The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Toilet and writing-table
  • Toilet and writing-table
  • Workshop of Jean-François Oeben (1721 - 1763)
  • Jean-François Leleu (1729 - 1807)
  • France
  • c. 1763 - 1764
  • Oak, stained sycamore, natural sycamore, walnut, pear wood, tulipwood, amaranth, silk, glass, gilt-bronze, sheepskin, ebony and box
  • Object size: 70.8 x 57 x 43.7 cm
  • Inscription: 'L.E. LEU' Incised
  • F110
  • Small Drawing Room
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • The style and quality of this piece indicate that it must have been made in the workshop of Jean-François Oeben (1721-1763). The ram’s head mounts, the floral marquetry on the top, the geometric marquetry of intersecting circles and cubes on the front and sides, and the complex mechanical devices used to open the desk are all characteristic of his work. However the table was probably finished by Jean-François Leleu (1729-1807), one of Oeben’s apprentices, since his mark is incised beneath the lower front drawer.
    A single lock opens all four drawers, an upper and lower drawer at the front and one on either side. To use the table as a desk, the panel on the top pushes back to reveal a writing surface, with silvered metal ink wells and a pen compartment to one side. When used as a toilet-table, this surface is lifted to reveal a mirror which can be rested against a stand to serves as a looking glass. There is also a compartment for cosmetics and other toilet items. The two side drawers are fully extendable and each contains a lidded box which can be pulled forward either side of the user seated in front of the table. All of these are lined with blue watered silk.