The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Marie-Antoinette's Secretaire
  • Secretaire
  • Marie-Antoinette's Secretaire
  • Jean-Henri Riesener (1734 - 1806)
  • France
  • 1780
  • Oak, sycamore, amaranth, tulipwood, burr walnut, ebony, marble, gilt bronze, brass and leather
  • Object size: 144 x 112 x 45.5 cm
  • Stamp: 'J.H. RIESENER' (5 times in all)
  • F300
  • Study
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Delivered by Jean-Henri Riesener (1734-1806) on 8 July 1780 for Marie-Antoinette at Versailles, this drop-front writing desk is one of several similar pieces, some stamped by Jean-François Oeben and some by Riesener (who took over his workshop after Oeben’s death), all produced between the early 1760s and 1780. The transitional style of the desk, with its elaborate acanthus mounts and iconographical marquetry, including the cockerel of France on the drop-front contrasting with the neo-classical male mounts on either side and marquetry urns on the lower doors, indicates that it would have been largely out-of-date as soon as it was delivered in 1780. Indeed, Marie-Antoinette only kept the piece in her cabinet intérieur or private study for three years, before replacing it with another, less ponderous desk now also in the Wallace Collection (F303).