The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Bedside table
  • Bedside table
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • France
  • c. 1730
  • Oak, walnut, ebony, première-partie Boulle marquetry, walnut and gilt bronze
  • Object size: 86.1 x 55.2 x 36 cm
  • F416
  • East Galleries I
Further Reading
  • The newly-emerging rococo style is evident in this table, with its light aspect and fine triangular cabriolet legs. It is a bedside table, or 'table de chevet', one of the new, smaller pieces of furniture that were introduced in the eighteenth century to help contribute to the comfort of daily life for the wealthy. For use in the bedroom, a chamber-pot would have been placed on the lower shelf, whilst the upper shelf would have served as a vide-poches; the shaped openings at the side provided the means of easily carrying the table in and out of the bedroom when not in use.

    The marquetry of turtleshell and brass shows some design similarities to marquetry on other pieces of furniture, such as that on a chest-of-drawers in the Wallace Collection attributed to Nicolas Sageot (1666-1731). However, the bedside table was made perhaps twenty years after the chest-of-drawers, which suggests not that they are by the same cabinet-maker (Sageot became mentally ill in 1723) but that both pieces used pieces of marquetry bought from the same professional marquetry cutter which were then assembled in different cabinet-makers’ workshops. If this was so, it tells us something about working practices in the Parisian furniture trade in the early eighteenth century.

    The front edge of the upper shelf has marquetry which looks very much more like early nineteenth-century designs than eighteenth-century work and it is probable that this piece was restored and perhaps altered at this time.