Chippendale Mahogany Metamorphic Library Steps

£12,500.00

Circa 1775

George III Period Mahogany Metamorphic Library Stool/Steps by Meschain and Herve.

Price inc. VAT: £12,500-00p.

Height:22”, 56 cms, Open:35.5”, 90 cms   Width:25”, 63.5cms, Open: 43”, 109 cms     Depth:18.5, ”, 47 cms.

 

No: 11052

A superb and extremely rare George III Period Mahogany Metamorphic Library Stool/Steps by Meschain and Herve, the rectangular top opening to reveal two flights of steps, one hinged and lowering to the floor, the other hinged and rising on an easel support, in all six steps, the mahogany frieze raised on square section chamfered legs. On the top of the lower flight there is an inlaid panel of boxwood originally inscribed “Meschain & Hervé Fecit, No 32, John Street, Tottenham Court Road”, now rubbed but retaining the original name and address.

Francois Hervé was a Frenchman living and working in London during the last quarter of the 18th. Century. He appears to have been in partnership with another Frenchman, a Cabinet and Chair maker by the name of John Meschain who supplied a set of chairs to Shelburne House in 1769. His premises at 32 John Street were taken over by Hervé in 1781. They appeared to have worked together during the 1770s as several sets of folding library steps inscribed with their names either on wooden or brass plaques exist.  Hervé worked for a number of fashionable patrons including the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Bedford, Earl Spencer and the Duke of Devonshire for whom he supplied several suites of seating furniture at Chatsworth.

A design for library steps was patented in 1774 by Robert Campbell and later featured in Thomas Sheraton’s The Cabinet-maker and Upholsterer’s Drawing Book, Third Edition, London, 1802, plate V. According to Sheraton, the ‘design was taken from steps that have been made by Mr. Campbell, Upholsterer to the Prince of Wales. They were first made for the King…’.
However it was Francois Hervé who appears to have made a speciality of this pattern of library steps, working in partnership with John Meschain at 32 John Street, London. Hervé is listed as a cabinet -maker and chair-maker and fulfilled important commissions for the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Devonshire and Earl Spencer, working in an elegant ‘Anglo-French’ style, his furniture often painted. Several sets of steps are signed by Hervé and Meschain, while others are identified by a wooden insert  A set of  steps by Hervé is in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, museum no. W.7-1932

.
A related set of steps was sold anonymously Christie’s, London, 19 November 2009, lot 19 (£27,500 including premium).

Literature: Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture 1700 – 1840, Christopher Gilbert, Furniture History Society, 1996,  Pages 34 & 40, Illustrations: Plates 185-188, 493/4 and 628-632.

The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterers Drawing-Book, Thomas Sheraton, 1793 plate 185, and Third Edition 1802, Appendix, pp 9-11, plate 9 and pp 42/43 plate 22

Circa 1775

Price inc. VAT: £12,500-00p.

Height:22”, 56 cms, Open:35.5”, 90 cms   Width:25”, 63.5cms, Open: 43”, 109 cms     Depth:18.5, ”, 47 cms.

Delivery in the UK mainland is included in the marked price.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Enjoy our latest acquisitions and news from the world of antiques and claim your FREE digital copy of our latest book, ’65 Knot out!’

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest