Ref. 1570

E. Cornu

Designer & Sculptor
(attributed to)

Orientalist dressing table

Circa 1880

Darkened wood, gilt bronze, Algerian onyx
Height : 135 cm (53 in.) ; Width : 60 cm (23,6 in.) , Depth : 38 cm (15 in.)

A rare orientalist dressing table on four columns feet joined by a stretcher adorned with an enameled ceramic plaque in the oriental style, attributed to Vieillard and Caranza. The onyx top rests on richly chiseled open-work gilt bronze capitals and arches and support a mirror in its gilt bronze open-work frame in the oriental style.


Eugène Cornu (1827-1875) : this sculptor first worked as a designer and then director for the renowned company Tahan. He then worked closely with the “Compagnie des Marbres Onyx d’Algérie”, led by Gustave Viot, successor of Alphonse Pallu. They produced luxurious furniture and art objects, incorporating onyx marble and bronze, with sometimes enamel, a combination then considered as a novelty and become quickly highly prized among wealthy collectors. They both showed at the 1867 Universal Exhibition held in Paris a fine pair of onyx, bronze and enamel vases for which Cornu and Viot won the Gold Medal. Around 1873, Eugène Cornu became director of the Company, which took then the name of “Société des Onyx d’Algérie E. Cornu et Cie”.

Bordeaux knew at the beginning of the 19th century a great development of fine earthenware due to the establishment of a manufacture by David Johnston. Jules Vieillard took after in 1845 David Johnston’s company. His work was crucial to the industrial success of the Bacalan manufacture and also to the artistic quality, which was unanimously celebrated during the famous Universal Exhibitions. His earthenware even earned the generic name of « Vieillard ceramics ». In his last period, Jules Vieillard developed an exceptional Orientalism through his creations. In 1865, his sons Charles and Albert, took after the factory under the company name of « Manufacture Jules Vieillard et Cie », and produced a lot of various designed pieces, particularly decorated with birds and flowers. However, their printed decors were of quite poor quality. To solve that problem, they decided to renew the forms of the pieces, evolving towards fashionable decorative pieces, such as lamps, jardinieres and vases. As for the old-fashioned decoration, the artistic department worked hard under the direction of Amédée de Caranza newly arrived around 1875. This ceramist from Longwy, launched there in 1872 the famous eponymous enamels « Emaux de Longwy », renewing the ornemental vocabulary with his technique of partitioned enamel. His decorations mainly evoked the brilliance of Persian and Japanese objects. But, as Caranza left Longwy to Bordeaux, Longwy couldn’t keep  any longer its exclusivity. Caranza became then the manager of the Vieillard factory workshop in 1882, which knew thus a new momentum, until his departure a few years later, probably in 1885. The Vieillard factory closed down in 1895.

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