• Paris, c. 1725 
  • Oak and exotic woods (satinwood and amaranth) bronze 
  • Inv. 2221A/B

Pair of bookcases

Charles Cressent

Designed at the end of the Regénce, this pair of bookcases, by the famous cabinet-maker to the Duc de Orléans, is one of the most original and luxurious of Cressent’s production. Three doors open on the ample fronts, decorated with rich motifs in bronze. Separated by pilasters, surmounted by eight busts in bronze, the first four representing the four parts of the world, identified by the attributes with which they are crowned: Europe, a horse; Asia, an elephant; America, a feathered headdress; Africa, a unicorn. The four seasons of the year decorate the other: Winter, Autumn, Summer and Spring, symbolised respectively by the figure of an old man and three feminine busts: one is crowned with vine leaves and bunches of grapes, the other by full ears of corn and the last by blossoming flowers.

Cressent sale, 1749; Dournovo Collection; Kathchoubey Collection; Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg. Acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian from Mme Koenigsberg’s Gallery, Le Passé, Paris, 1933.

H. 164 cm; W. 272 cm; D. 42 cm

Verlet 1969

Pierre Verlet, Objets d’art français de la Collection Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbonne, 1969, s.p.

Pradère 1989

Alexandre Pradère, 'Meubles Français. La qualité qu’exigeait Gulbenkian', Connaissance des Arts, no. 446, April 1989, p. 48–61 (pp. 50–1).

Coutinho 1999

Maria Isabel Pereira Coutinho, 18th-Century French Furniture. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 1999, p. 103–7, no. 2.

Updated on 08 june 2022

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