Each molded frame with shaped back and bowed seat, raised on fluted tapering legs, each stamped I.B. SENE twice to the seat rails, the seat frames each with paper label inscribed in ink Le Contrôleur Général à Versailles Chambre à Couchée No. 132 and pencil inscription Chatard
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Lot Essay

Jean Baptiste Claude Sené, maître in 1769.

This pair of marquises was almost certainly part of the sets of seat furniture delivered by the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne in 1786 for the Contrôleur Général des Finances Charles de Calonne (1734-1802), in the Hôtel du Contrôle Général des Finances in Versailles. Two sets were delivered that year, one by Boulard and the other by Sené. Interestingly, both sets were decorated by Louis-François Chatard, whose signature can be found on the present marquises.

Charles-Alexandre de Calonne (1734-1802) was a powerful Minister of Finance for Louis XVI between 1783 and 1787 and an active art collector and patron of some of the most celebrated artists of the time, including Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun. Calonne’s most important action as minister as finance was the attempt to reform the French tax system that would have involved introducing a land value-based tax, and effectively taxing the nobility, selling Church property, and abolishing domestic customs, among others. Although first supported by Louis XVI, Calonne was eventually dismissed by the king and went into exile in Lorraine. He spent the revolutionary years in Flanders where he worked on the restoration of the monarchy. In 1802 he settled in London but was eventually allowed to return to France where he died shortly after.

Louis-François Chatard (c. 1749-1819) was one of the leading craftsmen of his day who worked extensively with Séne for his commissions for Versailles and other royal chateaux. Chatard's skill and finesse as a painter-gilder made him a highly sought-after decorator and between 1784 and 1789 he seems to enjoy a virtual monopoly on pieces destined for the royal family. Other pieces of seating furniture by Sené and decorated by Chatard for use in royal residences include a voyeuse sold Christie's, Paris, 30 November 2016, lot 1 (€128,500) a bout de pied, see Christie's, Paris, 26 November 2005, lot 201, and a set of four fauteuils, see Christie's, New York, 20 April 2018, lot 12, among others.
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