François Baudry (1791-1859), Nacelle bed, France, 1827

Carcase of poplar (grisard), veneer of ash burl and bramble, olive ash burl, elm burl, amaranth, lemon wood from Saint-Domingue, mahogany; platform of maple burl and amaranth.
Gift of Monsieur and Madame Christian de Galéa, 1963
Inv. 39509
© Les Arts Décoratifs / photo: Jean Tholance

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This bed by the cabinetmaker François Baudry is a technical masterpiece. Its basket shape, with no straight lines or corners, reflects the Restoration taste for curved forms. This piece testifies to the cabinetmaker’s skill at bending large sheets of veneer.

To suit the contemporary taste for blond woods, Baudry used five light wood species (ash, elm, lemon wood, oak and sycamore) to make clever color arrangements. Amaranth inlays create a design of oak and laurel branches, garlands of ivy and a wreath of roses, and the veins in the burls (excrescences that grow on tree trunks) create the kind of graphic effect that was much admired at the time.

François Baudry presented this bed at the Exhibition of French Industrial Products in 1827, together with an armchair with a heart-shaped back (also on display in this room), a writing desk and a commode, all with curved lines. A painting shows him at his stand at the Exhibition of 1827, in front of his furniture pieces, being presented receiving the bronze medal from the duke of Angoulême, eldest son of Charles X, King of France.

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