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Ormolu and Patinated Bronze Empire Center Table or Guéridon, Circa 1805-1810, France, By Bernard Molitor

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    Posted 8 years ago

    (220 items)

    Orm0lu and Patinated Bronze Empire Center Table ( Guéridon ), Circa 1805-1810, France, By Bernard Molitor

    This one of a kind table was made by Bernard Molitor who made a lot of furniture for Napoléon Bonaparte. I think it may have been brought over to America when Napoleon's minister left France. It has the very old (almost ancient) brand marks dp for DuPont in 3 places, and a label under the marble, "collection of John E. DuPont." Molitor only made one of a kind pieces, unless the furniture being made were chairs or pairs (beds) I imagine.

    A small table supported by sculptural mythological figures, often with a circular-top. This kind of furniture dates from the 17th century and was created in France. The mythological figures that hold the guéridon were often modeled on ancient Egyptian and African human traditional characters. Guéridon tables have humble purposes, such as a high-style decorative piece of furniture, but also to hold a candlestick or vase.

    The 3 patinated bronze caryatids portray Vesta of Ancient Rome mythology. Vesta protected the ancient hearth fire which was not allowed to go out.

    I first seen the table in an old Sothebys catalogue and the sale was March 31, 1990. My heart sank when I seen it and I cut out the page it was on and put it on page one of a new Empire Furniture folder I had started. For 10 years I looked at this picture, wanting it so bad. It sold for a good price and I looked at the catalogue (bought 2 of them) very often, longing for it, the furniture in my folder were all pieces I had wanted and wished for. I never dreamed that one day I would own this one of a kind table. This shows that even if it is an important piece if you are determined, your chances are high !~

    Then I had seen the table again in a Sothebys catalogue being sold on the day the U.S. declared war on Iraq, March 20th, 2003. I had been hoping that Bush would declare war, as I had heard that on days when war is declared, the prices would probably go down at the auction. Sothebys did not know at the time that the table was made by Bernard Molitor. I was bidding by telephone and I was jubilant when I got the winning bid !

    I had the table soon and the magnificent bronze caryatid legs were splendid with the original patination intact. In the sun they appear to be almost a medium brownish green in appearance but darker in normal light or shade. The gilded ormolu griffins holding a wreath bronze appliques mounted on the mahogany appear to have been only used in french furniture by Bernard Molitor.

    The first time this table was seen late last century only the first owners who were probably the DuPont family had seen it and I believe it may have been sold the first time to Sothebys and then the second time to myself. It was obvious that Sothebys at the time had never seen the book on Bernard Molitor and actually knew little about Empire Furniture. The small urn between the caryatid columns is original to the table. At the time, especially during the 70's-80's, Sothebys believed that all the urns on center tables may have been added later, which I hope they know now that that was an error on their part. More and more people who validate furniture for even the big auction houses get it wrong these days, as younger people now are "experts" as times change and knowledge is forevermore lost !~

    Since this table was owned by the duPont family with the 3 almost ancient brand marks, I have spent hours trying to tell if it was owned by Napolian's duPont Minister who escaped to North American and was part of their guarded furniture on the boat but I have never seen any of that furniture pictured. I am not sure who (part of staff) worked on tagging or identifying furniture that was there.

    When the book (145.00) on Bernard Molitor finally came out (it was delayed) in early 2004 I was shocked to see the table in it. The book was by the esteemed expert on Molitor, Ulrich Leben. The book first came out in 1990, but the Rizzoli book came out in 2004.

    Sothebys at the time did not know much about Empire Furniture and their experts were nowhere in site when this center table was sold - either time. I look at this esteemed center table every day in complete awe !!~

    Note - There are several pics in my forum of photographs on this site of this table in my living room, not posted in this post, as there was no room.

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    1. pops52 pops52, 8 years ago
      Truly an amazing piece of furniture Phil! It's definitely in good hands!
    2. kyratango kyratango, 8 years ago
      In complete awe too :-)
      You desserve to win it! It is rare such combination of non knowing, no experts, no attribution on a beautiful published piece happens :-D
    3. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 8 years ago
      Thanks pops, I appreciate that comment.
    4. antiquerose antiquerose, 8 years ago
      Stunning, as I know you are giving it a good home. I can vouch for that !!
    5. fleafinder fleafinder, 8 years ago
    6. jscott0363 jscott0363, 8 years ago
      Wow, just absolutely incredible!! I'm so glad you got this and was able to share it on CW!
    7. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 8 years ago
      Thank you kyratango for the nice words, most appreciated.
    8. VioletOrange VioletOrange, 8 years ago
      Extraordinarily beautiful and in the right home.
    9. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 8 years ago
      Thank you antiquerose for the kind words, hugs.
    10. Recordmantime, 8 years ago
      Just lovely Phil,,,,,,,,,,,,,
    11. sklo42 sklo42, 8 years ago
      Both a beautiful table and a wonderful piece of history.....pleased you have it.
    12. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 8 years ago
      Thank you fleafinder for the nice comment.
    13. mcheconi mcheconi, 8 years ago
      What a find...I know the feeling...this is absolutely beautiful, I went to check the lamps post again, where it is also pictured.
    14. Manikin Manikin, 8 years ago
      Well this treasure was meant to be in your beautiful home and admired everyday . You have such exquisite taste . I love the legs xoxo
    15. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 8 years ago
      Thanks Brunswick indeed !
    16. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 8 years ago
      Thank you jscotto for the nice comment !
    17. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 8 years ago
      Thank you VioletOrange, love to you !
    18. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 8 years ago
      Thank you recordmantime.
    19. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 8 years ago
      Thank you mcheconi for the nice comment. Love to you and sklo42 for the loves.
    20. inky inky, 8 years ago
      Just the most wonderful in the best-est of hands for this part of it's history...well done...:-)
    21. Radegunder Radegunder, 8 years ago
      Beautiful, and what a story to go with it!!
    22. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 8 years ago
      Thank you Manikin for the heads up, love right back to you, xoxo
    23. OneGoodFind OneGoodFind, 8 years ago
      You certainly have a lovely and amazing collection. I appreciate your support with my newby questions and posts. So kind!
      But that face if it's yours is killing me !! ;) ;)
    24. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 8 years ago
      Thanks OGF, I appreciate your comments. The face is mine, one of my fave photos in my old modelling days. I soon found out almost right away that I wanted to be behind the camera, as a photographer. The photo appeared and was featured in the Aminus3 site "The Feeling of Blue"!!
    25. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 8 years ago
      Thank you sklo42 for the nice comment.
    26. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 8 years ago
      Thank you inky, much love to you !
    27. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 8 years ago
      Thank you Radegunder, you are most appreciated !~
    28. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 8 years ago
      Thank you OneGoodFind for the comment !~
    29. vetraio50 vetraio50, 7 years ago
      HAPPY NEW YEAR PHIL !!! ! !!!
    30. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 7 years ago
      Thanks vetraio50, the best to you !
    31. Mrstyndall Mrstyndall, 7 years ago
      Wow, what a history and a treasure that you have!! Beautiful!
    32. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 7 years ago
      Thank you Mrstyndall for the stop and nice comment !
    33. Windwalker, 6 years ago
      sweetttttttttttttttt...! piece Phil..
    34. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 6 years ago
      Thank you Windwalker, Sweet comment !~
    35. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 6 years ago
      Thank you kindly for the loves Radegunder - Windwalker - Brunswick - ho2cultcha - betweenthelens - Newfld - TheGateKeeper - Manikin - Mrstyndall - vintagelamp - Lamplover78 - Nicefice - valentino97 - bijoucaillouvintage - petey -
      melaniej - OneGoodFind - inky - freiheit - LovelyPat - mcheconi - sklo42 - Recordmantime - rniederman - Caperkid - blunderbuss2 - VioletOrange - fortapache - TassieDevil - vetraio50 - mikelv85 - NevadaBlades - aura - Efesgirl - fleafinder - antiquerose - pops52 - kyratango -
    36. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 6 years ago
      Thank you SummerBlues for the love !~
    37. Hoot60, 4 years ago
    38. Cisum Cisum, 3 years ago
      There it is..My table..I Wish! I Have Allways Loved This Phil!

    39. Rocky22222 Rocky22222, 3 years ago
      this is just a love piece of Empire...your place must look like a museum ...very cool.
    40. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 3 years ago
      Thanks Rocky, Cisum, and Hoot60 for the nice comments, much appreciated !~

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