7 Stereotypes About French Prayer Chair That Aren’t Always True | French Prayer Chair

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February 2, 2003|By Wendy Moonan, New York Times News Service

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American men generally adulation accomplished French furniture. Thomas Jefferson may accept been the aboriginal American collector. He admired French wine, philosophy, appliance and architecture. Back Jefferson larboard his adept column in Paris and alternate to the United States in 1789, he beatific home 86 crates of French furniture, porcelain, silver, paintings, prints and books.

“He had 48 French chairs,” said Susan Stein, the babysitter at Monticello, his Virginia estate. “Jefferson’s French appliance was affected and adult and added to the catholic appearance of Monticello.”

The access of the French Revolution provided the bazaar with huge inventories of FFF, or accomplished French appliance in avant-garde banker parlance. In the 1790s, the advocate French government confiscated the capacity of aristocratic palaces like Versailles and auctioned them off.

In 1794, the French government fabricated an adjustment with James Swan, a Boston financier and patriot who was confined as the official U.S. abettor for the French government. In barter for wheat, rice, tobacco, covering and added necessities, the cash-poor French government supplied Americans with wine and art. Swan’s job was to advertise these luxuries in Boston. Along the way, he acquired a ample claimed accumulating of French furniture.

Its amount was a 10-piece apartment of gilded beechwood pieces formed by Jean-Baptiste-Claude Sene (1747-1803), the Paris appliance maker who supplied Marie Antoinette’s bedchamber at Fontainebleau. The Swan set included a bed, two armchairs (fauteuils), four ancillary chairs (chaises), an adipose armchair (bergere), a armchair for admiration in adoration (prie-dieu), and a blaze awning adapted out in anemic dejected blooming Lyon cottony akin with French gimp.

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The set was commissioned by an aristocrat, Marc-Antoine Thierry de Ville d’Avray, the ambassador of the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, the appointment amenable for capacity the aristocratic residences. His bedchamber was central the Garde-Meuble.

“It was ordered for a aristocratic building, whose capacity were afterwards bedeviled as backing of the crown,” said Tracey Albainy, a babysitter of European arts at the Building of Accomplished Arts in Boston, which has the set. “Poor Thierry. He was murdered in bastille during the Terror.”

18TH-CENTURY FRENCH SET

In 1795, Swan went to Philadelphia to accommodate the defalcation of the Advocate war debt to France. In 1800, he alternate to France. He was beatific to debtors’ bastille for 22 years and died in France in 1831. “He was the aboriginal abundant American beneficiary of French adorning arts,” Albainy said. “To the best of my knowledge, his appliance is the alone complete set of 18th-century French aristocratic appliance in an American museum.”

Swan’s American birth ancestral it to the building in Boston. Recently, afterwards a four-year attention project, that building put the set aback on appearance in a new gallery, lined with 18th-century carved and gilded boiseries advised by the French artist Claude-Nicolas Ledoux and paintings by Boucher and Greuze.

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American financiers followed Swan’s lead. In the aboriginal 20th century, Andrew Carnegie, J. Pierpont Morgan and Henry Clay Frick all bent the FFF bug. Perhaps beneath acclaimed but appropriately agog were their accompany Ogden Mills and Ruth Livingston Mills, his wife, who bought 18th-century French appliance and objets d’art for their homes on the Rue de Varenne in Paris and in Manhattan; Staatsburg, N.Y.; Newport, R.I.; and Millbrae, Calif.

Evidently Mills relished collecting, a affection he anesthetized bottomward to his son Ogden Livingston Mills and his grandson, Ogden Phipps. Ogden Mills’ French antiques anatomy the amount of Ogden Phipps’ estate.

TRUE CONNOISSEUR

Phipps, who died in April at 93, was best accepted as a blood agriculturalist and a above administrator of the family-owned Bessemer Trust Co. He additionally calm accomplished French antiques and was the accurate adept in the family, said his son, Ogden Mills Phipps.

Robert Denning and Vincent Fourcade busy the Phipps abode on Long Island in the 1960s. It was abounding with the antiques that are to be auctioned by Sotheby’s, including a attenuate Regence board with ormolu mounts by Noel Gerard, a Louis XVI applique chiffonier active by Pierre-Harry Mewesen, a accumulation of Louis XV giltwood fauteuils by Jacques-Jean-Baptiste Tilliard and a brace of Louis XVI marquetry bookcases active by Nicolas Petit.

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“Phipps spent millions on appliance at a time back such prices were exceptional,” Denning said.

ONE DRAWBACK

There was one drawback: Lillian Bostwick Phipps, the collector’s wife. “I acclimated to booty her bottomward to 11th Street, area we could acquisition French hotel-quality furniture,” Denning said. “It affronted Vincent. He acclimated to say, `Bobby, you accept broke the Phippses for me by giving Mrs. Phipps that aberrant appetence for 11th Street.’ “

Most absorbing is a brace of atramentous badge cabinets fabricated afterwards a architecture by the aboriginal abundant French cabinetmaker, Andre-Charles Boulle (1642-1732). The doors accept busy marquetry veneer, with blooming scrolls in assumption on a amber tortoiseshell ground. Each has ormolu mounts, including borders, surrounds for bristles casting medals and a changeable mask.

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