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Interior Image, Napoleon Chairs. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2013.

LONDON.- Christie’s presents the private collection of the celebrated international decorator and interior designer Brian Juhos at auction on 1 May 2013. A renowned tastemaker, Juhos’ signature style is an integral part of many sophisticated interiors around the world. Comprising 500 lots, his personal collection includes Old Master, Impressionist and sporting paintings, European furniture and works of art, blue and white porcelain, sculpture, garden furniture and decorative objects. Notable highlights include a set of six Empire white-painted parcel-gilt chairs from the Château de Fontainebleau, attributed to Pierre-Antoine Bellangé, circa 1810, which were almost certainly commissioned for Napoleon I (estimate: £6,000-9,000) and the Louis XVI commode à l’Anglaise, circa 1780 by Jean-Jacques Pafrat, formerly in the collection of Sir Richard Wallace, the majority of whose collection forms London’s world renowned Wallace Collection (estimate £20,000-30,000). The sale will provide bidding opportunities for collectors at every level, with estimates for individual lots ranging from £500 to £40,000. The sale will be on public view from 27 to 30 April 2013 at Christie’s South Kensington, 85 Old Brompton Road, prior to the auction. 

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A set of six Empire white-painted parcel-gilt chaises from the Château de Fontainebleau, attributed to Pierre-Antoine Bellangé, circa 1810 (lot 220 estimate: £6,000-9,000). Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2013.

EMPIRE CHAIRS FROM NAPOLEON I’s PALACE. The auction includes a notable set of six Empire white-painted parcel-gilt chaises from the Château de Fontainebleau, attributed to Pierre-Antoine Bellangé, circa 1810 (lot 220 estimate: £6,000-9,000). These chairs bear inventory marks of the Château de Fontainebleau and were almost certainly commissioned as part of Napoleon I’s restoration of Fontainbleau. Napoleon is depicted seated in a chair, apparently from the same set as these chairs, in Paul Delaroche’s famous painting of the 1814 abdication. Pierre-Antoine Bellangé was one of the most important fournisseurs to the court of the Emperor, supplying furniture to imperial palaces including Fontainbleau, Saint Cloud and the Tuileries. 

Covered in blue silk, five with the inventory brand from the Château de Fontainebleau (three fleur-de-lys frame within an oval and surmounted by a crown and 'FON') and stencilled with C2079 and each with individual stencil number C724-C728, two with stencil C726, one with inventory stencil twice, three with stencil TF in monogram, restorations, redecorated; 36 in. (92 cm.) high; 19 in. (48 cm.) wide; 20 in. (51 cm.) deep (6).

These chairs bear inventory marks for the Château de Fontainbleau and were almost certainly commissioned as part of Napoleon I's restoration of the palace. In Paul Delaroche's famous painting of Napoleon's abdication in March 1814, Napoleon is depicted at the Château de Fontainbleau seated in a gilt chair of exactly this model. Further markings to the chairs suggest that they passed back to the crown following the restoration of the monarchy and may have subsequently been moved to the Château de Compiègne. A closely related suite of stamped seat furniture by Belangé was recorded in the 1832 inventory of the château and remains in the collection there today, see S. Cordier Op. Cit. p. 417/PAB 26.

Pierre-Antoine Bellangé (1758-1827), maître in 1788, was one of the most important fournisseurs to the court of Emperor Napoleon I, supplying important suites of mobilier for many of the Imperial palaces, including Château Saint Cloud and the Tuileries. Following the Restoration of the monarchy demand continued for his stylistically bold work and he was made ébéniste breveté du Garde-Meuble de la Couronne. In 1821 his work was praised for "La qualité, la richesse et la grâce des objets debénisterie" while one of his most important commissions from that period was for the château de Saint-Ouen of for the Comtesse de Cayla, maîtresse en titre of Louis XVIII.

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 A Louis XVI ormolu-mounted ebony-banded commode à l’Anglaise by Jean-Jacques Pafrat, circa 1780 (lot 150, estimate £20,000-30,000).  Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2013.

SIR RICHARD WALLACE’S COMMODE. Another important highlight is the grand Louis XVI ormolu-mounted commode à l’Anglaise by Jean-Jacques Pafrat circa 1780 (lot 150, estimate £20,000-30,000), which is believed to have been part of the Parisian collection of the great 19th century art collector Sir Richard Wallace (1818-1890). The contents of Wallace’s French homes were dispersed in the opening years of the 20th century, and his London collections were bequeathed to the British nation and remain one of the greatest collections of French decorative arts in existence. Jean-Jacques Pafrat (d.1793), trained under the celebrated ébéniste Martin Carlin (1730-1785) and is known to have supplied furniture to notable patrons such as the Duc d’Orléans for the Château de Raincy. Despite Pafrat’s reliance on the nobility for patronage, he was a revolutionary and took part in the storming of the Bastille in 1789; it was his political activism which drew his promising career to an early close, when he was killed while supporting the revolutionary forces in 1793. The sale of this commode provides a remarkable opportunity for the discerning connoisseur.

The shaped Carrara-marble top with three-quarter gallery above a foliate-mounted frieze with a drawer flanked by spring-loaded drawers, above two drawers sans traverse, flanked by Carrara marble-lined galleried shelves on toupie feet, stamped four times to the reverse 'J.PAFRAT', cracks and losses to the marble, some re-mounting and restorations; 35 in. (89 cm.) high; 51½ in. (131 cm.) wide; 22 in. (56 cm.) deep 

Provenance: Almost certainly:
The collection of Captain Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford, at either the Château de Bagatelle, Bois de Boulogne or his apartment on the rue Lafitte, Paris and by descent to
Sir Richard Wallace 1st Bt., and by descent to his wife,
Lady Julie Wallace, by whom bequeathed to
Sir John Murray Scott, by whom bequeathed to
Victoria, Lady Sackville, by whom sold to
Jacques Seligmann, Parisian Art Dealer
Anonymous sale from a Westchester private collection, Parke Bernet, New-York, 13 May 1950, lot 154
The collection of Rene Fribourg, Sotheby's New York, 28 June 1963, lot 201

Jean Jacques Pafrat (d. 1793) maître 1785.

Jean-Jacques Pafrat is known to have worked under the celebrated ébéniste Martin Carlin (1730-1785) and to have completed a number of pieces of furniture by Carlin on the latter's death. The stamps of both ébénistesappear on a table à déjeuner in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London (see: O. Brackett, Catalogue of the Jones Collection, Part I - Furniture, London, 1930, no. 44). From his workshop on the rue de Charonne, Paris, Pafrat is known to have supplied many significant pieces to notable patrons such as a secretaire with a commode en suite for the apartments of the Duc d'Orléans at the Château de Raincy, circa 1785. These were confiscated in 1793 and are now at Versailles (illustrated A. Pradère, French Furniture Makers, London, 1989, p. 423, nos. 522 and 523). Pafrat is known to have participated in the storming of the bastille and it was his political leanings which drew his promising career to a premature conclusion when he was killed whilst supporting the revolutionary forces.

This commode is typical of Pafrat's oeuvre with its masculine interpretation of the neoclassicism of the late Louis XVI period. It employs ebony borders set in contrast with rich mahogany and ormolu decorations as often used by this ébéniste, see P. Arrizzoli-Clementel Versailles Furniture of the Royal Palace, vol 2, Dijon, 2002 pp.119-120-121. The same pattern of frieze-mount, decorated with ivy and vine leaves, can be seen on a commode by François Leleu in the Petit Trianon, and again in a commode by Claude-Charles Saunier in the Palais de Fontainebleau. A further example of Pafrat's work exhibiting this mount, as well as closely relatedsans traverse drawer-treatment with ebony border, was sold, Sotheby's, London, 14th June 1968, Lot 129. Jacques Robiquet suggests in his work Gouthire, sa vie, son oeuvre : essai de catalogue raisonné ( Paris, 1912), that based on the evidence of the commode in the Petit Trianon, this design of frieze mount could be attributed to Pierre Gouthière.

The Provenance
The present commode can be identified with some certainty in the 1912 inventory of the apartment in the rue Lafitte from the following description, 'Meuble d'entre deux a cotés cintrés formant étagère en acajou bois noir et bronze - époque Louis XVI dessus de marbre blanc - prisé 20 000 francs' and can be related to the Mahogany and ebony chest-of-drawers by J. Pafrat, sold from the collection of a Westchester private collector, Parke Bernet, New-York, 13 May 1950, Lot 154. (P. Hughes, The Wallace Collection Catalogue of Furniture, London , 1991, vol III, p. 1542 ). This inventory was carried out on the death of Sir John Murray Scott indicates by the high value given to the piece how significant it was considered to be.
Captain Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford, (1800-70), spent much of his life in Paris where he was brought up by his mother who had moved to Paris in 1802 following her estrangement from his father (later the 3rd Marquess of Hertford) in 1802. Upon the death of the 3rd Marquess the he inherited a vast art collection to which he continued to add, particularly following his purchase the Château de Bagatelle in the Bois de Boulogne. Despite his nationality, title and English estates the 4th Marquess would live out most of his life in his apartment on the rue Lafitte, Paris, as one of the richest men in Europe. Upon the his death in 1870 all of his unentailed wealth passed to his un-acknowledged illegitimate son, Sir Richard Wallace Bt., (1818-90) who inherited not only his father's vast French collections but the Château de Bagatelle and his apartment in the rue Laffitte. Wallace, also, a renowned collector, would continue to add to one of the most significant collections of European decorative arts ever assembled. Wallace died in 1890 leaving all his property to his wife, Lady Wallace (1818-97), and it was upon her death that the collection at Hertford House was left to the nation and Hertford House was opened to the public. The remaining collection at rue Laffitte and at the Château de Bagatelle, which also contained many exceptional works of art, were bequeathed to her secretary, Sir John Murray Scott Bt., (1847-1912) and upon his death, he left the collection at the rue Laffitte apartment to his friend Lady Sackville who sold the collection in its entirely to a Parisian dealer in 1914, Jacques Seligman. It was works of art from this part of the collection, such as this splendid commode, formed by the Marquess of Hertford, which would find their way in to great twentieth-century collections around the world.

A related console dessert by Pafrat, of the same outline and with very similar pierced gallery was sold Christie's, Paris, 23 June 2005, lot 471 (96,000 Euros incl.). 

BRIAN JUHOS. Brian Juhos's personal collection displays the eclecticism and taste for the sumptuous that has been the hallmark of his style as a decorator. Describing his interiors as 'uniting great comfort and colour with a sensuous combination of materials, furniture and objects', he merges the traditional with the theatrical to create both a sense of opulence and a perfect context for furniture, pictures and objets d'art, by the skilful use of colour and lighting. Juhos has always been drawn to the clean elegance of neoclassicism; this is reflected in his collection where he employs Swedish 18th century furniture and Empire works of art in striking contrast to pale walls as a foil for his collection of paintings. His career began in London over thirty-five years ago with one of his important early commissions being the redecoration of twelve rooms at the National Portrait Gallery. Since then he has used his unquestionable skill and inimitable eye, on a broad portfolio of high profile projects, which have extended from large country houses and Royal palaces to compact city apartments and public institutions, both in the United Kingdom and internationally.