The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Writing-table
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • France
  • c. 1840
  • Pinewood, oak, beechwood (partly stained black), contre-partie Boulle marquetry of turtleshell and brass, ebony, gilt bronze, leather, steel key
  • Object size: 75 x 158.5 x 79.5 cm
  • F428
  • West Gallery III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Although similar to writing-tables made in France in the early 18th century, this table dates from c. 1840; the design of the marquetry is too crowded and the mounts over-elaborate to be 18th century. The mounts do not derive from models by André-Charles Boulle but rather from mounts characteristic of veneered furniture of the Régence period (1715-1723) and the early part of the reign of Louis XV.
    The Neptune masks at the tops of the legs are of a model that is found on a group of pieces of furniture dating from c. 1730, and also on 19th-century furniture. This suggests that the models for the mounts were either kept and used by a cabinet-maker a century later, or that 18th-century mounts were copied in the 19th century and used on new furniture. A Boulle marquetry writing-table, with the same moulding and Neptune masks as this table is at Felbrigg Hall, and is known to have been acquired in Paris in the 1840s. The tables are probably by the same maker, but we do not know when this one came into the Wallace Collection.