Considered one of the foremost experts on 18th- and 19th-century European and American antiques and fine art, Bill Rau has worked in the family-owned gallery for over 30 years. Bill's extensive knowledge and reputation as a leader places him among the most respected antique experts and gallery owners today.
Few things excite me more than discovering rare treasures that are distinguished by an incredible provenance. It's the provenance that turns a great piece into a phenomenal piece, and literally brings the events normally only read in history books to life. In the case of this amazing seven-piece Empire Bedroom Suite, made by Parisian ébéniste Antoine Krieger and owned by Egypt's last ruling king, Farouk I...can it get any better?
The rule of the king can be described as tumultuous at best, but there is no denying Farouk's insatiable appetite for the best money could buy. Although he already had thousands of acres of land, dozens of palaces, and hundreds of cars, the king would often travel to Europe for to partake in legendary shopping sprees, often spending tens of millions of dollars at a time.
It was during one of those trips that Farouk I came across this incredible bedroom suite. Around 1870, famed ébéniste Antoine Krieger (fl. 1826-1856) created this bedroom suite, comprising a queen-size bed, secrétaire à abattant (drop-front secretary) with a satinwood interior, cheval mirror with side tables, two-door cabinet, vanity and two nightstands, all inspired by the furnishings of Malmaison, one of Napoleon and Josephine's Parisian palaces. Each piece is an incredible work of art, crafted with tremendous skill, especially the golden doré bronze mounts. Every aspect of this suite exudes royalty, power and elegance.
Created by the best and owned by the best. It's what art and antique dealers like myself strive for each and every day. The opportunity to acquire masterpieces actually owned by famous figures in world history is comparable to finding the Holy Grail itself. To pass on that enthusiasm on to our clients...that may be the greatest treasure of all.
To view other outstanding works of provenance in the M.S. Rau Antiques' collection, click here.