François-Honoré-Georges Jacob-Desmalter

Dates1770 - 1841

François-Honoré-Georges Jacob-Desmalter ran one of the most important and prosperous furniture workshops in Paris at the beginning of the 1800s. The son of a well-known chairmaker, Georges Jacob, Jacob-Desmalter took over his father's business with his older brother in 1796. When his brother died six years later, Jacob-Desmalter hired his father back as his partner and began to develop one of the largest furniture workshops in Paris. By 1808 he employed 332 workmen to produce pieces worth over 700,000 francs per year. A third of this stock was destined for export; his warehouse alone held over 500,000 francs' worth of furniture.

Furniture produced by the firm of Jacob-Desmalter et Cie (Co.) was mainly made from mahogany in the Empire style, where geometric shapes and straight lines prevailed. The clients included Pauline Borghese, Napoleon I's sister, and the Empress Josephine, for whom he supplied numerous pieces for the imperial residences. One particularly important commission was a magnificent cradle built for the infant Napoleon II, king of Rome.

Greatly dependent on orders from Napoleon's household, the business went bankrupt in 1813, when the Emperor fell from power. Jacob-Desmalter, however, managed to resurrect the company and continued to run it until his son, Alphonse-George, succeeded him in 1825.