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Antiques Considered - November 17, 2010

The mother of a lady from Connecticut, who settled in Lancaster County, acquired this Louis XVI table many years ago at an antique shop. The marble is brown with white and purplish streaks in it. The exposed wood is mahogany, and the finish is original, including the painted surfaces. The      ormolu has not been polished.


The table appears from the photograph to be a mid-century piece, dating to the period from the reign of Louis Philippe (1830 - 1818 ) through that of Napoleon III (1851 - 1870). Louis Philippe refused the title King of France, preferring to be King of the French. Louis Napoleon Bonaparte came to the Presidency of the Second Republic in 1848 after Louis Philippe was deposed. Three years later he transformed the Second Republic into the Second Empire with himself as Emperor.
In that last royalist phase of France’s history, the styles of previous eras became quite popular, particularly in the case of items in the Louis XVI motif. The age expressed great sympathy for the murdered king and his family. One way of manifesting that angst for the lost king was to replicate the styles prevalent, as is the overall design. The level of the workmanship is very high, indicating that the table probably came from a Parisian cabinet shop. French antiques have a significant market in the United States, although obviously not as great as that of British or American pieces.
This table is worth $750, assuming it is from the mid-nineteenth century. If it dates from the actual period of Louis XVI, the figure would be several times higher. Either way, it is a fine example of a sophisticated period of French cabinetry. The ormolu probably had a gilt finish originally, now long wipe daway, and I recommend against polishing the underlying  brass. In short, I suggest keeping the piece dusted, and away from the sunlight to preserve it in its present condition.
Happy Antiquing!

Lisa and Henry Hull operate Commonwealth Antiques and Appraisals, Inc. at 5150 Jessie DuPont Hwy. 22570. (P.O. 35). Wicomico Church, VA 22570. Write to them or e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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