The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Toilet and writing-table
  • Toilet and writing-table
  • Attributed to Jean-Henri Riesener (1734 - 1806)
  • France
  • 1780 - 1784
  • Oak, mahogany, gilt-bronze, leather and brass
  • Object size: 78.8 x 47 x 35.5 cm
  • F322
  • Small Drawing Room
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • This little table is one of the multi–functional items of furniture made for the private apartments of a wealthy household in late eighteenth–century France. The lid opens up to reveal a mirror, while a small leather–lined writing slide pulls out from underneath it. Small drawers on either side reveal compartments for writing materials and storage space for bottles.
    Although the table is not stamped by Riesener, it can be safely attributed to him on stylistic grounds. The mounts of the frieze were used by him on royal furniture as early as 1774, for example on the corner cupboards for the salon des jeux du roi at Versailles, and as late as 1783 on tables for the French royal family. The spiral rope and pearl moulding on the legs is also found on Riesener furniture. The mahogany veneer is very characteristic of furniture of the 1780s, a fashion which was adopted from England. Originally the table had two drawers in place of the fall–front that is now there, but at some stage in its history, probably in the nineteenth century, the table was adapted and transformed into use as a bedside table.