The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Writing-table
  • Writing-table
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • France
  • c. 1715 (original parts (as chest-of-drawers))
    c. 1850 (remade as writing-table)
  • Pine, première- and contre-partie Boulle marquetry of turtleshell and brass, oak, walnut, gilt bronze, ebony and brass
  • Object size: 76 x 190.5 x 74 cm
  • F60
  • Reserve Gallery
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • This table is a mid-nineteenth-century transformation of a Boulle marquetry chest-of-drawers dating from c. 1715. The top of the original chest-of-drawers now forms the central part of the top of the table, the two ends of which have been made up, either from a full-width drawer front cut in half or from panels from the sides of a chest-of-drawers, and then framed with additional marquetry borders. A number of early eighteenth-century chests-of-drawers are known with the same or similar marquetry design on their tops. These have been attributed to cabinet-makers such as Aubertin Gaudron (active 1670-1700) and Noël Gérard (active 1710-1736) but we do not know enough to make a similar attribution to the original chest-of-drawers from which this table was made.
    Elements may have been taken from more than one chest-of-drawers to make up this table - for example there are four female masks and four gilt-bronze feet whereas an early eighteenth-century chest-of-drawers would most likely only have had two of each. Only a few additional elements of nineteenth-century manufacture have been required, such as the gilt-bronze border around the top of the table and the carcases of the drawer fronts; even the drawers behind seem to be old ones re-used and perhaps cut in half.