also dating from the 18th century, which depicts the bath of Venus. Within a frame made up of architectural elements, featuring scrolls and foliage, the goddess is assisted by two cupids, one who helps her to dry herself after her bath and another who holds a mirror in which she can see her reflection. The upper part of the composition is completed by a tasselled drapery.

This piece is attributed to Jean-Baptiste Boulard, a master woodworker who created furniture for several royal palaces, including Compiègne, where this fireguard originates from (chambers of Louis XVI, bathroom). In creating it, he is believed to have collaborated with the sculptor Guérin and the painter Chatard under the guidance of the painter Jean Hauré. This fireguard was originally white and was only gilded at a later date.

Palaces of Compiègne and Fontainebleau (chambers of Louis XVI, bathroom); Neumann Collection. Acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian through Agnew at the sale Neumann Collection, Christie's, July 1939.

H. 107 cm; W. 64 cm; D. 45 cm

Verlet 1990

Pierre Verlet, Le Mobilier Royal Français, IV, meubles de la Couronne Conservés en Europe et aux États-Unis. Paris: Picard Éditeurs, 1990, pp. 156–7.

Coutinho 1999

Isabel Pereira Coutinho, 18th-Century French Furniture. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 1999, pp. 298–9, no. 37.

Condamy 2008

Laurent Condamy, Jean-Baptiste Boulard. Menuisier du roi. Dijon: Éditions Faton, 2008, p. 286–7.

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