Style Other / Ref.11536
Maison SORMANI, Luxurious writing set in mahogany, ebony and ivory marquetry
Width: 16'' ⅛ 41cm
Height: 14'' ⅝ 37cm
Depth: 12'' ¼ 31cm
This luxurious writing set was made by the great Maison Sormani around 1875, as indicated by the calendar and the signature « Veuve P. Sormani & Fils, 10 r.Charlot PARIS ». Indeed, this signature is used between 1866, the year Paul Sormani died, and 1886, the year Paul-Charles Sormani took over the company on his own.
The Maison Sormani is considered one of the greatest luxury manufacture during the Second Empire and until the beginnings of the 20th century. One of the reasons to their success is that the Impress, Eugénie, used to decorate her palaces with the creations of the house.
The lattest was founded by Paul Sormani (1817-1866), who was born in Italy, but settled his shop in Paris as soon as 1847. He initially concentrated himself on small, fancy pieces, exploiting the techniques of marquetry and leatherwork, before specialising himself in the reproduction of ancient furniture often due to the greatest cabinetmakers of the 18th century, which could be found in particuler in the royal furniture store.
Paul Sormani entered all the World’s Fairs that punctuated the second half of the 19th century, wining twice a silver medal in 1855 and 1867, and once a bronze one in 1862. After his death in 1866,his wife and his son Paul-Charles (1848-1926) took over his activity under the corporate name « Sormani Veuve Paul et Fils » (meaning, « Sormani widow Paul and sons ») until 1886, when Paul-Charles became the only director.
The workshops of the 10, rue Charlot used to employ about a hundred of workers, amongst them leather craftsmen, goldsmiths, cabinetmakers, etc. and collaborated with famous artists, like the designer and cabinetmaker Edouard Lièvre (1828-1886) for some pieces of furniture.
The house’s success remains constant as testified by the participation to the World’s Fairs of 1878, 1883 and 1889, where it was awarded respectively a gold medal, the Diplôme d’honneur and the Grand Prix.
In 1914, Paul-Charles Sormani associated himself with Thiebault Frères, creating the Thiebault-Sormani firm settled at the 134, Boulevard Haussmann, and which production was characterised by high quality pieces in the Louis XV and Louis XVI styles. The firm closed in 1934.
Our writing set is characteristic of the luxuous production of marquetry of the Maison Sormani. With a sumptuous mahogany and ebony marquetry adorned with refined ivory patterns, the angled chest opens itself through two frontal doors, discovering plenty of small compartments with serrated edges where one was supposed to put the letters, paper and ink pot. The left door leaf is lined with electric blue velvet, and thought in order to welcome all the small tools with their ivory handles necessary to write a correspondence, such as a seal or a dip pen. Meanwhile, the right door leaf retains a calendar dating back from 1875, and a piece of paper on which some inscriptions are still legible. Underneath is a drawer locked with a key, allowing to keep the correspondences safe.
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