A Rare Gilt-Bronze Mounted Marquetry Pedestal Desk by François Linke.
French, Circa 1900.
Linke Index Number 711.
Linke title ‘Bureau LXV à 8 pieds’.
Stamped to the inside of the locks 'CT LINKE/ SERRURERIE/PARIS'.
This rare pedestal desk has a shaped rectangular top with leather inset top above a frieze with three drawers. The central drawer above a kneehole and to either side pedestals each with a cupboard door.
A notable feature of Linke's work, perhaps even more of a guarantee than a signature, is his use of a concave scallop-shell or coquille, which features on the backboard of the kneehole. The distinctive shell, as designed by Linke's sculptor Léon Messagé, is held by delicate tendrils of acanthus implying the shape of a crab.
François Linke (1855 - 1946) was the most important Parisian cabinet maker of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and possibly the most sought after cabinet maker of his period.
He was born in 1855 in the small village of Pankraz, in what is now the Czech Republic. Records show that Linke served an apprenticeship with the master cabinetmaker Neumann, then in 1875 at the age of 20 he arrived in Paris where he lived until he died in 1946.