This Gothic-style prie-dieu was presented at the 1867 Exposition Universelle by Duvinage and Harinkouck, to whom Alphonse-Gustave Giroux had just sold his company, whence the presence of two brand names on the work. An expression of the company’s artistic ambitions, it was not regarded as a “slavish copy of the Middle Ages, but as an inspiration of that era united with modern taste” (Francis Aubert in Les merveilles de l’exposition universelle de 1867 (The Wonders of the 1867 Exposition Universelle), 1869, vol.1, pp.39-40).
The enamelwork on Maison Giroux’s prie-dieu, created using the traditional champlevé technique (in which the recesses to be filled with enamel are cut into the metal by hand), is remarkable both for its technical quality and for the space given to it on the piece. Evocative of Limoges enamelwork from the 12th and 13th centuries, it nonetheless evidences a real departure from bygone models, in particular through the choice of such colors as pink and pale green, which create a striking contrast with the blackened wood.
Complementing the outstanding selection of furniture created for Universal Exhibitions conserved at Musée d’Orsay, this prie-dieu also adds a late example of the neo-Gothic style to the decorative arts collection of the Museum.