The circular gadrooned and cross-banded top inlaid with a Japonisme scene depciting a bird drinking at a pool surrounded by plants and foliage, on a pierced tri-partite stand modelled as three winged sphynxes on claw feet, the top signed 'FDBte' and 'ALPH. GIROUX PARIS'
2914 in. (75 cm.) high; 1814 in. (46.5 cm.) diameter
This lot contains elephant ivory material and is offered with the benefit of being registered as ‘exempt’ in the UK in accordance with the UK Ivory Act. Please note that it is your responsibility to determine and satisfy the requirements of any applicable regulations relating to the export or import of any lot you purchase.
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Lot Essay

This impressive and ornate gueridon is illustrative of the innovative pictorial marquetry technique combining ivory, engraved brass and various woods designed and patented by Ferdinand Duvinage (1813-1876), director of the Parisian luxury goods store Maison Alphonse Giroux.

The Maison Alphonse Giroux was established in 1799 at 7, rue du Coq-Saint-Honoré, Paris by Francois-Simon-Alphonse Giroux (1775/6-1848). In 1838, the expanded business operated under the name of Giroux & Cie. The establishment enjoyed a particular period of prosperity under the direction of Alphonse-Gustave Giroux, the younger son of Alphonse ‘père’ Giroux, and in 1837 the firm was included in the Paris Almanach under the heading Ébénistes à Paris. Specialising in luxurious objects and elegant furniture with an emphasis on remarkable richness in materials, the firm attracted fashionable patrons such the young Charles Baudelaire who referred to the establishment as ‘l’universel magasin de Giroux’. (D. Kisluk-Grosheide, 'Maison Giroux and its 'Oriental’ Marquetry Technique’, The Journal of The Furniture History Society, vol. XXXV, 1999, p. 149)

In 1857, the business relocated to 43, boulevard des Capucines, where it remained until 1867, when it was taken over by Duvinage and Harinckouk, although continued to operate under the name Maison Giroux. In 1874 Ferdinand Duvinage became the sole proprietor of the business.

On 6th May of that same year, Duvinage submitted the first patent application for a new marquetry technique consisting of 'the combined union of ivory as base, wood, tinted or exotic, for designs or ornaments, and copper of other metal for partitioning the fragments of ivory'. Two additional patent applications were made in February and November 1876, where amendments were made to incorporate the use of boxwood in imitation of ivory and enriching the decoration with further inlay depicting birds, animals, foliage and exotic fruits.
Following Duvinage's death in December 1876, his widow Rosalie took out a patent on 4 June 1877, which stipulated further amendments to the original inlay technique to include the use of additional materials, such as mother-of-pearl in the marquetry.

This new marquetry technique was used in the manufacture of all manner objets d’art by the Maison, including trays, tazze, jardinières and table tops. The majority are in the Japonisme style, depicting exotic birds, bamboo and prunus borrowed from Far Eastern sources including Canton porcelain and Meiji metalwork.
These exquisite ornamental objects are first recorded to have been shown at the 1878 Exposition universelle in Paris. Almost always marked and etched FD and Bté (short for ‘breveté’ or patent) they were likely created only between 1877, when the patent was granted, and 1882 when Madame Duvinage ceded her directorship of the firm (IBID. pp.154 & 162).

The marquetry decoration of the present lot can be found in further examples such as in the Detroit Institute of Arts (acc. no. 1993.82), which is mounted with a silvered rim and supported by three silvered cranes; one in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (inv. 997. 117. 1) a further example in the Victoria and Albert Museum (acc. No. W. 6: 1,2-2011) and lastly a marquetry panel in the Metropolitan Museum, New York (acc. No. 1995.102) see illustrated. Although none incorporate such an elaborate ormolu and silvered-bronze base as can be seen here in the present lot.

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