The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Work-table
  • Jean-Henri Riesener (1734 - 1806) , possibly
  • Jean-Henri Riesener (1734 - 1806), possibly
  • France
  • 1765 - 1770
  • Oak veneered with tulipwood, stained sycamore, ebony and box; gilt-bronze and velvet
  • Height: 102 cm
    Width: 41.7 cm
    Diameter: 29.5 cm, top
  • F313
  • Small Drawing Room
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Although described as a bedside table in the nineteenth century, this is actually a work table (table en chiffonnière), frequently used by women for holding their needlework or accoutrements from other similar activities. It comprises a small cupboard in the upper section and two shelves below. The cushions on the shelves probably date from the mid-19th century, but before this the shelves may have had some form of textile lining. A candelabrum for two candles springs from the top of the table, enabling more light to be thrown on the activity of the person sitting by the table.
    The uncompromising Greek key feet illustrate the fashionable ‘goût grec’ of the period, an early form of neoclassicism, and recall certain engraved designs by J-C Delafosse (1734-89).
    Several examples of this model exist, and they come from the workshop of Jean-Henri Riesener or Jean-François Leleu. The reason for the confusion is that both men trained with Jean-François Oeben and there are many similarities in their work in their early careers in the mid-1760s. Like another example in the Wallace Collection (F311), this table appears to derive from the work of Oeben, but is considered to be an early work of Riesener, perhaps dating from the period after Oeben’s death before Riesener was made a master cabinet-maker. The reason for this attribution centres on the marquetry decoration, which is less cramped and more realistic than that on F311 and which may be compared to the floral marquetry on other pieces by Riesener, for example a roll-top desk in the Wallace Collection (F102).