Welcome to the Desmalter website - named in honor of François-Honoré-Georges Jacob-Desmalter. Desmalter was the premier French furniture maker of the Empire and early Restauration periods.
The purpose of this site is threefold. First, to contribute to the general knowledge of the works of the Directoire, Empire and Restauration periods, whether by Jacob or one of his contemporaries. Second, to discuss collecting issues such as cleaning and care. Third, to comment on the antique market in general and current new trends.
Portrait of Jacob Desmalter
INSIDER - Articles on antiques and their care including identifying fake Sevres, safe cleaning of gilt bronze, and interesting finds.
ACCEPTED STAMPS: The Jacob family estampilles that are fully accepted are G*IACOB, JACOB FRERES *RUE MESLEE, JACOB*D R*MESLEE, IACOB and JACOB. Jacob Freres also used a paper label at times.
Some items from prestigious collections have also been stamped J.D. - the verdict is still out on whether this was a stamp used by Desmalter. Recently, I have seen the stamp J.F. purported to be that of Jacob Freres, but the items so stamped were Restoration period, so this is clearly wrong.
Finally, as this is a discussion of the Jacob family, surely it is acceptable to include the stamp of their cousin, Henry Jacob. While his work was frequently derivative of the more famous George Jacob, he did originate some very clever Directoire designs.
FAKE STAMPS: If, in Paris, you ask if a peice of furniture is stamped, the dealer will frequently joke, "not yet." Of the Jacob stamps, the most common fakes are "G * JACOB" and "JACOB". Some fakes are quite good, some not.
At Sotheby's Paris last year I saw a grand Empire desk chair with a clearly apocryphal George Jacob stamp presented as correct. Instead of the expected diamond shape seperating the G and the I, it instead had a round dot. I was not surprised to see the same chair back at Drouot a few months later selling as unstamped. As for fake "Jacob" stamps, they are typically quite poorly done, using modern letters with no serifs.
NOTE: If you are curious about a stamp on a piece of 18th/19th century French furniture you own, send me an email with pictures and I will be glad to research it for you at no charge!