Molded, carved and lacquered wood armchair

France, Louis XVI period, last quarter of the 18th century
Georges Jacob (1739−1814)
Molded, carved, and lacquered wood


  • Louis Jean-Marie de Bourbon, Duke of Penthièvre (1725−1739) for his residence at Nogent-sur-Seine, then at the château d’Amboise
  • A label: “For Monseigneur the Duke of Penthièvre at Nogent-sur-Seine, then at the château d’Amboise”
  • Two marks to the anker crowned and framed A B for the château d’Amboise

Similar examples: 

  • Georges Jacob (1739−1814), Pair of armchairs, in the toilet cabinet of the Queen Marie-Antoinette at the château de Compiègne
  • Georges Jacob (1739−1814), Three armchairs for the service of Marie-Antoinette at the Tuileries, circa 1785, Deposit of the Mobilier national at the château de Versailles (inv. GMT 116381 et inv. GMT 9086)

Close example:  

  • Georges Jacob (1739−1814), Set of six armchairs and two bergeres armchairs of the same model delivered in 1786 for the pavilion of Monsieur, Louis Stanislas of France, count of Provence (1755−1824), brother of the King Louis XVI, Paris, Mobilier national (inv. GMT 6094–000)

The molded backrest of this armchair is squared. The belt, simply molded in retreat, rests on four tapered with roughened flutes adorned with a ring in the upper part. The connecting dices, above the legs, are carved with a rose. The crossbar shelves, in baluster shape, present roughened flutes and support the armrests ended by volutes.

Louis Jean-Marie of Bourbon, Duke of Penthièvre (1725−1793)

Louis Jean-Marie of Bourbon, Duke of Penthièvre (1725−1793), of Aumale (1775), of Rambouillet (1737), of Gisors, of Châteauvillain, of Arc-en-Barrois, of Amboise, count of Eu and lord of the duchy of Carignan, is the grandson of Louis XIV and his mistress Madame de Montespan, and the unique son of Louis-Alexandre of Bourbon (1678−1737), legitimized blood prince, count of Toulouse and the Duchess Marie Victoire de Noailles. 

The game of successions made him the heir of the count of Toulouse but also of the two sonsof his uncle, the Duke of Maine. His annual earnings are evaluated to six million of gold pounds, which makes him one of the wealthiest men in Europe. He inherited also several lands and residences, several ducal and princely titles as well as the posts of Great Amiral of France, Grand Veneur of France and governor of Bretagne. The anker forming the inventory mark derives of his title of Great Amiral. Appointed Marshall of camp in 1743, he became lieutenant general of the armies of the King the following year and fought at Dettingen (1743), Fontenoy (1745) and Raucoux (1746). 

Calm, turned towards a contemplative life, he renounced to his military career after the premature death of his wife in 1754 and of his son, the Prince of Lamballe. Refined and protector of the arts, he protected the artists like the poet Florian and dedicated to travels and the embellishment of several of his real estates including the castle and park of Sceaux, the château de Rambouillet, which he sold to the King Louis XVI in 1783, of Anet, Amboise, Aumale, Bizy, Chanteloup, Dreux, Gisors, etc ore even the sumptuous Hôtel de Toulouse, actual headquarters of the Banque de France, in Paris. 

Loved by the people, he was named commandor of the National guard, and took an oath of fidelity to the nation and the King. The tragic death of the Princess of Lambelle, his daughter-in-law, the 3rd of September 1792, darkened his last days. Of gentle and kind character, his popularity protected him and permitted him to die in peace at his château de Bizy in 1793, few time before the decree of arrest of the Bourbons and the forfeiture of their belongings. 

The residence of Nogent-sur-Seine

The paper label inscribed with ink, presumably written and fixed in the Jacob workshop, reveals that the armchair was destined for the bedroom of the Duke at Nogent-sur-Seine. Located at the south-east of Paris, this residence was in the domain of the Duke at Châteauvillain and his properties in and around the capital. It consisted in a small house, described as “a small house of Nogent-sur-Seine”, where he settled to interrupt his journeys between these properties. The modesty of this house was demonstrated by its acquisition for the price of 10 000 gold pounds in 1787. In comparison, the Duke had acquired the château d’Amboise, a year before, for almost 4 060 000 gold pounds (Jean Duma, Les Bourbon Penthièvre (1678−1793) : Une nébuleuse artistocratique au xviiie siècle, Paris, 1995, p. 61). 

The château d’Amboise

The initials “AB” of each side of the anker mark reveal that this armchair was then placed and inventoried at the château d’Amboise. Its location, perched above the Loire, strategically placed to lock the Loire river, upstream the city of Tours, led to the construction of a fortress in the 11th century which remained property of the Amboise family during four centuries. It was nevertheless confiscated to Charles of Amboise by Charles VI (1422−1461) in 1434, the latter having taken part in a conspiracy and at this occasion it entered the royal domain. Several princes and princesses were then educated including Charles VIII, who was born and grew up there. Probably durably marked by his birthplace, the decision to transform the former fortress into a true palace in the last years of the 15th century lies with him, even though the construction extended far over his brutal death in Amboise from an unfortunate blow to the head from a door lintel to low.

The castle, property of the Valois in the 15th and the 16Th centuries, sheltered regularly the royal journeys and was located near the Clos-Lucé, chosen by François Ier to install Leonardo da Vinci (1452−1519) from 1516 to 1519. Last home of the great painter, the sepulture of the latter still rests under the chapel of Saint-Hubert, next to the castle. 

In the 17th century, the castle was given by Louis XIII to his brother Gaston of Orléans, inveterate rebel but retaken in 1631 by the royal armies and partially dismantled. It then took the function of a state prison, sheltering amongst others Nicolas Fouquet and Antonin Nompar of Caumont, the Duke of Lauzun. Property for a brief time of Étienne-François, Duke of Choiseul (1719−1785), strong minister of Louis XVI, who acquired it in 1761 at the same time that of the property of Chanteloup, located just next to it, before being bought again by the Crown, it was transferred in 1786 to Louis-Jean-Marie of Bourbon, Duke of Penthièvre who arranged his apartments from 1789, where this armchair was placed, transferred from the house of Nogent-sur-Seine, another property of the Duke.

The Revolution changed definitely the destiny of the castle. In 1793, the authorities confiscated the castle and its furniture in order to make a detention center as well as a barrack for the veterans of the campaigns led by the revolutionary armies. 

After having suffered from several mutilations in the 19th century, it returned to the Orléans family in 1873. In 1974, the Count of Paris entrusted the Saint-Louis foundation with it, from which he is now the President-founder.

Georges Jacob (1739−1814)

Father founder of an important dynasty of carpenter-cabinetmaker, the Jacob, which lasted on three generations from 1765 to 1847, Georges Jacob was born in 1739 at Cheny, a small village of Burgundy near Sens, from a father ploughman. He came to Paris in 1756 and entered in apprenticeship with a carpenter in chair, Jean-Baptiste Lerouge.

Received Master carpenter on the 4th of September 1765, he settled in rue de Bourbon and produced then many chairs of the Louis XVI style. In 1767, he married Jeanne-Germaine Loyer who gave him three sons (two of whom were carpenters) and two daughters. At this date, he lived rue Beauregard and then moved to rue de Cléry and definitely rue Meslay (now rue Meslée) in 1775. From 1781, he was appointed to various functions in the corporation of carpenters-cabinetmakers and became thus syndic-adjoint⁠2 (1788) and syndic⁠3 (1789).

Since 1777, Georges Jacob started to truly work for the Crown by furnishing the apartments of the Count of Artois at the palais du Temple and the pavillon de Bagatelle. With the arrival in 1784 of the new intendant général des meubles de la Couronne⁠4, Thierry de Ville d’Avray and the new minister of Finance, Charles-Alexandre Calonne, deciding on a renewal of the royal residences, Georges Jacob became one the assigned carpenters of the Crown, just like Jean-Baptiste Boulard and Jean-Baptiste-Claude Séné, and was sometimes working with their association. He furnished the royal Garde-Meuble⁠5 and the Menus-plaisir⁠6 with seats for the residences of Versailles, Petit Trianon, Fontainebleau, Saint-Cloud and Rambouillet.

He also had a significant clientele of choice: the Counts of Artois and Provence (to whom he delivered two thousand fifty-eight pieces between 1781 and 1786), the Dukes of Penthièvres, Chartes and Choiseul, the Princes of Condé, of Conti…

His reputation extended beyond the frontiers; the German princes, the future George IV of England, Gustav III of Sweden, also had recourse to him. 

The exact scale of his workshop is unknown but given the size of his production, he must have had ten to fifteen workbenches (thus twenty workers) and a strong sub-contracting well adjusted. Until 1791, this workshop only produced seat carpentry and a little bit of building carpentry.

He participated actively in major stylistic movements of the Louis XVI period:

  • the “Turkish” taste with the seats he supplied to the Count of Artois in 1777 and 1781
  • the “neo-antique” taste, by realizing in three dimensions the innovative drawings of the painter Jacques-Louis David (1784)
  • the Chinese taste, with the exotic seats of the marquise de Marbeuf, of the Duke of Penthièvre or the Princess Kinsky (1785−1790)
  • to the “Anglomania” with the vogue of mahogany seats and their pierced backrests (1780−1790)

He then knew how to forge a manner which is his own: rigorous proportions, generosity of the woods, sculpture extended to all the woods, perfection of the sculpture.
With the Revolution, the condemnation et the immigration of his clients, Georges Jacob encountered his first financial difficulties. Supplier of the Court and of the aristocracy, he was several times denounced to the Comité du salut public⁠7 but received the protection of his painter friend Jacques-Louis David, thanks to whom he received orders for the Assembly room of the Tuileries (1793).

The Chapelier⁠8 law (1791), suppressing the corporation regime, gave space to his workshop. He thus could, in full legality, diversify his production, passing from the simple seat carpentry to cabinetmaking and bronze mounts. 

In 1796, he transferred his stock and rented his workshop to his two sons, Georges II (1768−1803) and François-Honoré Georges (1770−1841). They then worked under the trading name “Jacob brothers”, Georges Jacob only behaving as a counsellor. In 1803, the death of Georges II Jacob encouraged Georges Jacob to re-engage in his activity in association with his son under the trading name “Jacob-Desmalter et Cie” (from the name of their family property in Burgundy).

A real enterprise was funded, employing over 350 workers. Important supplier of the Empire, the fall of the latter prejudiced severely the prosperity of the company which bankrupted in 1813, forcing Georges Jacob, in solidarity with his son, to flee to Chaillot in the old me asylum of M. Chayla. He died there in 1814, without seeing the enterprise revive under the Restoration, directed ahain by his son François-Honoré-Georges Jacob-Desmalter and then his grandson Alphonse Jacob-Desmalter. 


  • Michel Beurdeley, George Jacob (1739−1814) et son temps, Paris, Édition Monelle Hayot, 2002. 
  • Honoré Bonhomme, Le Duc De Penthièvre (Louis-Jean-Marie De Bourbon) : Sa Vie, Sa 
  • Mort (1725−1793) D’après Des Documents Inédits, Paris, Firmin Didot, 1869. 
  • Jean-Jacques Gautier, Bertrand Rondot, Jean Vittet (dir.), Le château de Versailles raconte le mobilier national : quatre siècles de création, catalogue d’exposition, Versailles, Musée national du château de Versailles et de Trianon, 2011, p. 119 et p. 135. 
  • Bill G.B. Pallot, Le mobilier du musée du Louvre, Tome 2, Paris, Édition Faton, 1993. 
  • Juliette Trey (dir.), Madame Élisabeth, une princesse au destin tragique, 1764–1794, catalogue d’exposition, Milan, Silvana Editoriale, 2013. 


  • Height: 36 ¼ inches – 92 cm
  • Width: 25 ½ inches – 65 cm
  • Depth: 21 ⅗ inches – 55 cm

  • Hauteur : 92 cm – 36 1⁄4 inches
  • Largeur : 65 cm – 25 1⁄2 inches
  • Profondeur : 55 cm – 21 35 inches

  • Georges Jacob (1739−1814), Ensemble de six fauteuils et deux bergères du même modèle livré en 1786 pour le Pavillon de Monsieur, Louis Stanislas de France, comte de Provence (1755−1824), frère du Roi Louis XVI, Paris, Mobilier national (inv. GMT-6094–000)

    • Michel Beurdeley, George Jacob (1739−1814) et son temps, Paris, Édition Monelle Hayot, 2002.

    • Honoré Bonhomme, Le Duc De Penthièvre (Louis-Jean-Marie De Bourbon) : Sa Vie, Sa

    • Mort (1725−1793) D’après Des Documents Inédits, Paris, Firmin Didot, 1869.

    • Jean-Jacques Gautier, Bertrand Rondot, Jean Vittet (dir.), Le château de Versailles raconte le mobilier national : quatre siècles de création, catalogue d’exposition, Versailles, Musée national du château de Versailles et de Trianon, 2011, p. 119 et p. 135.

    • Bill G.B. Pallot, Le mobilier du musée du Louvre, Tome 2, Paris, Édition Faton, 1993.

    • Juliette Trey (dir.), Madame Élisabeth, une princesse au destin tragique, 1764–1794, catalogue d’exposition, Milan, Silvana Editoriale, 2013.