Cover of Ouvre, Juste-Aurèle Meissonnier, 1734. Engraving on paper.
Juste-Aurèle Meissonnier (1695-1750) was instrumental in taking the rococo to its zenith and spreading its design principles, especially in the field of metalwork. His Ouvre, published in 1734, was widely disseminated and was instrumental in spreading the rococo throughout Europe. His influence can especially be seen in the twisting stems of the swan candelabrum. Metal was the ideal medium through which to interpret his style: the fluid movement was much more difficult to accomplish in wood, though it was accomplished in Meissonnier’s furniture designs. The scrolling leaves that resemble roiling waves along the base and stems of the candelabrum are typical of Meissonnier’s style, as are the ridges that wind around the twisting stems, adding an even greater sense of movement.
The Portuguese Throne room (Sala do Trono) is in the Piano nobile of the Ajuda National Palace (Palácio Nacional da Ajuda) in Lisbon. The present decoration is from the 19th century, with walls covered with crimson velvet, gold gilded French mirrors and a major Tabriz carpet from the 18th century in the precious wood floor. The ceiling is covered with Máximo dos Reis allegorical fresco and a huge crystal chandelier. The thrones are from Portuguese fabric, second half of the 18th century with the Portuguese coat of arms on the top handled by two angels. This fauteuils ware made to substitute the Juste-Aurèle Meissonnier’s throne made to John V of Portugal and destroyed in the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. This throne was in Silver-gilt, with winged dragons, the heraldic symbolf of the House of Braganza, and the arms of Portugal supported by two allegorical statues, Europe and America. The Throne room is still used for state events of the Portuguese Republic.