On View: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, From Colonies to States, 1660–1830
Charles-Honoré Lannuier was trained in Paris and immigrated in 1803 to New York, where he became one of the leading furniture makers. After the Revolutionary War and War of 1812, anti-English sentiment made French goods especially appealing to Americans. Lannuier imported French pattern books to keep abreast of the latest fashions. One of these books was the design source for the robustly carved and gilded supports in the form of caryatids (mythogical female figures); carved dolphin feet; and elaborate gilt-bronze mounts.
This table and the portrait of Washington nearby were both owned by Hezekiel Beers Pierrepont (1768–1838), scion of an important Brooklyn Heights family. The two objects stood in the Pierrepont house in Brooklyn Heights before they came to the Museum in the 1940s.
Marble, rosewood, ormolu, gesso
36 x 55 7/8 x 21 1/4 in. (91.4 x 141.9 x 54.6 cm) (show scale)
Gift of the Pierrepont Family
Pier table, white marble top supported by rosewood veneer frame, applied ormolu (bronze gilt) wreaths on each corner, back of table has inset looking glass, skirting of table is supported by two gesso winged classical figures, resting on concave shelf which is supported by two gesso dolphin heads.
Charles-Honoré Lannuier (American, born France, 1779-1819). Pier Table, ca. 1815-1819. Marble, rosewood, ormolu, gesso, 36 x 55 7/8 x 21 1/4 in. (91.4 x 141.9 x 54.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Pierrepont Family, 41.1. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 41.1_IMLS_SL2.jpg)
overall, 41.1_IMLS_SL2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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What's happening here?
These objects all come from the Decorative Arts collection and have been placed within the American Art wing to show how vases like this, notice that they feature Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, may have been put on display in an elegant early 19th century American home on a table like that one.
Tell me more.
This is a collection of objects in the late Neoclassical style. It is sometimes called the "Empire Style" because Americans were looking so closely to France and the Napoleonic Empire for design ideas. In fact, the console table was designed by a French immigrant to New York named Charles-Honore Lannuier. Although it was made here in the US, certain components, like the small bronze plaque on the front, were imported from France.
Would the design of this table be more Hellenistic or Egyptian in inspiration? I think it’s Hellenistic (neoclassical) but the woman with wings seems to be a hybrid.
I'm seeing more Hellenistic/Roman in this table, but it was common for 19th-century designers to conflate multiple
ancient and non-western cultures.