The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Secretaire
  • Jean-Henri Riesener (1734 - 1806)
  • France
  • 1783
  • Oak veneered with satiné, sycamore, ebony, box, amaranth, burr walnut and tulipwood; Carrara marble, gilt bronze, leather and brass.
  • Object size: 139.6 x 80.5 x 42 cm
  • Stamp: 'J. H. RIES'
    Inscription: Crowned 'C.T'
    Stamp: 'GARDE MEUBLE DE LA REINE' surrounding monogram 'MA' (crowned)
    Inscription: 'Du.No. - 10. / 1' Painted
  • F302
  • Study
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This secretaire was supplied by Jean-Henri Riesener (1734-1806) on 8 March 1783 for Marie-Antoinette’s use at the Petit Trianon in Versailles. Most of the archives of the Garde-Meuble de la Reine, one of the organisations that supplied the Queen with furniture for her apartments, have been lost so we do not know for which room at the Petit Trianon this desk was made. The veneer with a fret pattern marquetry of satiné enclosing lozenges of holly inlaid with waterlilies of stained sycamore or berberis is characteristic of Riesener’s workshop. This design shows the influence of Japanese lacquer, also popular at this time. Originally the marquetry would have been a much richer colour, but this has faded with time. The delicate gilt-bronze mounts, depicting flowers and ribbons, would have echoed the flowers grown by the Queen in her garden at the Petit Trianon.