Exceptional 18th, 19th and 20th Century French Furniture
Repair & Restoration Gallery
Fred Woodall Repair Service
Maison Millet was established by Théodore Millet in 1853, and operated until 1902 from premises at 11, Rue Jacques-Coeur, Paris before relocating to 23, Boulevard Beaumarchais. Maison Millet was a highly regarded furniture firm that was described as producing ‘meuble et bronze d'art, genre ancien et moderne.' The company won several awards in the series of exhibitions in London and Paris, such as the gold medal in the 1889 Paris Exposition Universelle, a Grand Prix in 1900 and three further diplomes d'honneur and four médailles d'or for the furniture they produced. The firm specialized in the Louis XV and XVI styles, though they were acclaimed by their contemporaries for working in their own modern style. In March 1902, the firm was authorized by the Palais de Versailles to replicate Marie-Antoinette's celebrated Grand cabinet à bijoux. An auction was held in 1906 clearing the remaining stock and the firm finally ceased trading in 1918. Maison Millet was an active client of François Linke.
19th Century Louis XVI style Solid Mahogany & Bird's eye Mahogany veneer Secrétaire à cylinder stamped Millet à Paris.
Tambour damaged. Removal of wax and polish. After a 18th Century cylinder desk done by Jean-Henri Riesener
now at the Louvre in Paris.
Rare Bos de Violette & mahogany Bonheur-du-jour by Théodore Millet. Exquisite ormolu mounts of the highest quality designed by Léon Messagé. Stamped twice “Millet a Paris”. Mounts stamped six times “LM”. This piece won the Gold medal at the 1889 Paris Exposition Universelle.
Louis XVI Style ormolu-mounted mahogany, parquetry and Vernis Martin Vitrine by Millet circa 1880.
Exquisite ormolu mountings, or sculpture, were a characteristic of the finest late 19th century furniture, and Léon Messagé's prowess at their design and application was unrivalled. Adopting the asymmetry of rocaille popularised in the 1720s by Parisian designers such as J.-A. Meissonnier, Messagé excelled in creating lively, high-relief allegorical figures and groups linked by delicate organic frames of bronze doré. Honoured by the gold medal awarded to himself and Zwiener for the present cabinet at the Paris exhibition the previous year, in 1890 Messagé published his Cahier des Dessins et Croquis Style Louis XV, in which a total of thirty-six designs, ranging from furniture to table objects to silverware, were made available to the public. It is while providing sculptural designs for Zwiener's more exuberant furniture that Messagé appears to have come into contact for the first time with François Linke, with whose association he is best remembered. In most cases Messagé retained the rights to his own models, allowing him to adapt them for any purpose. Hence one sees identical Messagé mounts appearing on the furniture of various different ébénistes. The best illustration of this practice, and, furthermore, one which conclusively identifies the connection between Zwiener, Messagé and Linke, is a rare photograph of Messagé's studio showing the completed model for Linke's Grand Régulateur (see Christie's, New York, 25 October 2007, lot 407) together with a photo of the present cabinet visible on the wall to the side (see Payne, op. cit., p. 74). Each piece features a hammer-wielding putto, which although differing to fit its respective carcase, clearly derives from the same design.