The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Inkstand
  • Manner of Alexandre-Jean Oppenordt (1639 - 1715) , Possibly
  • France
  • 1710
  • Oak, pinewood, walnut, ebony, Boulle marquetry of brass and turtleshell, gilt bronze, brass and glass
  • Object size: 10 x 55.8 x 38.6 cm
  • F49
  • Billiard Room
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This superb inkstand was made in 1710 for the Paris Guild of Barber-Surgeons, whose motto and arms are incorporated within the elaborate marquetry design. Around the top edge are the names of twelve senior surgeons, including that of Georges Mareschal, who was surgeon to Louis XIV, the Regent and Louis XV. Phrases and symbols relating to medicine, including the serpents of Aesculapius, ancient god of medicine, appear on the outer edges.
    The inkstand has been attributed tentatively to Alexandre-Jean Oppenordt (c.1639-1715) since the marquetry seems to have been influenced by Jean Bérain (1637-1711), Dessinateur de la Chambre et du Cabinet du Roi, with whom Oppenordt seems to have had a professional link. Without actually deriving from a known Bérain engraving, the central recess is reminiscent of his engraved ceiling designs in which similar strapwork constructions run in diagonally from the corners. Somewhat similar strapwork motifs run inwards from the corners of the top of a writing-table in the Wallace Collection (F57) which is also tentatively attributed to Oppenordt.