Victor Quetin Pedestal, Paris, 1860

by John Werry on October 9, 2009

Michael Valko Victor Quetin Pedestal, Paris, 1860

A recent antique appraisal customer supplied the above images of a 19th century pedestal that they had in their possession and were wondering if it were worth restoration of the piece considering the shape it was currently in (click the image for large view).

The coloration seen on the metalwork gave rise to a discussion on whether it was possibly made by Kilian Brothers, but from my observations, their use of color was typical on the wood itself, in the incising, and not on the attached ornamentation.  My take was that this pedestal was probably circa 1870s and I wasn’t going as far as giving a geographic origin since I had an underlying feeling that it could have been from Europe but didn’t yet want to rule out U.S.

Cut to a few weeks later, I ran into a reference image that I believe is Michael’s very pedestal as originally shown in France in 1860.  Every aspect of  his pedestal pieces matches up with the center one in Victor Quetin’s Paris catalog image located within a past Magazine Antiques issue (click image to enlarge).  Michael has nearly all the pieces save for a couple seated figures at the top surface.

I have not done the research yet to determine the importance of Victor Quetin’s work, but this was an enjoyable discovery that is worth sharing.

Valko paris 1024x600 Victor Quetin Pedestal, Paris, 1860

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

woodwright October 9, 2009 at 9:51 pm

Good eye John! Quite a coincedence to have stumbled on the catalog image shortly after seeing the parts picture. I saved the images and put them on screen side by side and it is virtually a dead match for the center pedestal (the nicest of the three for sure) – except for a slight variation of the large scrolled metal ornaments beneath the top. Too bad the (3) sphinx’s are missing – or does he have (1) of them? If so – it could be used to cast replacements. You said a couple were missing, but there were (3) of them on the pedestal – the brackets they sit on are there, and it’s clearly the same pedestal – so I’m sure that they were present at one time. The pictures show the brass/ metal parts attached to the wood, and then separate – too bad they were removed from the wood, but hopefully the wood parts were saved either to restore or as a pattern to reproduce them and recreate the pedestal. It would look great redone.
Unforunately – it is in poor shape and unless Victor Quetin is as collectible as Herter Brothers or someone else that is highly collected and valuable it would probably cost more to restore it than it would be worth when done. If he was interested in selling the parts for a reasonable price – I’d be interested in buying them and recreating the pedestal.
I did a few searches on Quetin and found these:
Here are a couple of links that show other furniture made by Victor Quetin (done in the Louis XIV, XV & XVI style) http://tinyurl.com/ykpjnbd &
http://tinyurl.com/yl35uqq

Victor Quetin (Paris) published: Le Magasin de Meubles (1860) – which translates into “the store of pieces of furniture” – according to several online translation sites. Below is a description of Le Magasin de Meubles from Joslin Hall books website (already sold – but one is currently for sale in Germany for $290):
Le Magasin de Meubles. Album Complet & Reference de tous les Meubles qui se fabriquent a Paris… Paris; V.L. Quentin:nd (ca. 1860-70). A small and large paper copy of the same publication, the catalog of a wide variety of styles and forms of furniture available from this Parisian firm. The styles range from various classic French styles, usually with an unmistakable 19th century flavor, to the outright Victorian. There is some grained and veneered furniture and some bamboo-style examples. The forms include just about everything under the sun including chairs, various types of tables, armoires, stands, bookcases, desks, cradles, beds, card tables, toilet tables, dressers, etc., etc., etc. 2 items. Small paper copy: 11.5″x8″, 109 plates numbered 1-94 plus 2 index pages; lacks plate 83 which is called for in the index but may not have been bound in this copy; bound in old boards with a plain leather spine. Large paper copy: 14″x11″, 96 plates numbered 1-82; evidently printed on not only larger but also better paper, because there is almost no foxing at all; bound in old pebbled cloth with a plain leather spine; covers with some wear, but better than the other copy by far. Two differing versions of an interesting French 19th century Victorian furniture trade catalog. woodwright

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John Werry October 10, 2009 at 10:02 am

Woodwright, I’ll check if he is interested in selling the parts. I agree with you that it’s cost prohibitive to fix it relative to what it’s worth, however, I think that the positive identification takes it up a notch since so infrequently you can truly identify these pieces. Unfortunately I think all the sphinxes are gone…

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John Werry October 11, 2009 at 10:08 am

Woodwright, he is going to restore the pedestal himself as a “winter project” and I’m hoping he’ll share the photos when done with us all.

When it is restored, he plans to make it available for sale.

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woodwright October 11, 2009 at 11:37 am

Ok – great John. Thanks for checking. Doing it himself is the only way to keep it affordable. Your catalog image will be immensely helpful when restoring it. Without that, it would be difficult to figure out exactly what it should look like. He might want to check ebay or the web for sphinx’s – and see what he can find to replace the missing one’s. They are an important part of the design and would add immensely if they were replaced – or at least something similar to sit on the brackets. I did a quick check on ebay and saw this one – http://tinyurl.com/yfb7bm5
– you’d need 3 – but if you had one – you could cast the other 2 from it. Even in a Resin/ epoxy or lead – both easy to work with & something that could be done without having to pay a professional to do it. Or create a model from clay to cast others from. Hope he’ll share the photos when it’s done. woodwright

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woodwright October 11, 2009 at 11:56 am

Here are a few other sphinx’s that might fit, these are all available in quantity (resin castings) all mounted to jewelry boxes, but could easily be cut off with a bandsaw and sanded flat with a belt sander. http://tinyurl.com/yhbsrc8 , http://tinyurl.com/yknb953 ,
http://tinyurl.com/ykfbhkk – just to give an idea of what’s available.

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