Crossing Continents

Crossing Continents

In a competitive market, an item’s provenance can take it from ordinary to extraordinary. One such example coming up in our Fine Interiors sale on 14-15 March, with a story as interesting as the item itself, is a walnut table once in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

10 March 2023

Tables of this sort take their title from the shape of the stretcher, which bears similarity to the French Cross of Lorraine, which was initially called the Cross of Anjou, but following the marriage in 1431 of Isabelle of Lorraine to Rene I of Naples, or Rene d’Anjou, developed its new name. Along with a great deal of French Renaissance furniture design, tables ’en Croix de Lorraine’, which are commonly linked with the Loire Valley, undoubtedly take their influence from Italian architecture and the ideas of its artists and craftsmen who travelled to France to work at the court of Francis I, and subsequently his daughter-in-law, Catherine de’ Medici. This is most clearly seen in the supports of many known examples which take the form of Tuscan columns.


The present example was in the collection of Georges Hoentschel (1855-1915), the successful Parisian decorator and proprietor of Maison Leys. In 1906, the financier and president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, J Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) purchased a large number of objects from Hoentschel as a gift for the museum, including a collection of important 18th-century French decorative arts.


A Renaissance-style walnut extending table 'en Croix de Lorraine', incorporating a mixture of 16th and 19th century elements, French. £6,000-8,000

A Renaissance-style walnut extending table 'en Croix de Lorraine', incorporating a mixture of 16th and 19th century elements, French. £6,000-8,000

Also loaned to the museum at the time, and eventually gifted on the death of J P Morgan by his son Jack, were pieces of medieval and Renaissance art, among which was this table. The Morgan Gift is credited for its pivotal role in establishing the Museum’s Department of Decorative Arts and we are extremely grateful to the Met for their assistance in the research and cataloguing of this lot.


Literature: D. Kisluk-Grosheid, D Krohn, Deborah & U Leben ed., 'Salvaging the Past: Georges Hoentschel and French Decorative Arts from The Metropolitan Museum of Art', 2013, p.74, 152, figs.4.9, 5.5;
J Boccador, 'Le Mobilier Français du Moyen Age a la Renaissance', 1988, p.227, figs.215-6.

Our Fine Interiors sale includes close to five hundred lots of furniture and furnishings from the 17th to 20th centuries. Bidding will be available online and in-person, with viewing held from Friday 10 until Monday 13 March.

For further information, please contact 




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