The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Work-table
  • Roger Vandercruse (1728 - 1799)
  • France
  • c. 1761
  • Oak and pearwood veneered with satiné, stained and natural sycamore, tulipwood and box; gilt-bronze, leather, brass and wax
  • Object size: 73 x 36 x 29 cm
  • Stamp: 'R V L C / J M E'
    Inscription: 'F. Feser / 16/6/43'
    Painter's mark: Interlaced Ls enclosing 'h' for 1760; 'le 20 avril' (in blue near foot); a crescent
    Incised mark: 'BP'
  • F326
  • Small Drawing Room
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This table is an example of the small pieces of furniture that proliferated in the middle of the eighteenth century in France to make the domestic interior more comfortable. Known as a chiffonnière, it was suitable for moving around a room and could be used for placing things on, such as a cup and saucer or some needlework. There is a pull-out slide, perhaps for resting a book on. Boucher's portrait of Madame de Pompadour in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich shows her sitting at a similar table, albeit without a porcelain top, using it as a book-rest, candle stand and writing table. Tables like this are very characteristic of the work of Roger Vandercruse (1728-1799).
    Decorated with veneered fret-pattern marquetry of stained sycamore, the table top comprises a Sèvres soft-paste porcelain tray with a turquoise-blue border (museum number C419). The tray is a plateau ‘Courteille’ or ‘de chiffonnière’ and was the first Sèvres porcelain shape to be regularly mounted on furniture. The date mark on the tray, 'h' for 1761, helps to date the table; the tray also bears the mark of the painter Louis-Denis Armand l’aîné (b.1723, left Sèvres 1779). Originally, the marquetry of the lower shelf would have echoed the strong colours of the Sèvres plateau, making a highly colourful piece of furniture. The fret-pattern marquetry is intended to echo the fret- or trellis-pattern gilding on the Sèvres porcelain tray; both are probably inspired by the fret-patterns of Japanese lacquer. Sèvres-mounted furniture became very popular in the 1760s and 1770s, although it always remained very expensive. The dealer Simon-Philippe Poirier specialised in selling it, and had a near-monopoly on buying porcelain plaques like the one on this table from the Sèvres manufactory.