These armchairs with extraordinary frames cut in zig-zag motives and flowers can be with certainty attributed to Jacques Jean Baptiste Tilliard II, because they were part of the Waterford Suite, a set of furniture consisting of four armchairs, a bergère and a settee. The ensemble got separated in 1954. The other pair of chairs is marked Tilliard.
The chairs are upholstered with Beauvais tapestry with depictions of fables by De La Fontaine. The design of the tapestry and the carving is very well matched. The conche shaped carvings are mirrored in the embroidery. The frames are finely cut, even at the back.
Jacques Jean Baptiste Tilliard (Jean-Baptiste II) became a master furniture maker in 1752. In 1764 he took over the atelier of his father, Jean-Baptiste I, including the mark of Tilliard. Jean-Baptiste I, one of the most eminent ‘menuisier’ of the Louis XV period, was ‘Menuisier ordinaire du Garde Meuble de la Couronne’ from 1730 onwards. Jean Baptiste II also worked intensively for the royal court, in particular for Louis XVI’s sisters Elisabeth and Victoire. His style altered in the course of his carreer, as can be derived from the magnificent Louis XVI suite he delivered for the quarters of the Swedish king in Versailles in 1784.
The name of Waterford goes back on the marchioness of Waterford. She was the daughter of Charles lord Stuart de Rothesay, who was Ambassador for the British Crown in France from 1815 to 1824 and from 1828 to 1830. It is very likely that the Rothesay bought the chairs from French nobility. The marchioness of Waterford was a gifted water colour painter who was instructed by Dante Gabriel Rosetti. She dies childless in 1891. She was left a widow since her husband, Henry de la Poer Beresford, 3rd Marquess of Waterford dies of a tragic with a horse in 1859.
Another set of two armchairs and two settees, of which one was marked Tilliard, were sold with the Espirito Sancto collection in 1955. An unmarked chair, that was newly gilded in the 19th century and without tapestry was sold by Christie’s New York on oktober 21. 2010 under lotnumber 485.
B.G.B. Pallot, L'Art du Siège au XVIIIe Siècle en France, Paris, 1987, pp. 210-211.
P. Kjellberg, Le Mobilier Français du XVIIIe Siècle, Paris, 1989, p. 838.
Arguably Charles, Lord Stuart de Rothesay (1779-1845)
His daughter by inheritance Louisa, Marchioness of Waterford (1818-1891)
Auctioned, Christie’s London april 29. 1954, lot 107
Fisher Böhler collection, Germany
On the back: the Lion and the Rat (what goes around comes around)
On the seat: the two Goats (pride goes before a fall)
On the back: the Monkey and the Cat (get someone to do one’s dirty work)
On the seat: the Stag sees his image in the Pond (the classic Narcissus myth)