The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Secretaire
  • Attributed to Weisweiler Adam (1744 - 1820)
  • France
  • c. 1790
  • Oak veneered with satinwood and amaranth, mounted with Sèvres soft-paste porcelain plaques and gilt bronze; Siena marble and velvet
  • Object size: 170.5 x 69 x 34.4 cm
  • Inscription: 'Repaired by J. Wood / No 36 Broad Street / Goulden Square' In pencil
    Label: 'On a fait une station à la Bastille, de là on a suivi les anciens boulevards, seconde station à l'hôtel de la Maine, où M. Petion et les membres de la municipalité se sont joints à la marche des citoyens' Printed
  • F307
  • Oval Drawing Room
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Although not stamped by Weisweiler, this desk (secretaire) can be attributed to him on the basis of similarities to other pieces known to be by him, including similar inset columns at the front corners, similar gilt-bronze mouldings and similar legs, stretcher and feet. The inside of the desk has a simple but highly refined finish, with shelves and pigeon holes lined in satinwood and edged with amaranth.
    The small circular plaque in the stretcher (museum number C504c) is a nineteenth-century addition and is not the Sèvres porcelain it purports to be. Fixed onto the drop-front are two Sèvres soft-paste porcelain plaques painted with sprays of flowers (C504a-b) and whilst these are clearly eighteenth century and bear the date letter for 1783, they may also have been added at the same time as the fake plaque. The mark of J. Wood is pencilled behind one of the central plaques and the gilt-bronze moulding around them does not have the elegance of the other mouldings.
    The desk was bought for £420 by the dealer Samuel Mawson for the 4th Marquess of Hertford at the Angerstein sale, Christie’s, 12 May 1856. In a letter written by Lord Hertford to Mawson before the sale, he claimed to remember the piece in the collection of Mrs Fitzherbert at 6 Tilney Street.