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Style Napoleon III / Ref.10700

TAHAN Manufactory and Julien-Nicolas RIVART (1802-1867) - Jewelry box with a decoration in porcelain marquetry

Width: 13'' ⅜  34cm
Height: 6'' ¼  16cm
Depth: 11''   28cm

Between 1850 and 1867.
Engraved « TAHAN »

Rosewoods, brass, porcelain marquetry. In very good condition.

This charming case is decorated with Julien-Nicolas Rivart 's porcelain flowers, which liveliness is enhanced by its curved and counter-curved shape. It was realized by Tahan , "prince of small cabinetmaking", as a journalist from the Palais de Cristal enjoyed to call him at the World's Fair of 1851 in London. At this very same exhibition, Tahan was displaying several pieces of furniture decorated by Rivart, including cases and "small furniture items for ladies' use", a trade that was the house's specialty since its origin.

Rivart is the inventor of the porcelain marquetry technique, a unique process, searched for a long time and patented in 1849, he was the only one to master. This skillful artist achieved a synthesis between the Florentine hard stone marquetry and the decoration of porcelain slabs from 18th century. He can hence combine the lightness of marquetry and its sophisticated contrasts effects, with the charm of painting on porcelain. The thinnest details are realized in painted resin. The marquetry invented by Rivart enables these sophisticated hues to contrast directly with the wood, and prevents to hide the veins and the cabinetmaker's beautiful work. For that reason, at the World's Fairs of 1851, 1855 and 1867, this technique is described as "a delicious process", "yet more beautiful than beautiful", and receives the Emperor Napoleon III's congratulations.

We have here a fine example of these rare decorations with a bouquet of roses and wild flowers, detaching on a rosewood background and framed by a lace of chiseled brass. The porcelain flowers, immortalizing the ephemeral freshness of nature, are particularly harmonious with beauty accessories.

The case we present here is thus a rare witness of Tahan 's favorable disposition towards the "Rivart process". Pierre-Lambert Tahan , Belgian cabinetmaker, set up a boutique in Paris, specialized in boxes manufacture shortly before 1806, in the Temple district. In 1844, he ceased all activity and left the direction of his shop to his son, Jean Pierre Tahan . The latter completely revolutionized the organization of the company by separating the manufactory and the store, installed at 32 Rue de la Paix, as early as 1849. A year later, it is already reported as "Supplier of the King and Princes". In 1855, he bears the title of "Supplier of the Emperor", a reference of the utmost importance, for at that time, the Court commissioned him a large range of furniture such as libraries, tables, pedestals and toilet boxes. Tahan will then participate in the great World's Fairs of his time. It is on the occasion of the World's Fair of 1855 in Paris that he presents an extraordinary aviary in walnut carved with foliage and flying birds.