Important Pair of Classical Rosewood, Gilt-gesso, and Vert Antique Brass-inlaid Card Tables, Charles-Honore Lannuier, New York, c. 1815, each with a shaped hinged top with concave corners, the edges with brass inlaid stars, diamonds, and anthemions and ebonized molding above conformingly shaped friezes centering ormolu mounts depicting nymphs playing panpipes, on a carved gilt-gesso and vert antique caryatid winged female figure with braided hair and a star-banded waist continuing to a scrolled foliate support, the rear fluted columns with gilded acanthus leaves, all on a shaped platforms and dolphin feet, ht. 30 1/2, wd. 36, dp. 17 1/2 in.
Provenance: Marchese Guiseppe Paterno, Castello di San Guiliano; Sotheby's New York, April 29-May 1, 1981, Lot 1068; Collection of Richard and Gloria Manney; Leigh Keno American Antiques.
Note: Charles-Honore Lannuier was born in a small French town in 1779, and, as the turbulent aftermath of the French Revolution raged, he left for New York in early 1803, seeking financial opportunity and, ultimately, success. He was born into a family well-versed in fine furniture making: his brother and uncle were both established in the trade, and had Parisian clients. Despite that early exposure and inherited aptitude, it would have been difficult to anticipate the level of fame he would gain as a cabinetmaker in New York in the first two decades of the 19th century. Though he lived only 16 years after arriving in New York, he left a body of signed works larger than most, which captured widespread American recognition even in the shadow of his prolific contemporary Duncan Phyfe, and clearly illustrated his impressive aesthetic and artistic vision. Incorporating French Empire design elements, English decorative tendencies, and exhibiting a fascination for the contemporary French conquests of Egypt and Italy, Lannuier's output in America is decidedly European, but also stands as an important exemplar of the highest style of late Federal and Classical period American furniture. The present tables, utilizing one of Lannuier's favorite elements, winged caryatid supports, are two of a known group of nineteen card tables attributed to him, and are the only known pair with carved dolphin feet.
The painted, finished and gilt surfaces have been professionally restored, with no major replacements; minor veneer patching to apron and pedestals; partial replacements to some carved elements of the caryatids (tail on one, wingtip on another); some cracks to top filled and toned.
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