Staircase Model (France), early 19th century
Cut, joined, and inlaid mahogany, ebony, pear or sycamore, oak, molded biscuit porcelain (busts). Gift of Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw. 2007-45-12.
What is this?
Model of a curved double staircase reaching a landing and continuing up as a single stair; steps and risers inlaid in contrasting wood to emulate carpet; busts of Francois-Marie Arouet, called Voltaire (1694-1778), and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) made of Sèvres biscuit porcelain on newel posts at top.
Why is this important?
This double revolution staircase is unmistakably a masterwork, confirmed by details such as the carefully turned, ebony balusters and the sophisticated veneering used to create an inlaid “carpet.” A hint of revolutionary politics is introduced through a juxtaposition of Sèvres biscuit porcelain busts of the French philosophers Voltaire (left) and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (right).
This object has been included in the following exhibitions: