Louis XV Style Kingwood Bureau de Dame by Alponse Giroux et Cie
This parquetry desk has the attributes one would expect when bearing the name to one of Paris leading retailers of objet deluxe. It is bombe...gently swelling and raised on cabriole legs. It is applied with oval porcelain panels which we have not dismounted but are to Sevres standard. It extensively mounted with bronze chutes sabots and moldings of various sorts. Including a bronze pierced plaque with the monogram of the owner. It is in a small way, highly evocative of 19th century Paris at its best.
This company flourished between the consulate and 1867 when it closed. It enjoyed Royal patronage and was certainly a leading supplier of luxury goods of the highest quality.
Maison Giroux, the famous curiosity and luxury goods shop, was situated at No. 7 rue du Coq-Saint-Honoré and in business from the time of the Consulate until the end of the Second Empire. The business was founded in 1799 by Francis Simon Alphonse Giroux, cabinetmaker and official restorer of Notre Dame. “Maison Alphonse Giroux” also known as “Giroux & Cie” specialized in producing ornate objects d’art and technically sophisticated furniture. Patronized by various members of the French Royal Family, including Louis XVIII, Charles X, Henri V, and Napoleon III, the design house was particularly known for fine ormolu, japanning/lacquer work and exquisite furniture.
When the business was taken over by his sons Alphonse and Andre in 1838, the business expanded under the guidance and innovative planning of Alphonse to become one of the first and most prestigious department stores in Paris, while continuing to take important commissions for custom work. Pieces made for the department store were marked “Maison Giroux,” while Alphonse Gustave Giroux signed commissioned pieces himself “Mon. Alph - Giroux Paris.”
Alphonse Giroux was fascinated with mechanics and new technology, receiving a silver medal at the 1839 Exposition des l’Industrie Francaise, and producing pieces for the World Exposition of 1855. After buying a writing desk at the 1855 Universal Exhibition, Napoleon III bought several other pieces of furniture, candelabras and clocks from Giroux for the Compiègne Palace. In 1857, Alphonse Giroux transferred his shop to No. 43, boulevard des Capucines where he continued to do business until 1867, when he ceded the company to Duvinage and Harinkouck.
Some of Giroux’s most unusual known creations are: a mechanical clock-work horse and carriage for the crown prince, an automaton of a violin player seated on a barrel and a lavishly detailed lifelike doll wearing a regal gown and crown of antique fabrics with seed pearls, presented at the 1867 Paris Universal Exposition to represent the glorious legacy of French Royalty.
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