RARE 19C French Napoleon III Ladies Vanity Table

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PRESENTING a GLORIOUSLY RARE and VERY HIGH QUALITY 19C French Napoleon III Rare Ladies Make-up Table or Vanity.

Not many of these EXCEPTIONAL Tables have survived and even fewer with the QUALITY of this one!

Made circa 1860, during the Reign of Emperor, Napoleon III.

Made of Ebony, with inlaid brass, ormolu mounts, light walnut inlay, abalone and mother of pearl inlay.

It has a highly intricate and high quality ‘knot twist interlocking’ design, consisting of inlaid brass, light walnut, abalone and mother of pearl stringing and flowers/stars.

The central medallion is similarly inlaid and has an unengraved central brass armorial plaque.

The edge of the table top is gilt repousse ormolu , with indented/repousse decoration and it has curved demi lune corners.

The top lifts on a brass hinge/lever, to reveal a mirror on the interior side of the lid (the original mirror) encased in ormolu banding. The underside of the top is beautifully patinated walnut.

The interior of the vanity is a combination of light and dark walnut.

The lock, clasp/hinge lever and hinges are of the highest quality with floral engraving.

The front drawer pulls forward and has a re-moveable walnut tray for make-up and accessories.

The central drawer has it’s original ormolu keyhole escutcheon, but no key.

The drawer has 2 rectangular central inlays/stringing, the larger/outside inlay being mother of pearl (freshly inlaid) and the inner inlay in brass. This is replicated on the back and on both sides.

The top corner of each leg, is demi lune in shape and has a large star shaped ormolu mount with grape decoration on all 4 corners. The turned legs, extend downwards, to an ormolu floral circular disc, separating, the turned top section of each leg, to a fluted tapering leg underneath.

Each flute, on each leg, has an ‘arrow wreath pointed swag’, inserted on all sides of the fluted legs.

The legs are supported by a double ‘U’ shaped central support that meets in the middle, with a gilt ormolu lidded and 2 handled urn, as it’s centerpiece.

Again, there is a floral ormolu disc in the center of the base cross support and one’s on 2 sides of the base of each leg, just above the pointed feet.

The piece has had some minor condition issues due to it’s age and delicacy and therefore has had some necessary professional repairs.

The top has some ‘cracking’ to the ebony veneer, but no losses. The cracks were filled with black wax and varnished in a satin finish.

In our opinion this ‘cracking/crazing’ just adds to it’s beauty and authenticity.

Some repairs to brass and mother of pearl inlays.

The base central support has been repaired, with the addition of a block wedge between the cross supports (underneath and not visible) and a wooden ebonized central disc on top of it, which also acts as a plinth for the gilt ormolu urn. All these repairs have made the piece more stable, especially as the table top is quite heavy (mainly because of the original mirror) when opened.

It has been re-gilded.

Napoleon III (born Charles-Louis Napoléon Bonaparte; 20 April 1808 – 9 January 1873), the nephew of Napoleon I, was the first elected President of France from 1848 to 1852. When he could not constitutionally be re-elected, he seized power in 1851 and became the Emperor of the French from 1852 to 1870. He founded the Second French Empire and was its only emperor until the defeat of the French army and his capture by Prussia and its allies in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. He worked to modernize the French economy, rebuilt the center of Paris, expanded the overseas empire, and engaged in the Crimean War and the Second Italian War of Independence.

Napoleon III commissioned the grand reconstruction of Paris, carried out by his prefect of the Seine, Baron Haussmann. He launched similar public works projects in Marseille, Lyon and other French cities. Napoleon III modernized the French banking system, greatly expanded and consolidated the French railway system and made the French merchant marine the second largest in the world. He promoted the building of the Suez Canal and established modern agriculture, which ended famines in France and made France an agricultural exporter. Napoleon III negotiated the 1860 Cobden–Chevalier free trade agreement with Britain and similar agreements with France’s other European trading partners. Social reforms included giving French workers the right to strike and the right to organize. The first women students were admitted at the Sorbonne, and women’s education greatly expanded as did the list of required subjects in public schools.

In foreign policy, Napoleon III aimed to reassert French influence in Europe and around the world. He was a supporter of popular sovereignty and of nationalism. In Europe, he allied with Britain and defeated Russia in the Crimean War (1853–56). His regime assisted Italian unification by defeating the Austrian Empire in the Franco-Austrian War, and as its deferred reward later annexed Savoy and the County of Nice. At the same time, his forces defended the Papal States against annexation by Italy. Napoleon III doubled the area of the French overseas empire in Asia, the Pacific and Africa, however his army’s intervention in Mexico, which aimed to create a Second Mexican Empire under French protection, ended in total failure.

From 1866, Napoleon had to face the mounting power of Prussia as its Chancellor Otto von Bismarck sought German unification under Prussian leadership. In July 1870, Napoleon entered the Franco-Prussian War without allies and with inferior military forces. The French army was rapidly defeated and Napoleon III was captured at the Battle of Sedan. The Third Republic was proclaimed in Paris and Napoleon went into exile in England, where he died in 1873.


RARE 19C French Napoleon III Ladies Vanity Table

Provenance: From a Private Dallas Collection.

Condition: Good. See Full Listing.

Dimensions: 29 inches Tall, 24.75 inches Wide and 17.5 inches Deep

44.75 inches Tall with the lid/top up/open.

Knee Clearance of 23.75 inches