Saturday, March 1, 2014

Her Majesty’s Furniture: A Neoclassical French Secretaire, 1815

Bernard Molitor, 1815
Oak, mahogany, ebony, lacquer,
gilt bronze, and marble.
Purchased by George IV, 1817.
One of a pair.
The Royal Collection
King George IV, like his mother, Queen Charlotte, had very particular tastes and a desire to own the finest possible objects and furnishings. Also like his mother, George IV, had an affinity for the designs of French artists and craftsmen. So, it’s no wonder that these magnificent secretaire by Bernard Molitor appealed to the young Prince Regent who was handling the empire while his father, King George III, was “indisposed” due to—shall we say—mental strain.

Molitor was known throughout France for his unyielding Neoclassical style furniture. His pieces were very highly regarded and his reputation led him to furnish the most important homes in France during a forty year period. This secretaire by Molitor of oak, mahogany, ebony, lacquer, gilt bronze, and marble is actually one of a matching pair which were purchased by the Prince Regent’s Clerk/Comptroller of the Kitchen and all-around chum/personal shopper, Jean-Baptiste Watier. George IV relied on Watier to make many purchases and trusted the man’s taste. These were among the items that George IV sent to his funhouse/palace, the 
Royal Pavilion at Brighton.

Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
via The Royal Collection Trust
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

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