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Work Two-door library cabinet

Department of Decorative Arts: 19th century

Lower section of a bookcase

© 1988 RMN / Daniel Arnaudet

Decorative Arts
19th century

Catherine Voiriot

Louis-Philippe I came to power after the Revolution of July 1830. In October 1831, the Orleans family definitively took up residence in the Château des Tuileries. The duke of Orleans had a taste for fashionable styles. He commissioned modern furniture for his apartments in 1832, including a library cabinet for the study. One of the elements of this cabinet is exhibited here. Its classical decoration of palmettes and foliage, in marquetry of light wood on dark, is noteworthy.

The Tuileries apartment of the duke of Orleans

The Duke of Orleans (1810–1843) preferred modern furniture to the historical furnishings then extant, and thus was given to patronage of the woodworking arts. His apartment was located on the ground floor of the Pavillon de Marsan in the Château des Tuileries. It was furnished twice, in 1832 and in 1837, at the time of his marriage. Only the formal reception rooms were appointed with historical furniture.

Georges-Alphonse Jacob-Desmalter (1799–1870)

In 1832, an important commission was awarded to the cabinetmaker Georges-Alphonse Jacob-Desmalter, son of François-Honore-Georges Jacob-Desmalter (1770–1841) and grandson of Georges Jacob (1739–1814). For the third salon he delivered a corner settee, two window settees, maple armchairs and chairs inlaid with purpleheart, along with a matching console and console-shelf; for the bedchamber, mahogany chairs, with "swan's necks" of gilt wood and copper rosettes along the apron; and for the study, furniture in Brazilian rosewood with inlaid holly (light-colored wood), matching a large library cabinet. These pieces of furniture show the coexistence of two types of marquetry: one, traditional, with dark inlay against a light ground; the other, innovative, in light on dark, which comes into its own after 1830.

A library floorplan at two right angles

Originally, the library cabinets designed by Jacob-Desmalter were to cover three walls of the room. The set comprised one element with three doors and two elements with two doors. This arrangement was modified several times. The Louvre curretnly holds two four-door, one three-door, and two two-door elements. The design of this piece of furniture is still very classical, library cabinets being edged simply with a base and a cornice, which places it within the Empire tradition.


D. Alcouffe, A. Dion-Tenenbaum, A. Lefébure, Le Mobilier du musée du Louvre, t. 1, 1993, Faton, Paris, p. 324
Anne Dion-Tenenbaum, Un ge d'or des arts décoratifs 1814-1848, catalogue d'exposition., Paris, 1991, p. 243, n 115
Anne Dion-Tenenbaum, Les Objets d'Art, le XIXe siècle. Guide du visiteur, 1999, Éditions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, pp. 37-38
Anne Dion-Tenenbaum, "Le sanctuaire du pavillon de Marsan", in Hervé Robert, Le mécénat du duc d'Orléans, catalogue exposition , Paris, Action artistique Ville de Paris, 1993, pp. 78-87, fig. 80

Technical description

  • Georges-Alphonse JACOB-DESMALTER (1799 - 1870)

    Lower section of a bookcase



  • Brazilian rosewood and holly-wood veneer, white marble

    H. 1.10 m; W. 1.80 m; D. 0.47 m

  • OA 10885, OA 10886, OA 10887, OA 10888, OA 11062

  • Decorative Arts

    Richelieu wing
    1st floor
    Duc d'Orléans
    Room 561

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