The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Corner-cupboard
  • Corner-cupboard
  • Jean-Henri Riesener (1734 - 1806)
  • France
  • 1783
    c.1864 - 1870 (English single-throw lock and raised oak panel lining inside of door fitted, also new marble top)
  • Oak, veneered with thuya burr, amaranth and sycamore, oak panel lining inside door, fixed oak shelf, gilt bronze, brass screws, statuary marble, steel lock and key
  • Object size: 90.2 x 81.2 x 54.8 cm
  • Stamp: 'J♦H♦RIESENER'
    Inscription: 'N.3207' (top of the last numeral erased by friction) Painted
    Label: '389' Printed
    Stamp: 'SECURE / PATENT / LEVER; T. CADWALLADER / MAKER / LONDON'
    Inscription: 'R 32' in pencil
  • F275
  • Study
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This corner cupboard ('encoignure') is stamped by Jean-Henri Riesener (1734-1806) and was delivered by him, with a chest-of-drawers and a secretaire (see Wallace Collection no. F303), for Marie Antoinette's private study at the château of Versailles on 12 February 1783. These three pieces of furniture appear to have been only a stop-gap in the decoration of this room, however, because the archives include a footnote stating that the pieces were destined for the Queen's lower study at the chateau of Marly, and a marginal note records that they were despatched to Marly on 2 December 1783. They were replaced in her study at Versailles by lacquer-mounted furniture also made by Riesener.
    The gilt-bronze mounts on the encoignure incorporate stylised acanthus and naturalistic flowers of exceptional quality. The trophy on the door shows a pair of doves perched on a tambourine in the centre, with attributes of Cupid and Bacchus and a basket of flowers hanging on a ribbon. These themes of love and nature appear in many of Marie Antoinette's interiors and on much of the furniture delivered for her by Riesener.
    The corner cupboard must have been placed in the north-east or south-east corner of the room as sufficient space would have been needed on the west side of the room for the window shutters to have been pushed back into the corners. Perhaps unusually, there was only ever one corner cupboard delivered for Marie Antoinette's study. The existance of another matching cupboard in the Wallace Collection (F276) that was claimed to have been the pair to this, underlines the desire of nineteenth-century collectors to acquire objects owned by the unfortunate queen, and might suggest that it was deliberately intended to deceive.