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19th Century French Ormolu-Mounted Vernis Martin Vitrine with long legs


A stunning and unusual French 19th century Louis XV Style gilt bronze-mounted and "Vernis Martin" style bombé tulipwood veneered vitrine cabinet. The serpentine front door vitrine with a bombé front and sides glass, surmounted with three hand-painted panels, the front one with an 18th century garden courting scene, the side panels lakeside and garden views of a castle. With ram heads mountings raised on four cabriolet legs with gilt bronze sabots.

Circa 1890

Height: 70″   (178 cm)
Width:  31″   (78 cm)
Depth: 18″    (45 cm)  


Vernis Martin

In French interior design, vernis Martin is a type (or a number of types) of Japanning or imitation lacquer named after the 18th century French Martin brothers: Guillaume (died 1749), Etienne-Simon, Robert and Julien. They ran a leading factory from between about 1730 and 1770, and were vernisseurs du roi ("varnishers to the king"). But they did not invent the process, nor were they the only producers, nor does the term cover a single formula or technique. It imitated Chinese lacquer and European subjects, and was applied to a wide variety of items, from furniture to coaches. It is said to have been made by heating oil and copal and then adding Venetian turpentine.