The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Secretaire
  • Attributed to Jean-Henri Riesener (1734 - 1806)
  • France
  • 1780 - 1784
  • Oak, veneered with satiné, amaranth, tulipwood, burr walnut, panels of marquetry on grounds of sycamore, stringings of ebony and box, mahogany; Cararra marble, gilt-bronze, leather and blue watered silk
  • Object size: 114.1 x 59.2 x 49.5 cm
  • F306
  • West Gallery I
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Although unstamped, this desk can be securely attributed to Riesener since various elements of the marquetry are very similar to those on pieces stamped by him. For example, the diaper-patterned marquetry on the upper drawers is found on numerous pieces stamped by him and the panel depicting a lyre and laurel wreath on the top drawer front appears on a desk made by Riesener for Madame Élisabeth at Fontainebleau. Intriguingly the vertical incisions in the lozenges on the drop-front and a groove visible in the oak top of the interior suggests that the desk was originally intended to be opened by means of a slatted panel sliding sideways. The alteration from sliding panel to drop-front evidently took place in the course of manufacture. The desk was in the collection of the 4th Marquess by 1865, when it was lent to the Musée Retrospectif. It was recorded in the Boudoir, Lady Wallace’s Bedroom, in 1898.