Firescreen for Chateau de Tuilleries

Accession Number

Firescreen for Chateau de Tuilleries

Jacob-Desmalter and Company

Object Creation Date
circa 1804

Medium & Support
carved wood, silk fabric and glass

45 in. x 26 7/8 in. ( 114.3 cm x 68.2 cm )

Credit Line
Anonymous Gift

Label copy
The French eighteenThis firescreen, a panel of embroidered gold silk mounted in an ornately carved frame, represents a highly elaborate type popular in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Made by Napoleon’s chief furniture supplier, the illustrious firm of Jacob-Desmalter and Company, the Museum’s firescreen once stood in the Palace of the Tuileries in Paris. In 1803, Napoleon, eager to legitimize his rule and his presence in the French capitol, launched a major campaign to rennovate the royal palaces in and around Paris in trademark "Empire" style (1799–1815).
Created by the designers Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine (1762–1853) and Charles Percier (1764–1838) in close association with Napoleon, the Empire style reflects Napoleon’s dynastic aspirations. It is characterized by a mixture of antique forms and ornaments with such Napoleonic motifs as bees, large Ns in laurel wreaths, and eagles, along with "Égyptiennerie" devices like sphinxes and hieroglyphics, which acquired symbolic significance in light of Napoleon’s 1798 Egyptian campaign. While this firescreen does not possess such typical Napoleonic motifs, it is a clear example of the form lavishly decorated with antique motifs favored by Napoleon.
(C. McNamara, 18th-19th Century Gallery installation, early 1999)

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