“The Boxed” – Story in Three Chapters

Jaques Louis David · Alphonse Giroux · Louis Daguerre

A leather box with gilt stamping and royal purple velvet interior… a beautiful example of the French Aesthetic style!  The creator’s signature opens a door to exploring a wonderful story. Our expert guest Rabah El A’awar (artist, art researcher, and art writer) and Cabinet of Curiosity are proud to present research about Maison Giroux, whose success is inseparable from the development of new industrial art.

François-Simon-Alphonse Giroux was known as "the merchant of the princes". He became an important Parisian manufacturer of luxury furniture and accessories. His works were supplied to the Crown, the aristocracy, and the bourgeoisie. 

He opened his first shop in 1799 at No. 7, Rue du Coq-Saint-Honoré, which later became Boulevard des Capucines. The business created by Giroux-father frequently changed its description in the directory: paper and creative materials, and he also restored paintings and sold different objects such as writing desks, inkwells, and toys. 

Famous ébéniste (or cabinet maker), Giroux was also a creator and distributor of some fascinating curiosities: the phénakistiscope – an animation device, presented by Alphonse Giroux & Cie in 1833, and, of course… the Daguerreotype camera!

François-Simon-Alphonse Giroux turned the company into one of the most exclusive and prominent merchants in Paris at the time, and only his personal commissions were permitted to wear his signature. In 1839, Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre (1787–1851), and Joseph Nicéphore Niépce (1865-1833) – photography pioneers and partners, awarded him the right to use the method of photography, so the very first daguerreotypes, forerunners of cameras, photo papers and glass plates were branded “Alphonse Giroux”.

The story, of course, would not be complete without mentioning Francois-Simon-Alphonse Giroux's art teacher. The famous artist Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825), who influenced Giroux’s style, and which can be seen in the artisan’s decorative objects.