Antique Louis XV Bonheur Du Jour Sevres Plaques c.1880
Antique Louis XV Bonheur Du Jour Sevres Plaques c.1880
Antique Louis XV Bonheur Du Jour Sevres Plaques c.1880
Antique Louis XV Bonheur Du Jour Sevres Plaques c.1880
Antique Louis XV Bonheur Du Jour Sevres Plaques c.1880
Antique Louis XV Bonheur Du Jour Sevres Plaques c.1880
Antique Louis XV Bonheur Du Jour Sevres Plaques c.1880
Antique Louis XV Bonheur Du Jour Sevres Plaques c.1880
Antique Louis XV Bonheur Du Jour Sevres Plaques c.1880
Antique Louis XV Bonheur Du Jour Sevres Plaques c.1880

Antique Louis XV Bonheur Du Jour Sevres Plaques c.1880

c. 1880 France

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This is a gorgeous Louis XV style, kingwood Bonheur Du Jour, or Ladies writing desk, with Sevres porcelain plaques, circa 1880 in date.

The superstructure comprises a pair of cupboard doors which open to reveal a beautifully finished rosewood interior with a shelf. Below the doors there are two drawers, one of which has a compartmented interior.

There is a full width frieze drawer which is fitted with a writing slide that slides back to reveal a compartmented rosewood interior. The slide has it's original velvet inset writing surface.

The desk is beautifully decorated with ormolu mounts and hand painted Sevres porcelain plaques which feature cherubs as well as a pair of birds.

The desk graciously stands on slim cabriole legs and is complete with working locks and original keys.

This is an example of superb quality and design.

Condition:

In excellent condition, please see photos for confirmation.


Dimensions in cm:

Height 92 x Width 56 x Depth 54

Dimensions in inches:

Height 36.2 x Width 22.0 x Depth 21.3
Kingwood
is a classic furniture wood, almost exclusively used for inlays on very fine furniture. Occasionally it is used in the solid for small items and turned work, including parts of billiard cues, e.g., those made by John Parris. It is brownish-purple with many fine darker stripes and occasional irregular swirls. Occasionally it contains pale streaks of a similar colour to sapwood.

The wood is very dense and hard and can be brought to a spectacular finish. it turns well but due to its density and hardness can be difficult to work with hand tools. It also has a tendency to blunt the tools due to its abrasive properties.


Bonheur du jour
(in French, bonheur-du-jour, meaning "daytime delight") is a type of lady's writing desk. It was introduced in Paris by one of the interior decorators and purveyors of fashionable novelties called marchands-merciers about 1760, and speedily became intensely fashionable.

The bonheur du jour is always very light and graceful, with a decorated back, since it often did not stand against the wall but was moved about the room. Its special characteristic is a raised back, which may form a little cabinet or a nest of drawers, or open shelves, which might be closed with atambour may simply be fitted with a mirror. The top, often surrounded with a chased and gilded bronze gallery, serves for placing small ornaments. Beneath the writing surface there is usually a single drawer, often neatly fitted for toiletries or writing supplies.

Early examples were raised on slender cabriole legs; under the influence of neoclassicism, examples made after about 1775 had straight, tapering legs. The marchand-mercier Simon-Philippe Poirierhad had the idea of mounting bonheurs du jour with specially-made plaques of Sèvres porcelainthat that he commissioned and for which he had a monopoly; the earliest Sèvres-mounted bonheur du jours are datable from the marks under their plaques to 1766-67. The choicer examples of the time are inlaid with marquetry or panels of Oriental lacquer, banded with exotic woods, with gilt-bronze mounts.

By the mid-1770s the bonheur du jour was being made in London, where it was simply called a "lady's writing-desk".



Sevres Porcelain
traces its roots in France to early craftsmen who had small manufacturing operations in such places as Lille, Rouen. St. Cloud, and most notably Chantilly. It is from Chantilly that a cadre of workers migrated to the Chateau de Vincennes near Paris to form a larger porcelain manufactory in 1738.

French King Louis XV, perhaps inspired by his rumoured relationship with mistress Madame de Pompadour, took an intense interest in porcelain and moved the operation in 1756 to even larger quarters in the Paris suburb of Sevres. Sevres was also conveniently near the home of Madame de Pompadour and the King's own Palace at Versailles.
From the outset the king's clear aim was to produce Sevres Porcelain that surpassed the established Saxony works of Meissen and Dresden. Though the French lacked an ample supply of kaolin, a required ingredient for hard-paste porcelain (pate dure), their soft-paste porcelain (pate tendre) was fired at a lower temperature and was thus compatible with a wider variety of colours and glazes that in many cases were also richer and more vivid. Unglazed white Sevres Porcelain "biscuit" figurines were also a great success. However, soft-paste Sevres Porcelain was more easily broken. Therefore, early pieces of Sevres Porcelain that remain intact have become rare indeed.

The Sevres Porcelain manufactory always seemed to be in dire financial straits despite the incredibly fine works it produced. In fact, the king's insistence that only the finest items be created may have contributed to the difficulties. Only a limited number of European nobility could afford the extravagant prices demanded for such works. King Louis XV and eventually his heir, the ill-fated Louis XVI, were obliged to invest heavily in the enterprise. Ultimately, the Sevres Porcelain Factory produced items under the name of "Royal" and thus the well-known Sevres mark was born. King Louis XV even mandated laws that severely restricted other porcelain production in France so as to retain a near monopoly for his Sevres Porcelain. The king even willingly became chief salesman for the finest of his products, hosting an annual New Year's Day showing for French nobility in his private quarters at Versailles. He eagerly circulated among potential buyers, pitching the merits of ownership and policing the occasional light-fingered guest.
Sevres Porcelain may have indeed given the makers of Meissen and Dresden a run for their money by the end of the 18th Century but for the French Revolution. By 1800, the Sevres Porcelain Works were practically out of business due to the economic devastation of the new French Republic.

About the time when Napoleon Bonaparte named himself Emperor of France (1804), a new director was named for the Sevres Porcelain Manufactory. Alexandre Brongniart, highly educated in many fields, resurrected Sevres Porcelain. Soft-paste porcelain was eliminated altogether thanks to the earlier discovery of kaolin near Limoges. For four decades until his death, Brongniart presided over monumental progress for Sevres Porcelain, catering not only to Napoleon himself, but at last to include the more financially profitable mid-priced market in the emerging middle class.

Ormolu

(from French 'or moulu', signifying ground or pounded gold) is an 18th-century English term for applying finely ground, high-carat gold in a mercury amalgam to an object of bronze.The mercury is driven off in a kiln leaving behind a gold-coloured veneer known as 'gilt bronze'.

The manufacture of true ormolu employs a process known as mercury-gilding or fire-gilding, in which a solution of nitrate of mercury is applied to a piece of copper, brass, or bronze, followed by the application of an amalgam of gold and mercury. The item was then exposed to extreme heat until the mercury burned off and the gold remained, adhered to the metal object.

No true ormolu was produced in France after around 1830 because legislation had outlawed the use of mercury. Therefore, other techniques were used instead but nothing surpasses the original mercury-firing ormolu method for sheer beauty and richness of colour. Electroplating is the most common modern technique. Ormolu techniques are essentially the same as those used on silver, to produce silver-gilt (also known as vermeil).



Our reference: 05939
Stock Code
05939
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