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Befort Jeune

Cabinet-maker

(1816-c.1880)

attributed to

Important “Boulle” cabinet

France

Circa 1870

Height : 130,5 cm (51 1/3 in.) ; Width : 171 cm (67 1/3 in.) ; Depth : 48 cm (18 3/4 in.)

Opening with three front doors. Ebony veneer inlaid with a brass « Boulle » marquetry on tortoise-shell, inspired by Jean Bérain’s ornamentation studies. Adorned with ormolu mounts, such as masks, leafy lion claws and figural casts reprensenting Spring and Winter. Standing on six feet.

Biography

From 1844 to 1880, Mathieu Befort (1816-c.1880) also named Befort The Young worked as a « Boulle » style furniture craftsman at Neuve-Saint-Gilles Street in Paris.

André-Charles Boulle (1642-1732) is considered to be the true inventor of 17th century French furniture. Soon after he was discovered by Colbert, Boulle became the « first cabinet-maker of the king », his full title being « architect, painter, mosaic sculptor, engraver, marquetry craftsman, and inventor of figures». Thus started for him the beginning of a period of great renown. With his royal privilege, Boulle was able to combine different activities usually restricted by corporations. Henceforth he worked as a master tortoiseshell and bronze marquetry craftsman, with such innovations as motifs both in the foreground and in the background. He also innovated by making a generous use of bronze, to decorate but also to protect the pieces of furniture. These innovations brought him fame throughout centuries.

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