• Work-table
  • Attributed to Jean-Henri Riesener (1734 - 1806)
  • Attributed to Jean-Henri Riesener (1734 - 1806)
  • France
  • Date: c.1765
  • Medium: Oak, walnut, tulipwood, stained woods, ebony or ebonised wood, box, gilt bronze and velvet
  • Height: 102 cm
  • Width: 41.7 cm
  • Diameter: 29.5 cm, top
  • Inv: F313
  • Location: Small Drawing Room
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Further Reading
  • Although described as a bedside table in the nineteenth century, this is actually a work-table ('table en chiffonnière'), frequently used by women for holding their needlework or accoutrements for other similar activities. It comprises a small cupboard in the upper section and two shelves below. A candelabrum for two candles springs from the top of the table, enabling light to be thrown onto the activity of the person sitting by the table. The uncompromising Greek key feet illustrate the fashionable ‘goût grec’ of the period, an early form of Neoclassicism, and recall certain engraved designs by J.-C. Delafosse (1734–1789).

    Several examples of this model exist. They appear to derive from models of small tables made by Jean-François Oeben, and come from his workshop. They have been attributed to both Jean-Henri Riesener and Jean-François Leleu, both of whom worked for Oeben, and there are many similarities in their work in their early careers in the mid-1760s. This table is considered to be an early work of Riesener, perhaps dating from the period after Oeben’s death, before Riesener was made a master cabinet-maker but while he was running the workshop with Oeben's widow. The reason for the Riesener attribution centres on the marquetry decoration; the flowers are free and naturalistic and although the debt to Oeben and Louis Tessier (the engravings in his 'Livre de Principes de Fleurs' was a source in the Oeben workshop) is clear, the composition may be compared to the floral marquetry on other pieces by Riesener, for example a roll-top desk in the Wallace Collection (F102). Another very similar table in the Wallace Collection (F311) which is stamped Oeben may have been the work of Leleu.