A rare Louis XVI ormolu-mounted ebony and japanese black and gilt lacquer commode (meuble d'appui), circa 1765, stamped Carlin JME. Photo Sotheby's

with later Portor marble top, the frieze mounted with ormolu scrolling ribbon-tied rinceaux and large rosettes at the corners above two cupboard doors inset with ormolu-framed seventeenth-century Japanese lacquer panels depicting landscapes with figures and cranes opening to an amaranth and tulipwood interior featuring two slides and two drawers framing a coffre-fort, the concave sides inset with ormolu-framed seventeenth-century Japanese lacquer panels showing birds in landscapes, the front chamfered angles of the sides mounted with scrolling acanthus, the back ones mounted with ribbon-tied floral festoons, set on tapering feet mounted with ormolu acanthus; the back with metal placque with the letters DM or VM. 
Martin Carlin (c. 1730-1785), maître in 1766 
height 37 3/4 in.; 5 ft. 1 in.; depth 26 in. 96 cm; 155 cm; 66 cm; Estimate 600,000-800,000 USD - Lot Sold: 782,500 USD

PROVENANCE: By repute the duc de Talleyrand

Collection de la duchesse de ..., sold Palais Galliera, Paris, December 2, 1975, lot 135

M. Anthony Tannouri (Collection d'un Grand Amateur), sold Ader Picard Tajan, Paris, November 15, 1983, lot 45

LITERATURE: G. Wannenes, Le Mobilier Français du XVIIIe siècle, Milan, 1998, p. 287

NOTE: This form of cabinet, conceived in the goût grec style, is clearly inspired by the furniture designs by Louis-Joseph de Lorrain for Lalive de Jully. This architectural form was popularized by the ébéniste Jacques Dautriche (maître in 1765) between 1765 and 1770, see "Jacques Dautriche ébéniste sous Louis XV et Louis XVI," L'Estampille/L'Objet d'Art, July-August, 2001, in which the author Morgan Blaise refers to a group of twelve such cabinets by Dautriche. However, all of these cabinets are veneered and none are in known in lacquer.

Two similar commode-cabinets with Japanese lacquer by Joseph Baumhauer (died in 1772) are known. Each is of the same overall shape as this lot but with an arrangement of Japanese lacquer drawers in place of the double doors. The first, formerly in the Earl of Warwick's collection at Warwick Castle is illustrated Alexandre Pradère, French Furniture Makers, 1989, p. 241, fig. 247; the second is illustrated Thibaut Wolvesperges, Le Meuble en Laque au XVIIIe Siècle, 2000, p. 83, fig. 62.

Sotheby's. Property from the Collections of Lily & Edmond J. Safra -Volumes I-VI. New York, 18 Oct 2011 www.sothebys.com