A puzzling globe
By GIROUX, Alphonse , 1866

Jeu de la sphère terrestre.

  • Author: GIROUX, Alphonse
  • Publication place: [Paris
  • Publisher: Duvinage and Harinkouck
  • Publication date: c1867].
  • Physical description: Globe, hand-coloured lithographed paper laid on wood, dissected into 34 pieces, with wooden finial, mounted on turned wooden table stand. Slightly browned, with some small areas where the paper is chipping at the edges of the puzzle pieces.
  • Dimensions: Diameter: 170mm (6.75 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 15730


Alphonse Giroux (1776-1848) trained as an artist under Jacques-Louis David, and later established a shop for paints and varnishes in the late eighteenth century at 7 rue du Coq-Saint-Honoré in Paris. In 1822 Giroux’s shop was listed as ‘Papeterie, Couleurs, et Galerie de tableaux’ and was said to supply ‘tous les articles nécessaires au dessin, au lavis des plans, à l’aquarelle, à la gouache, à la peinture sur porcelaine, à la miniature et à l’huile, comme aussi à la fourniture des bureaux. On y fabrique les cadres dorés pour encadrement d’estampes et de tableaux.’

Giroux’s sons, André and Alphonse-Gustave joined the business in 1833, with the latter taking the helm as the business grew. In 1867 the business passed on to Duvinage and Harinkouck, who traded under the name “Maison Alphonse Giroux”.

The cartography dates back to the 1830s, but at that date the model was sold with a domed wooden box by Maison Alphonse Giroux.The dissected globe is cut into eight cross-sections, which show continental maps on the upper side and provide illustrated information on the reverse. Each cross-section is itself divided into four or six pieces, which can be assembled divided up in four or six sectors, which are assembled to form the globe. The design is very similar to an English puzzle globe produced by Abraham Nathan Myers in 1866, but the cartography is less detailed, particularly on the globe. On the interior maps, however, national boundaries, major rivers and relief are depicted, all labelled in French.


  1. Sumira 56
  2. for reference see Daniëlle Kisluk-Grosheide, 'Maison Giroux and Its 'Oriental' Marquetry Technique' Furniture History Society, Vol. 35 (1999), pp.147-172.

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