The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Writing-table
  • Attributed to Bernard van Risen Burgh I (1660 - 1738) , possibly
  • France
  • c. 1715 - c. 1720
  • Pinewood, oak, ebony, première-partie Boulle marquetry of brass and turtleshell, gilt bronze, walnut, leather, steel key and locks
  • Object size: 78 x 181 x 92 cm
  • F59
  • East Drawing Room
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This writing-table (or 'bureau plat') takes the same form as those designed by André-Charles Boulle which were so influential on furniture design in the first decades of the eighteenth century when this type of writing table became extremely fashionable. Here Bernard van Risen Burgh I (1660-1738) has veneered an oak carcase with ebony and première-partie Boulle marquetry and fitted sculptural gilt-bronze mounts at the corners, on either ends and on the drawers, in a manner similar to Boulle. However, neither the marquetry nor the mounts are models used by Boulle; instead they resemble very closely those used by van Risen Burgh on the writing-table attributed to him made in c. 1715 for the Elector of Bavaria, now in the Louvre, and it is on this basis that the Wallace table has been attributed to him. There is a 19th-century copy of the Elector's table in the Wallace Collection (F461) where it is possible to compare specifically the female heads on the legs of both tables and the birds in the marquetry of the drawer fronts.
    Once owned by the 3rd Marquess of Hertford, this writing-table was not inherited by his son, the 4th Marquess but came back into the collection when the 4th Marquess bought it at the sale of the contents of his father’s property, St Dunstan’s Villa in London.