A carved giltwood console









CIRCA 1765-1770 

Dimensions :

Height : 33 1/2 in.

Width : 56 3/4 in.

Depth : 28 3/4 in.


Provenance : Private Collection



Richly carved giltwood console in « à la grecque » style, rectangular shape,18th century, in the Antique taste. It is decorated with a large interlacing frieze on the belt and is highlighted by laurels garlands hanging holding by rings. Our console rests on four large fluted tapered legs enhanced by acanthus leaves and presents a molded Brocatelle du Jura marble top. With its sinuous form in belt, our piece of furniture is still influenced by the Louis XV style although its general line and ornaments are directly inspired from the Antiquity.


In the 1750s, the Antiquity becames the inspiration in the decorative arts from the second half of the 18th century thanks to the discovery of the excavations at Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy. The participants are the Marquis of Marigny (1727-1781), brother of Madame de Pompadour and Surintendant des Bâtiments du Roi, the architect Jacques-Germain Soufflot (1713-1780) and the designer Charles Nicolas Cochin (1715-1790).

The Louis XV style known as « Rocaille » is not fashionable. The symbol of this revival is the desk executed in 1757 by the cabinet-maker Joseph Baumhauer for the financial, Lalive de Jully, currently kept in Condé Museum, Chantilly. This desk as our console, by its straight lines and its strenght base is the evidence of the revolution in decorative arts.


The designer, architect and engraver Jean-Charles Delafosse (1734-1789) was a major actor of this style known as « retour à l’antique » whose we can considered our console was inspired by his drawings. So we find in our piece characteristics features from his production such as laurel garland hanging, powerful fluted columns and also this very straight and architectural type structure.

A plate by Jean-Charles Delafosse from the collection of plates « Les maîtres ornemanistes, dessinateurs, peintres, architectes, sculpteurs et graveurs : écoles française, italienne, allemande et des Pays-Bas » by Désiré Guilmard, Paris, E. Plon et Cie, 1881, plate 67 and highlights the precision of the line and the architectural aspect of Jean-Charles Delafosse what is found in the base of our console.

A drawing by Jean-Charles Delafosse depicting a pedestal draft, preserved in Musée des arts décoratifs in Paris, can be compared with our console by his straight and architectural structure, large flutes and hanging garlands.

Jean-Charles DELAFOSSE (1734-1789) :

Jean-Charles Delafosse was born in Paris in 1734 and began his career as an apprentice with the sculptor Jean-Baptiste Poulet, director of the Académie de Saint-Luc.

In 1767, he gave himself the title of architect and professor for the drawing and in 1775, the title of assistant professor of geometry and perspective at the Académie de Saint-Luc.

One year later, he published 108 plates which he engraved and gathered in ten notebooks inside a collection titled « Nouvelle iconologie historique ou attributs hiéroglyphiques qui ont pour objet les quatre Elémens, les quatre Saisons, les quatre parties du monde, et les différents complexions de l’homme… ».

Jean-Charles Delafosse completed his work including notebooks concerning interior decoration and decorative arts. So he reproduced models of pieces of furniture, seats, lights, vases and objects.

Between 1773 and 1785, he published in addition to independant pieces and a collection of orders of architecture, two others main collections. The first bears the title « Vingt-quatre différents cahiers de décoration, sculptures, orfèvreries et ornements divers » and complements his work and follows on from his « Iconologie Historique ».

The second consists of 134 plates focus mainly on the furniture.

Jean-Charles Delafosse was one of the main instigator of the « goût à la grecque» which is all the rage in Paris in the 1765s.



Bibliography :

Désiré GUILMARD, « Les maîtres ornemanistes, dessinateurs, peintres, architectes, sculpteurs et graveurs : écoles française, italienne, allemande et des Pays-Bas », Paris, E. Plon et Cie, 1881, plate 67.