The majority of furniture styles produced by the French-born Leon Marcotte were historic revivals based on eighteenth-century French models. Marcotte and earlier business partner and brother-in-law Auguste-Emile Ringuet-Leprince were probably best known for their distinctive and refined interpretations of Louis XV and XVI styles, as demonstrated by this fine sofa. Ringuet-Leprince left Paris during the 1848 Revolution and established an elegant furniture and upholstery establishment in New York City. His brother-in-law Marcotte managed the shop. After Ringuet-Leprince’s retirement in 1860, the business was renamed Marcotte and Company.
John B. Gale of Troy purchased the sofa and matching chairs from Marcotte for his house at 59 First Street soon after the end of the American Civil War. Remarkably the suite of furniture retains its original gold silk velvet upholstery—a rare survivor. When new, the gold fabric would have complimented the sofa’s bright, gilded brass mounts, as well as gilded picture frames common at the time, and would have provided a distinctive contrast to the ebonized wood.