King Farouk's Massive, $1M Mercury-Gilded Mahogany Bedroom Set Rivals Louis XV's

  • This seven-piece bedroom suite was owned by King Farouk I of Egypt.

    This seven-piece bedroom suite was owned by King Farouk I of Egypt.

    M.S. Rau Antiques

When King Farouk died in 1965 in Rome, his death signaled the end of royal lineage of Egyptian rulers.  He took the crown at 16 years of age, was proclaimed  the penultimate King of Egypt and Sudan, but was overthrown in the Egyptian revolution of 1952, when he fled to Monaco and finally settled in Rome.    King Farouk was larger than life, literally.  Weighing in at 300 pounds, the king was excessive in all of his passions, from eating to commissioning and collecting priceless works of art.  Like Warner Leroy, owner of Tavern on the Green, and circus owner John Ringling (who actually owned a similar bedroom set), King Farouk lived a lavish lifestyle in Egypt and also during his exile.  A consummate showman, he was never shy in the public eye.  He set the standard for an excessively glamorous royal lifestyle by purchasing hundreds of cars, palaces and land holdings, and was often jetting off to Europe on shopping sprees, but he never gave a cent to aid poverty.    This ostentatious, massive bedroom set dates from 1850 and is a brilliant example of Farouk's lifestyle.  The seven-piece set in mahogany was made by 19th century Parisian ébéniste (master cabinet craftsman), Antoine Krieger who was inspired by Napoleon's Parisian palace Malmaison.  Each piece features ornate carving and heavily, mercury-gilded bronze accents and details including urns, swags, clawed paw feet and mythical creatures.  Some of the pieces are topped with rare green marble. The set comprises a queen size bed, vanity, cheval side tables, nightstands, cheval mirror and a drop-front desk (called a secrétaire à abbatant).  Ironically, imperial French style furniture, known as "Louis-Farouk", became all the rage of the Egyptian upper class during Farouk's reign.  Item number 29-5791 at www.rauantiques.com 
 

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