Leitizia Bonaparte’s French Empire Mahogany and Gilt Bronze Mirror and Jewellery Cabinet


A mahogany cheval mirror and jewellery cabinet, (or cartonnier), the veneered semi circular topped mirror framed by columns topped with gilt bronze cassoletes and single arm candle holders.

The bottom section is fronted by two doors which open to reveal nine shallow leather cartonniers and six jewellery drawers; the whole carcass richly decorated with gilt bronze friezes and various classical motives.  Similar gilded bronze mounts are found on various pieces of furniture in the collection of the Louvre Paris.

This rare museum worthy piece of furniture came from the Chateau Du Pont Sur Seine which was furnished entirely by S.A.L.  The piece is not stamped but the quality of the mahogany and the amount of  finely chiseled and burnished gilt bronze mounts plus the presence of the cartonnier and jewellery drawers almost certainly point to a royal provenance and which almost certainly came workshop of Georges Jacob.

The Chateau De Pont Sur Seine was originally built in 1632 and hosted such important historical figures as Catherine de Medicis and Cardinal Richelieu.  In the late 17C it was acquired by the Duc de Saxony, one of Louis XVI’s uncles whose family maintained ownership until 1792 until the start of the French Revolution when they had to vacate to escape the guillotine.  While it suffered damage by the revolutionairies it was still very habitable and in 1805, Napoleon purchased the chateau for his mother Madame Letizia Bonaparte where she resided until  Napoleon’s fall from grace in 1814.  Madame Mere was permitted to borrow furniture and other object d’art from Imperial collections and it is almost certain that this mirror was one such piece.  After Madame Mere fled the chateau, it was taken over by  the victorious Prussian Prince De Wurtemberg and after having pillaged and plundered a lot of the chateau’s lavish furnishings and objet d’art ordered his troops to burn it down.  The chateau lay in ruins until 1820 when it was acquired by a French Industrialist Casimir Perier who reconstructed it to its original splendor and where he resided with his family.  Towards the end of the 19thC the Duke’s son added various major extensions to the Chateau as it stands today.  The mirror came from the estate of Duc D’Audiffret Pasquier.

Dimensions: 67″ ( 170 cm) H x 34″ ( 86 cm) W

Ref. DR PR30988