Antiques Blog

Who is Paul Sormani?

Paul Sormani…probably one of the most celebrated cabinet makers in France who wasn’t even French. In fact, Paul Sormani was Italian.

Paul Sormani (1817 – 1877) was a preeminent 19th Century Italian cabinetmaker (ébéniste) of the Lombard-Venetian origin.

Sormani moved to Paris and established his workshop there in 1847 and soon began producing high quality items of standard and ‘fantasy’ furniture, which he described as meubles de luxe (‘luxury furniture’). He specialised in reproducing Louis XV and XVI style pieces, which proved immensely popular with discerning European aristocracy. The Empress Eugenie, for example, who was wife of Emperor Napoleon III, chose to decorate her palaces with Sormani’s beautiful furniture.


Empress Eugenie, Wife of Napoleon III

Sormani frequently exhibited his impressive creations and was awarded prizes at all the major international exhibitions of the 1860s and 1870s. Notably, at the Parisian Exposition Universelle in 1867, judges described Sormani’s work as revealing “a quality of execution of the first order”.

On the Champs des Mars, stood the 1867 Exposition featuring all the latest technology of the era. Even the new ‘elevator’ was on display


A superior Paul Sormani Commode with Rouge de Rance marble and a coromandel Japanned front.

A superior writing desk by Paul Sormani, early 20th Century.

Once in a while, I discover hidden gems by dealers in France who don’t go the extra mile to find out exactly what they have. In the case of the small lady’s writing desk, (which I bought outside of Paris) the dealer had no desire to unlock the desk. He simply stated there’s no key and sold it to me accordingly.

Our Paul Sormani ladies writing desk C.1880’s.

Our little desk may not have all the gilt and glamor of some of Sormani’s pieces, but it isn’t priced accordingly either. If you’d like to have this lovely piece of cabinetmaking history, please contact the store.





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