The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Table
  • Etienne Levasseur (1721 - 1798)
  • Etienne Levasseur (1721 - 1798)
  • France
  • c. 1787
  • 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
  • Stamp: ‘E ◊ Levasseur’
  • F319
  • West Room
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This small table is decorated with gilt-bronze mounts of the utmost delicacy, providing a perfect foil to its hardstone 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 the use of honeysuckle and palmette ornament derived from the capitals of the Erechtheion in Athens, show clearly how architects and designers looked to Greek and Roman architecture for inspiration in the last two decades before the French Revolution.
    During the same period, the fashion for hardstone objects reached its zenith in France. 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. However, it is likely that the porphyry top was added at a later date and although some form of hardstone is likely, it is not know exactly what would have been the original top.