The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Secretaire
  • Jean-François Leleu (1729 - 1807)
  • France
  • c. 1772
  • Oak, veneered with pictorial marquetry of holly, stained sycamore, ebony, box, tulipwood, sycamore, amaranth, satiné, griotte marble, gilt bronze, black velvet, blue satin and steel
  • Object size: 130.3 x 101 x 47.5 cm
  • Inscription: 1766 in red chalk Found during conservation in 2000. Hughes believed it to be genuine as planing marks go over it.
    Stamp: 'J. F. LELEU JME'
    Inscription: 'D S' In pencil
  • F301
  • Study
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • The original owner of this splendid secretaire is unknown. It is probably close in date to a chest-of-drawers with similar designs supplied by Leleu for the bedchamber of the prince de Condé at the Palais-Bourbon in November 1772 (now in the Musée du Louvre). The quality of the execution, particularly in the construction of the upper compartment, with the use of solid satiné for all the drawers and the subtle profiles of the drawer fronts, suggests that this piece was intended for a similarly prestigious patron. The marquetry baskets of flowers on the bottom doors of the desk reveal the influence of Jean-François Oeben (1721-1763), to whom Leleu had been apprenticed until Oeben’s death in 1763. The marquetry pattern on the sides is also found on furniture stamped by Riesener, Roussel, RVLC and Cramer. The gilt-bronze lion-paw feet are often found on furniture by Leleu and the gutsy architectural shape and motifs are representative of his work.