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The Furniture in the Former Crown Prince’s Palace ➁

Fourdinois and Linke


Have all furniture supplied by Fourdinois been done by Maison Alavoine?

This circular centre table was originally supplied by Fourdinois to the room called ‘Kujyaku No Ma 孔雀之間, Peacock Room. Then the table and some other furniture were donated to Museum Meiji-Mura later in the 1960s and currently belong to their collection.


The circular top has green baize now. It is not sure whether it is original or not. But the original invoice mentioned that baize was originally placed on the top. It is likely to be used as a game table at the time. The table was seemed to be made in walnut bearing ormolu mounts.

In 2009 Museum Meiji-Mura held a 45th anniversary exhibition “Furniture from the former Crown Prince’s Palace”. For the exhibition some research was carried out and those furniture was shed light at the first time since being donated.



The old photograph shows that the table was located in the middle of the room in situ. During investigation for the exhibition one piece of paper was discovered inside of the finial on the middle of the stretcher. The paper said that ‘Linke 170 Faubourg St-Antoine Paris’ on the one side and ‘Paris juin 1904’ on the other side.

François Linke (1855–1946) was a leading Parisian ébéniste (cabinet maker) of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He established his own small workshop at 170 rue du Faubourg St. Antoine by 1881.


‘F.LINKE’ can be seen underneath the name of the hotel’s sign. The photograph was taken around 1900 and shows the neighbourhood of Faubourg St-Antoine.


In 1900 Linke with Léon Messagé, French sculptor, developed and exhibited new style of furniture at the Universal Exposition in Paris. In the 1890s the leading cabinet makers in Paris were retiring or closing down their business such as Henry Dasson (1825 - 1896), Joseph-Emmanuel Zwiener (1848 - 1895) and Alfred-Emmanuel Beurdeley (1847 - 1919). For Linke Paris Universal Exposition was great opportunity to establish his name among new furniture industry. He took a gamble and invested so heavily. So if he failed, he would be bankrupt.

The Art Journal reported in 1900 on Linke's stand: "The work of M. Linke ... was an example of what can be done by seeking inspiration amongst the classic examples of Louis XV and XVI without in any great sense copying these great works. M. Linke's work was original in the true sense of the word, and as such commended itself to the intelligent seeker after the really artistic things of the Exhibition. Wonderful talent was employed in producing the magnificent pieces of furniture displayed".

His stand was very successful and his notebook records visitors to his stand from England, Europe, the Americas, Egypt and Japan, including: the King of Sweden, three visits from the King of Belgium, Prince Radziwill, the Prince d’Arenberg, the Comte Alberic du Chastel, Miss Anna May Gould, the American heiress, distinguished furniture makers and the President of France, Emile Loubet. The name of La Maison Linke soon became one of the eminent furniture houses in the world.


Was the table made by Linke?

The piece of paper might be a remainder for a client remembering who and in when made it. It is possibility that Fourdinois forgot to remove the paper inside and sent straight to Japan.

Any other table in same design by Linke never come up to the art market yet. Further research on Linke related document and actual table such as signature (Linke often put signature on one of brass mounts or locks) need to be carried out in the future.


Furthermore in 1909 Linke sent his commode carcase to Akatsuka Jitoku(赤塚自得)in Tokyo via Russia on Trans-Siberian Railway for lacquering. According to his log book there was only one occasion to do such a thing. I wonder who was a contact on Japanese side to receive and to explain what Linke wanted to the lacquer craftsman. If Linke was got involved in the palace project, he could have a contact in his hand to ask to lacquer for his clients.



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