A Very Fine French Louis XV Style Ormolu Mounted and Vernis Martin Vitrine.
France, Circa 1880
The side doors with ormolu mounts and marquetry inlay. The front glazed Vernis Martin panel with a glazed window below a Lion of Hercules Mask. The interior with a mirrored back and two glass shelves. On cabriolet legs with bronze sabots. Signed F. Linke on right clasp.
Francois Linke (1855-1946) was undoubtedly the most celebrated Parisian cabinet-maker of his time, The quality of Linke’s craftsmanship was unsurpassed by any of his contemporaries and reached its peak with his spectacular stand at the Paris Exhibition Universelle in 1900, where his Grand Bureau took a gold medal. He gambled his fortune and reputation on this stand, exhibiting several breathtaking items of furniture with sculptural mounts of the most exceptional quality and proportion. His gamble worked and his reputation was established to such an extent that Linke continued to be the pre-eminent house in Paris until the Second World War.
The items Linke exhibited in 1900 marked a transition from the historicist interpretation of Louis XV and Louis XVI styles, an interpretation that was the main stay of his nearest rivals, to something startlingly new and vital in its immediacy. Together with the sculptor Léon Messagé he developed a style that, whilst paying homage to the Louis XV style in the fluidity of its approach, was infused with the lively flowing lines of the ‘art nouveau’.
In 1904, he was made officier de l’Instruction publique, and in 1905 he was called to be a member of the Jury of the Liège exhibition. Following his stands in the Saint-Louis exhibition in 1904 and the Liège exhibition in 1905, he was decorated with the highest distinction of France, the Croix de La Légion d’honneur in 1906