The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Writing-table
  • Writing-table
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • France
  • c. 1840
  • Oak and tulipwood, veneered with tulipwood, amaranth, thuya-wood, ebony and box; Sévres porcelain tray, gilt bronze, velvet and braid
  • Object size: 71.6 x 36.5 x 29.5 cm
  • F329
  • Oval Drawing Room
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • This little table was bought for the 4th Marquess of Hertford in 1851 when it was described as being from the time of Louis XVI (1774-93), but in fact details of its construction place it firmly in the first half of the 19th century. The Sèvres tray (museum number C490) mounted on the top is a ‘plateau Courteille’, or ‘plateau chiffonière’ and bears the date letter for 1760 and the painter’s mark of André-Vincent Vielliard (1717-90). Such a date is impossible for this style of table, which is modelled on a type of small writing-table or work-table made by Martin Carlin (c.1730-85) in the 1780s. The mechanical character of the gilt-bronze mounts, with the lion-paw feet which are inappropriate to this model, and the slender dovetail joints of the drawer, suggest instead that this was made in the mid-19th century. This is a period when the furniture of the ancien régime was becoming immensely popular with dealers and collectors, and Sèvres-mounted furniture was particularly highly sought after.