Walnut, panel with Tonkin inlaid mother of pearl
This large center coffee table is a work attributed to the company Escalier de Cristal. The inspiration of Far-Eastern creations was crucial to the production of this coffee table. Decorated with latticed wood frizzes, clawed feet as well as elements of gilded bronze openwork, this living room piece is of superb quality, which inarguably likens it to the furniture productions of Escalier de Cristal.
Its circular top is made from a panel inlaid with mother of pearl coming from Tonkin. The reuse of this panel coming from a furniture piece or from a tabletop is proved by the shortening of some decorative motifs. The mother of pearl décor is quite elegant: in a woody and flowery environment, some small pagodas and other Chinese architecture are depicted. In the lower part, a bridge is shown, on which two men and a horseman pass.
In the middle of this scene appears a cursive inscription called the “style of the grass,” artistic writing where the different characters are drawn in a single movement. The writing means: “Collect the flower petals of the plum tree and share their perfume with visitors.” The presence of this inscription proves this panel is a Chinese production.
Merchant-editor, Escalier de Cristal produced small furniture and luxury objects, often of far-eastern style like the table that we have presented here. For the realization of its models, Escalier de Cristal most often called upon Parisian artists specializing in a specific technical field.