The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Table
  • Possibly Adam Weisweiler (1744 - 1820)
  • France
  • c. 1790
  • Oak and sycamore veneered with mahogany pear wood, stained and unstained sycamore; porphyry, gilt bronze and brass
  • Object size: 83.8 x 83 x 46.5 cm
  • F319
  • West Room
Further Reading
  • This small table is decorated with gilt-bronze mounts of the utmost delicacy, providing a perfect foil to the deep red porphyry top. Its shape and decoration are all intended to evoke classical antiquity, with architecturally-inspired Ionic columns forming the legs and delicate friezes of winged putti, griffins and the attributes of Roman gods (a lyre for Apollo, a winged caduceus for Mercury) decorating the sides. These intricate, neoclassical mounts, including a use of honeysuckle and palmette ornament which anticipate Empire furniture, suggest a date of c. 1790 for its construction.
    The fashion for hardstone objects reached its zenith in France in the last two decades of the eighteenth century. Red porphyry was the most highly prized of these materials, and its combination here with exquisite gilt-bronze mounts makes this table into a luxurious piece of furniture suitable for the most fashionable of Parisian town-houses.
    The medallion head of Apollo in the centre of the front panel is close to that on the writing table stamped by Adam Weisweiler (1744-1820) and supplied by the dealer Dominique Daguerre (d. 1796) to Marie-Antoinette at Saint-Cloud in 1784. This is not, however, enough to confirm an attribution to Weisweiler whose gilt-bronze mounts were often commissioned by Daguerre.